Tea is delicious in any form…but cold-brewing your tea can amplify more nuanced flavors and give you a beautiful, full-bodied brew. Cold-brewing is a simple (yet often overlooked) step that you can take to boost your tea’s natural flavor and benefits and can be done with tea tools that you can find around your home. Read on to learn more about the tea cold brew process.
Benefits of cold brew tea
Cold brewing tea is a Japanese-based tradition that has impacted tea enthusiasts around the world today. The purpose of cold brewing is to preserve as much nutritional benefit and taste as possible, creating a crisp, refreshing, and one-of-a-kind beverage as a result.
There are additional practical benefits that you can enjoy with each cup, including a lesser amount of tannins in each brew. This results in a cleaner, fresher taste, and avoids the bitter aftertaste that some teas are known for. If you’re working with caffeinated leaves, you can also expect slightly fewer milligrams of caffeine to make it into your cup — helping you avoid that dreaded mid-afternoon crash.
Types of teas to use for cold brew tea
The tea experience comes down to elements of personal preference, which gives you ample room to experiment with the cold brew process. You can technically enjoy any type of tea cold-brewed, but you may have mixed results depending on its natural strength, taste, and composition. Generally, you’ll want to stay with loose-leaf tea blends for ultimate flavor and feel, but you can also use your favorite bagged teas in a pinch.
Common cold-brew friendly teas include:
- Green tea
- Herbal tea
- Black tea
- White tea
- Passionflower tea
- Hibiscus tea
- …and many, many more. Time to experiment!
A great way to explore the tastes that you can create is to use blends from specialty tea shops. You’ll get to indulge in exotic blends, like autumn cranberry black tea or Cloud & Mist green tea. Generally you’ll find flavored teas and green teas that are cold brewed due to the aromas. You’ll also find a wealth of information about how you can optimize your cold brewing process.
Exploring the cold brew process
The cold brew process is effortlessly simple, and can often be done with things that you can find around your own kitchen. That’s just one of the many reasons we can’t get enough of delicious, cold-brewed tea. Below, we’ve outlined the steps that you can take to enjoy fresh cold brew tea today:
1. Choose your tea & your vessel
Choosing the right tea for the cold brew process is simple — choose your favorite blend and get ready to enjoy! If you’re feeling more on the adventurous side, you could also shop around and indulge in a special tea blend to experiment with.
Lighter flavored, sweeter blends can be made even tastier with this process, as cold brew often results in a more sweet taste due to the lack of tannins present through the brewing process. Consider experimenting with a floral tea, such as jasmine, or delving into something light such as oolong-based blends. In either case, the result will be a refreshing glass of cold brew tea.
You can make any vessel work, such as a pitcher or oversized decanter. You can even purchase a dedicated cold brew pitcher. These often include a strainer attachment to keep your loose leaf teas intact, allowing the water to flow over them and capture the flavor off of the leaves.
2. Prepare your tea
The question you’ve been waiting for: how much tea do we add to the pitcher for the perfect glass? Well, the answer may vary. Experts estimate anywhere from 2 tablespoons to 5 tablespoons is the right amount for a pitcher filled with 6 to 8 cups of water. You can take the time to make multiple batches and experiment with the perfect concentration for your favorite blend.
After you’ve determined your ratio, fill your pitcher with water. You’ll want to float the leaves or tea bags on top lightly, letting them fall naturally into the water. Allow it to sit out of the fridge for up to one hour before refrigeration, after which you’ll leave it uncovered and undisturbed in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours.
This time is crucial to help the flavors disperse, leaving you with a well-rounded and delicious glass of tea. It will also result in a more flavorful cup of tea due to the longer steeping time but will deliver that flavor without the afterbite of bitterness that hot brew styles tend to offer.
3. Garnish and enjoy
After the brew is complete, you will have a delicious pitcher of cold brew tea. However, there’s always room for improvement — which is where your garnish comes in. You can easily uplevel your experience by garnishing your tea with a zingy lemon wedge or with fresh notes of picked mint from the garden. You can also enjoy with some raw sugar to help elevate the notes of sweetness in your glass.