What is Cold Brew Tea & How To Make It Right Now
Brewing tea in cold water is a phenomenon of the past few years. In supermarkets you do not only find conventional tea bags, but also tea bags for cold brew tea. So why is it so popular? How does it work? And how can you do it yourself right at home? You’ll find answers to these questions and more in this expert cold brew tea guide.
What is cold brew green tea?
Tea has always been steeped hot, and if you want an iced tea, you simply add ice cubes or let it cool down in the fridge. Cold brew iced tea doesn’t work this way. Instead, you steep the tea in cold water.
Cold brew versus hot brew: How does cold brew tea work?
Cold brewing in fact doesn’t work much different from preparing a hot cup of tea. The only difference is the brewing parameters. With a hotly steeped cup, the temperature will be anywhere between 80-100ºC, depending on what tea you make. With cold brewing, you’ll simply use cold water.
To compensate for the low temperature, the tea is steeped for a much longer duration. You’ll have to store the tea at least for 4 hours until the flavor is nicely extracted. This can be a hassle, but it could be easily solved by planning ahead. The best way is to steep the tea in the evening and let sit overnight in the fridge, so you can enjoy it the next day!
Why should you cold brew tea?
There are several reasons why cold brewed cup of tea might be great for you:
Hot cups of tea can be too bitter for some. With cold brewing, the low temperature only extracts the flavor and aroma, while leaving out the chemical components that cause bitterness! In fact, there are many tea lovers that only drink cold brewed tea.
If the weather is hot outside, you really don’t want a hot cup of tea. You could simply get a pack of iced tea from the supermarket, but those are loaded with sugar. The solution: make your own cold brewed tea.
Cold brews aren’t only easy to make, but also super affordable. To make a liter of tea, you’ll just need 5 grams of loose leaf tea or 2 tea bags!
Great for blending
Cold brewed tea can be enjoyed pure or blended with herbs, flowers and even liquors to create cocktails. The possible combinations are endless, and you can fully express your creativity!
How to cold brew tea?
While cold brewing tea may sound unfamiliar and complicated, it’s in fact even easier than brewing a hot cup of tea. You don’t need specialistic teaware or consider water temperature. And no matter how long the leaves are steeped, it will not get bitter! The only thing you should get right is how much tea leaves you’ll need to use.
What tools do you need?
Do don’t need anything fancy to start cold brewing. You can simply use a clean soft drink bottle or go fancy and get a glass pitcher (with a lid).
The benefit of glassware is that it stays cool for longer when it’s outside the fridge compared to plastic bottles. Moreover, they’re just more transparent and clear to enjoy and observe the color of the tea. Thus, if you’re planning to cold brew often, investing in a large glass teapot or glass pitcher with lid, will be the best. Glass bottles are great too, but due to a smaller opening, it’s harder to put leaves and take them out. Whatever you use, it’s important that the teaware has a lid, or the tea will absorb other aroma’s that are present inside the fridge.
Strainers aren’t necessary, as the tea leaves/bags can just stay in the vessel.
Cold brew tea ratio
To make a liter of tea, you may use the below tea-to-water ratios as a start:
- green/jasmine tea: 10g
- white tea: 8g
- black tea: 5g
- oolong tea: 5g
- pu erh tea: 4g
If you cold brew tea with tea bags, then use 2 bags per liter of water (no matter which tea type).
There are no exact cold brew measurements. Every tea is different, so feel free to tweak the amount as according to taste. Luckily it’s really easy to fix wrong measurements: If you end up with a brew that’s too strong, you can add some more water to lighten the flavor.
The steeping time can differ per tea, but generally the tea will be ready in about 4-6 hours, depending on the intensity you want to achieve.
If the tea happens to be too light, then let it sit for a few hours more. If that doesn’t help then add some more tea.
Some tea bags that are especially made for cold brewing, are made in a way to release flavor faster. For the steeping duration of those, feel free to check the instructions on the packaging.
How to sweeten cold brew tea
Sweetening your cold brew should be seen as a last resort. If you pick the right teas, a cold brew tea can taste naturally sweet. If it’s still not sweet enough, then the best option would be to use dried fruits. The best options are:
Amount: Experiment by adding 2g of fruits or flowers to the tea and cold brew them together.
How to serve cold brew tea?
Ideally, serve your tea in transparent straight glasses, wine glass, mason jars or whiskey glasses and top it off with beautiful garnishes.
What’s the best tea for cold brewing?
The best cold brew tea doesn’t exist. Tea should be loved for its diversity. Try out different teas, and simply enjoy the uniqueness of each tea. Of course, there will always be some teas that are more suitable than others. Read this article in which we discuss 7 great teas for cold brewing + recipes!