I have long been a huge fan of Chipotle’s iced tea. I contacted them by email a few years back to find out the details of what brand of iced tea they serve. I was impressed with how quickly their customer service responded. According to that email, they brew S&D coffee brand’s “regular black iced tea” flavor. You can find that specific tea on Amazon by clicking here and read my entire review of Chipotle’s tea here.
I was content with that answer for a while, but after some time, I started to analyze what it was about Chipotle’s iced tea that made it so good. Part of that is no doubt the specific S&D tea, but I have been to other restaurants like Habit Burger and Rubio’s who also serve S&D iced tea, and their tea is no where close to as good as Chipotle’s. One reason for this is because at these other restaurants the fruity or tropical flavored iced tea can get mixed into the plain black iced tea, which taints the flavor (you can read more about that problem by clicking here). But there is more to why Chipotle’s iced tea is so good. The reason for this, in my opinion, is how strong they brew their iced tea. So I emailed customer service once more to find out about their brewing process. Here is my original email followed by the response I received from Chipotle within two hours of sending it:
My Original Email:
Hi, I really enjoy your iced tea. Do you still brew S&D brand iced tea? And I really like how it is usually stronger than most other restaurants. Do you do something special with your brewing machine to make it as strong as it is? Thanks so much.
Chipotle Support Response:
Our tea comes from S&D coffee, and is the “regular iced tea” flavor.
ICED TEA PREP:
Four bags of tea per 2 gallons of water
Brewed for 10 minutes (or until there is some foaming) on the range
Tea bags are removed to avoid explosion once boiling starts
The tea is then boiled for another minute or two without the bags
The tea is poured over 3 gallons of ice in the tea urn or in large plastic buckets.
Our sweet tea is only made in our southern restaurants (Southeast and Southwest regions primarily). Each batch of sweet tea utilizes 2.5 pounds of sugar per dispenser (tea urn). A 22 fl oz drink has 100 calories. The caloric value assumes 1/3 cup ice in the 22 fl oz portion.
SWEET TEA PREP:
Create a simple syrup by adding 1/6 pan of water and 2.5 pounds of sugar to a sauce pot over medium heat.
Combine with iced tea.
Customer Service Coordinator
Chipotle Mexican Grill
7 Comments Add yours
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I also love Chipotle’s tea and I ordered two cases from the S&D site from your previous blog post. One question: They sell both 1 gallon tea bags and 1/2 gallon tea bags. Any idea which one they use at Chipotle? The directions you received just say: “Four bags of tea per 2 gallons of water.” If they’re talking about the gallon tea bags then you’d have to use 8 of the 1/2 gallon bags or if they’re talking about the 1/2 gallon bags then you’d have to use only 2 bags per 2 gallons, etc. Any advice? Thanks!
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From my experiments in using their method, I would think they use 4 of the gallon sized tea bags. When I buy the 1/2 gallon bags I put one bag in 32 ounces of water, proceed as they do, then add 32 ounces of ice. Hope this helps. Glad you are enjoying the site.
Wow! I thought I was the only person who drives out of my way when traveling to get Chipotle iced tea, which I have been doing for the better part of 10 years. I local store manager turned me on to S&D, and I’ve been ordering from them for many years as well.
so IMAGINE MY HORROR 3 days ago when I stopped at a Chipotle in Chicago and found the “new and improved” plastic drink containers with 3 new drinks and a new ‘organic’ iced tea brand (it is definitely not S&D). And the cups have changed to a clear (and very flimsy) PETE plastic. The new tea isn’t terrible, but it isn’t as strong and seemed to me to have a slightly – something added – taste. This occurred Wednesday Oct 23. On the 24th, I stopped at another Chipotle and it was the same thing. I am hoping it isn’t a national rollout, but it smells like it. I travel all over the country so I guess I’ll find out soon enough.
Don’t discount the plastic cup issue either – it is REALLY THIN. When I grab it it flexes inward, and I had it pop a lid off as I was carrying it to my car. It seems really strange to make a switch to Organic anything and then change from paper to plastic cup.
I’m planning to complain, but doubt it will do much good…
Thanks for the great website!
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Sorry for the delayed reply. Oh my gosh, this is terrible. Here is California I have not seen these changes yet, and I hope I never do. I am going to try to get some more info about this and hopefully have a post on it sometime soon. Maybe it’s a little ambitious of me to think this, but maybe if enough of us iced tea purest make noise we can reverse this change. I am typing this as I am drinking Chipotle S&D iced tea. I wish I could send you some Larry.