Loving the BITE: Cold Brewed Iced Teas for Cyclists


Iced tea is the stuff of summer. The official drink. And the more I learn about the benefits, the more I want to drink it. If you’re looking for a great drink this summer, give cold-brewed tea a try. It’s got a non-bitter, delicate taste, is easy to make, and offers benefits far beyond most hydrators. Here’s the how and the why of cold-brewed iced tea.


Recipe of the Week: Cold-Brewed Iced Tea


  • 2 Tbsp organic loose-leaf tea
  • 64 oz. water (cold or room temp).
  • Large glass container


Place tea, water, and optional add-in ingredients in a the container.  Optionally, muddle/mash in add-ons to release flavor. Allow to steep at room temp 45-60 minutes, or in refrigerator 2-4 hours. Strain out tea leaves and add-ons. Refrigerate or serve over ice.

Optional Add-ins:

  • Fresh minced ginger root.
  • Fresh minced turmeric root.
  • Fruit such as berries.
  • Lemon slices.

If you like Jasmine Green Tea, here’s one of my favorites. Or, if possible, check out any organic loose leaf teas at your local health food store or co-op. Green Jasmine.



Green Tea:

There are few drinks with as many studies to support its benefits.  And, it’s difficult to dispute green tea’s place in the diets of healthy populations who live in Eastern countries.  It is wonderfully nutritious and packed with special antioxidants, called catechins. Because of green tea’s minimal processing, as its leaves are withered and steamed, not fermented like black and oolong teas, its unique antioxidants are more concentrated. The main catechin, Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), is responsible for most of the health benefits, and there are many…Greentea3

  1. It has been shown in animal studies to reduce cholesterol plagues, free LDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure.  Cyclists need strong hearts and unplugged arteries!
  2. In vitro (petri dish studies), green tea has inhibited the growth of cancer cells.  And, high consumption of the drink has been associated with a 90% reduced risk of breast cancer in women – let’s add a pink ribbon to green tea.
  3. Antioxidants repair and protect cells, and EGCG goes for the brain.  In fact, in mice induced with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, it helped to protect brain cells from dying, as well as ‘rescuing’ already damaged neurons in the brain, a phenomenon called neurorescue or neurorestoration.  Studies are now underway in China on human Parkinson’s Disease patients.  Sounds smart to me.
  4. EGCG has antibacterial properties that promote oral health in tea drinkers.
  5. The “eyes” have it, too.  EGCG is absorbed by cells in the eye, and provide protective effects for up to 20 hours after consumption.  This has led many experts to believe it may have a role in reducing diseases of the eye and glaucoma.

And the most recent buzz about going green?  Metabolism and fat loss.  Our friend, EGCG, helps our bodies oxidize and burn fat.  Multiple studies have shown an increase in metabolic rates, weight loss, decreased waistline and fat loss with consistent green tea ingestion.  Initially, it was attributed to the caffeine.  But recent studies have shown these effects in caffeinated and decaffeinated green tea (there’s actually little caffeine in green tea to begin with).  The studies have used both green tea “extract” as a concentrated form of antioxidants and regular, brewed green tea.  Let’s drink to that!

I’ll be the first to tell you that many, many factors go into overall health and fat loss.  But, you need hydration anyway – most athletes need 48-80 ounces per day + 20-32 ounces per hour training to stay out of a chronic dehydration mode.  Dehydration has a DIRECT effect on your performance, more than lack of electrolytes or lack of carbs.  If you go for a ride and feel like you’re draggin’, look to your hydration status first.  Of course, water’s a great choice for daily hydration.  But, if you want a little more benefit per gulp, brew green tea leaves in your water.  And, don’t worry about any negative effect the 5-30mg of caffeine per cup of green tea might have on your hydration status – studies have shown that caffeinated drinks hydrate us well.

Black Tea:

Another great drink option. In fact, drink 2 or more cups of black tea per day and you’ll:

  • Get big-time cellular detoxifying benefits that protect cells from free radicals, the damage that can lead to blood clot formation, atherosclerosis, and cancer.  Both green and black tea block DNA damage associated with tobacco and other toxic chemicals in studies.
  • Consume 10 times the polyphenols (antioxidants) found in most fruits or vegetables.  You’re not off the hook for eating fruits & vegetables, though, so don’t chuck your salad just yet.  While tea is a very concentrated source of antioxidants, it contains different ones than fruits and vegetables.  And just like a Thanksgiving Dinner, the more the merrier, so drink tea AND eat your fruits and vegetables.
  • Lower your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, high blood pressure, and obesity.  This is confirmed in both human population studies and lab studies with rats.  People groups that drink the most tea certainly have lesser amounts of these diseases, and tea-drinking rats have less as well.
  • Potentially lower your risk for allergic reactions, bone loss, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Recover better.  Although carbs, proteins, and fluids are the primary recovery nutrients, don’t discount the importance of antioxidants.  They fight the free radicals that build up during training and damage your cells, and improve health from the cell on up. A 16 oz. recovery serving of our Chai Latte will give you fluid, protein, carbs, and these powerful antioxidants.

Why Cold Brew?:

It’s easy as can be, and it allows you to brew tea without risk of the bitter taste you can get if you use too hot of water, or allow it to brew too long It’s also great for summer! In regards to nutrients and antioxidants, different studies have shown that the levels have been similar to hot-brewed tea, and with delicate teas like white leaves, the nutrient retention is improved.  What’s more, it’s far better to brew your own tea than to buy ready-to-drink ones. The tea’s precious nutrients are lost with storage (once made), so that bottle setting in the store likely offers far less than your own brew.

Not many great recipes are quite this easy.  Just two ingredients and you’re on your way to a delicious, nourishing summer drink. It just may help you stay a fit, brainy, calm, cardiovascularly strong cyclist with improved eye health and good oral hygiene.  Let’s see Red Bull do that.

Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.

If you’d like to work with Kelli one-on-one with a Custom Nutrition Plan & Coaching, or download one of her acclaimed Instant Download Plans like Fuel Right Race Light, click here: Apex Nutrition Plans for Endurance Athletes. Be sure to use coupon code lovingthebike for a 15% discount!

Enjoy Your Ride
Pin It

2 Responses to “ Loving the BITE: Cold Brewed Iced Teas for Cyclists ”

  1. Richard Masoner on May 19, 2016 at 11:34 am

    “Sun tea” is a staple in the American South! Difference is instead of steeping at room temp, the glass jar of water and tea is set out in the sunshine to get warm, and for a couple of hours to make it nice and strong. Since it’s in the South plenty of sugar is added, of course. Pour over ice to chill and dilute.

    • Kelli Jennings on May 19, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      Hi Richard,
      Thanks! Yes – I grew up on sun tea actually (black tea) – with cinnamon sticks added;). Either way it’s a great way to go. Have a good day! Kelli, RD


    April 2024
    M T W T F S S


Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.


Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

Sports Drink Homebrew

Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

Nutrition Tips