Summertime can be a challenging time for tea lovers. It’s hard to want to sip on a steaming hot mug of tea when it’s 98-degrees outside, even if it is one of your favorite blends. When the heat is too much, but you still want the aromatics, flavor and energetic function of tea, the solution is to cold brew. Here are some tips and best practices for a cold brewed tea that is cool, crisp and refreshing, and equally as flavorful as it’s heat steeped alternative.
Cold brewed is different from regular iced tea, and there will be subtle differences in taste. We suggest trying both to determine which method your palate prefers. For regular iced tea, steep your tea first in hot or boiling water and then either add ice or allow it to cool first and then add ice. Cold brewed tea, on the other hand, uses a cold steeping process. Place your tea leaves or sachets in a pitcher of water and leave the pitcher in the refrigerator overnight or for about 8 hour to steep, or until you achieve the desired concentration. We’ve done both, and there really isn’t a ‘best’ method...it all depends on the type of tea and your taste. We do find, however, distinct benefits to the cold brewed method.
The benefits of cold brewed tea are that you get all of the smooth, round notes from the leaf and little of the tannic, edgier notes. When you use cold water to steep with, you end up with a more sweet, full bodied cup. Heat and minerality are what bring out the tannins and the strength of a tea, therefore heat chilled tea may have a stronger and slightly bitter edge. If you’re a fan of sun tea, we encourage you to try the cold brewed process in the fridge. Many find that it tastes a little cleaner and more crisp.
Teas that are grown and processed to have smooth, sweet, aromatic qualities make great cold brews: Japanese greens were made to be cold brewed, for example. Most other green teas work well also. Cold brewed black tea offers a smooth taste without the tannic notes. Other favorite teas that taste especially good when cold brewed include Rooibos and Kagoshima Kukicha. Botanical teas like Hibiscus Elixir and Indian Rose Garden are also bright and fun variations of iced teas. If you’re on-the-go and want a way to take it with you and keep it cold, you might appreciate our cold brew travel bottles.
At the end of the day, it’s all about what taste you prefer. If a brisk, refreshing cup of tea would make you happy - try iced tea. If you are after a more smooth, full bodied cup - try cold brew! We also suggest downloading our free Iced Tea Recipe Guide here or on the link below for a list of our favorite iced recipes to share with family and friends. When the heat and humidity tempts you to decline your favorite hot tea blend, do what we do...go cold!