What Makes Tea Cloudy? Dos and Don'ts for a Clear Brew

What Makes Tea Cloudy? Dos and Don'ts for a Clear Brew
Have you ever made some tea, only to see that foggy filter over it? It happens to everyone every once in a while, in both hot and iced tea. Read on to learn everything you need to know about what makes tea cloudy and how to avoid it.

What Makes Tea Cloudy?

There are many reasons why your tea can be cloudy. One of the main causes of cloudy tea is that the particles in your tea separated. When tea is hot, the microscopic particles spin and the heat keeps them together. As the temperature cools down, the particles stop spinning and separate, and with nowhere to go, they hang out, causing the tea to cloud up.
Besides the separating particles, there are other factors that come in when you see cloudy tea. Here are a few:


Dirty equipment can cause tea to taste “off” and give it a cloudy look. It is important to make sure you thoroughly clean your cups and tea equipment. You don’t want dirty dishes, and you definitely don’t want dirty tea!

Changing Temperature Too Quickly

If you are making iced tea, you don’t want to shock the hot water with ice right away. When making iced tea at home in a pitcher, mix the brewed hot tea with room temperature water and allow it to cool thoroughly. Once the entire pitcher is at room temperature, then pour over ice and serve. This allows the tea to stay clear and have a fresh presentation.

Poor Water Quality

The type of water used for your tea is very important. If you use tap water, make sure the quality is good for consumption. Some tap water can be “hard,” containing high amounts of calcium and magnesium which can cloud up the tea. If you use filtered water, make sure to be aware if the filter needs to be changed. A bad filter can also result in cloudy tea.


When putting tea in the fridge for later, it undergoes a chemical change that degrades the taste and creates a cloudy appearance. This is due to the reaction between calcium and magnesium in the water and polyphenols. The chemical reaction results in insoluble salts, which is apparent when the water cools down. The more polyphenols in the tea, the stronger the change. Therefore, keeping tea in the fridge overnight, will cause the cloudiness and decrease the quality of tea.

How to Avoid Cloudy Tea

Here are the basics when it comes to making sure your tea is not cloudy:
  • Freshly brewed ice tea should be held at room temperature and served within 6-8 hours of brewing.
  • After brewing tea, cool until room temperature before serving over ice.
  • Don’t shock the tea with drastic changes in temperatures all at once.
  • Make sure equipment is clean.
  • Double-check your water quality.
  • Don’t save tea overnight; brew a fresh batch!
Now that you know how to avoid the dreaded cloudy tea, use this tea quiz to find your new favorite tea.

Lily Cooper

Lily Cooper is a professional writer who is determined to help others express themselves creatively through the written word. She can be found on her website or through Instagram.
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