Oolong Iced Tea

A Cold Drink for Hot Days

Oolong iced tea

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
11 Calories
0g Fat
3g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 11
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 19mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 14mg 1%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 3mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

There are few things as refreshing and satisfying on a hot summer day as a cold glass of iced tea. If you're looking to change up your warm-weather drink routine from the usual black or green, consider oolong.

Chinese oolong falls somewhere in between those two popular teas—it's not as dark and oxidized as black tea, but also not quite as light as a green one. Because it fall somewhere in the middle of the tea processing spectrum, oolong teas can vary greatly from one to another. Some are noted for having sweet fruity flavors, while others are roasted and can have nutty or grainy notes. Due to this range, choosing the right oolong for iced tea is a bit of a challenge. However, most oolong teas are refreshing served cold, so feel free to explore your options.

This iced oolong tea recipe is a refreshing, semi-sweet drink that is very easy to make. While black tea is often preferred for iced tea, you might find that oolong tea is a better choice. This is particularly true if you want a wholesome alternative to traditional sweet teas. When beverages are chilled, they tend to lose some of their sweetness. This recipe calls for a naturally sweet oolong, so you'll only need to add a dab of honey for a perfectly sweet tea.

Choosing the Best Oolong for Iced Tea

There are two oolong teas that come highly recommended for this recipe. Originally from Taiwan, Oriental Beauty (also known as white tip oolong) is harvested from young tea plants so the oxidization process can start from the moment they're pluck. It's a highly oxidized (usually around 70 percent) tea that's naturally sweet and slightly sour.

Many tea drinkers consider Taiwan to be the capital of oolong tea, so it's no surprise that this second recommendation, Wen Shan Bao Zhong, also hails from that country. This tea, which comes from the Wen Shan mountain range. is a low-oxidized oolong that's often described as smooth, sweet, and floral. Some drinkers even refer to it as having a creamy mouthfeel.

Tips for Brewing the Perfect Cup of Oolong Tea

There are two important factors to consider when steeping tea: the time and temperature. Each type of tea has its own ideal steeping time and water temperature—for best results, we recommend consulting the directions on your tea package.

  • Oolong falls right in between green and black teas when it comes to brewing temperature. The water should be about 195 F, which is near boiling, but not quite.
  • As far as time goes, oolong should be steeped a little longer than black tea. For a hot tea, 5 to 8 minutes is often recommended, but you can get away with just 4 to 6 minutes in this iced tea recipe. If you find that this is not bold enough for your taste, brew your next cup a couple of minutes longer. Brewing times are going to be affected by your personal taste and the quality of your tea leaves; make any adjustments as you see fit.

Does Oolong Tea Have a Lot of Caffeine?

Like all teas that come from the Camellia sinensis plant, oolong tea is caffeinated. Because the leaves are semi-oxidized. its caffeine levels fall in between that of green and black teas, ranging from 50 to 70 milligrams per 8-ounce cup. That's also less than coffee—you'll find about 95 milligrams in a same-sized cup.

"Oolong is my favorite kind of tea! This recipe is a quick way to make a deliciously refreshing glass of iced tea to start the day or for a perfect afternoon pick-me-up!" —Kiana Rollins

Oolong Iced ea/Kiana Rollins
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make iced oolong tea

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Pour the hot water over the tea leaves.

    Oolong tea leaves seeping in a bowl of hot water

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Steep for 4 to 6 minutes and then remove the tea leaves.

    Seeped oolong tea in a bowl, with strained tea leaves on the side

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Add the honey and stir.

    A spoon stirring honey into a bowl of tea

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Pour the tea over ice and serve.

    three mugs of iced oolong tea

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Recipe Variation

  • To add flavor and sweetness to oolong iced tea, swap the honey for a flavored simple syrup, such as strawberry, lemon, or rose.

How to Store

Oolong iced tea can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

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