What is Cold Brew?
I have been receiving some queries from my tea friends on how to properly cold brew tea.
Personally I am a big fan of this tea brewing method as it gives you a unique tasting experience and you get to know a different, relaxed side of your favorite tea.
When you brew tea hot, over 400 different components are released into the water and some of them are released quicker at higher temperature. You will have noticed that if you brew a hot tea at a too high temperature or for too long it becomes bitter. Not so with cold brew tea, which will be more mellow, more balanced and sweeter as the high temperature components are less dominant.
Cold brewing gives you a whole new range of preparing tea. But you will need patience, as this is not your quick tea bag dunk for 2 minutes. Good cold brew tea will take several hours, if not even overnight to release the wonderful magic that is cold brew tea.
Which Teas are Best for Cold Brewing?
The method of cold brewing is hot here in Asia and there are amazing varieties of this process. The question, I get most is: What type of tea is best suited for cold brew? If you use your favorite green or black tea you will notice less astringency and the tea will be more mellow and smooth. I personally like to cold brew Oolong teas or White teas. You’ll see that the fruit or flower character of your tea will come out more intense. My best experience has been with Taiwanese Mountain Oolongs – mmmm.
Get the Timing Right With These Simple Tips
The right brewing time will also be important. Japanese green teas will only need 2-4 hours. For some delicate ones, even less. Oolong teas are in the middle range of 6 hours, while white and black tea are best when left for at least 8 hours to cold brew.
Make Water Quality a Top Priority
There a few important thing to remember when cold brewing tea. Water quality is of utmost importance, so I would only recommend the best spring water you can find. Remember you are not boiling your water so your tea and your water will only interact on a cold water stage so best water quality is a must.
Tips For Getting the Funk (The Bad Kind) Out of Your Tea
I would also recommend you rinse the tea leaves before you put them into cold water. Some teas might still have some insecticide or bacteria on them. To be safe you can also briefly soak your tea leaves in hot water to remove these impurities. I would recommend this method for all infusions and certified organic teas.
Another item to remember is that you will need an airtight container. The best would be a very clean glass container. You can see the color of your tea and will get a sense of the intensity of the flavor profile as time goes by. If you leave your tea brewing overnight in the fridge, if not airtight, your tea will taste like whatever is in your fridge.
So with that, grab some good water and good tea leaves and start cold brewing some tea! You will be amazed how smooth the taste will be. In one of my next blog posts, I will show you another ‘hot’ trend : Infusing vodka with tea!