What is Cold Brew Tea
Cold brew is a simple method of steeping tea, bagged or loose-leaf, in your refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. When the tea is infused with heat, often the quick release of tannins results in a bitter taste. When you cold brew, you are infusing the tannins slowly which results in a sweeter flavor that is smooth, balanced, and not bitter.
How to cold brew
You don’t need special equipment or tools. All you need is a jar or pitcher with a lid and some tea. So your first step is deciding how much tea you want to make. You can make as little one cup or as much as you want, you are only limited by the size of a jar you have. You can’t make this too strong, so I say more is better since you can always mix it with more water, lemonade or sparkling water. I have not made this with loose tea yet but I love the idea of blending flavors together so that is on my to-try list. There are a couple of ways steep, the easiest and quickest way is with tea bags or an infuser. You just drop them in the pitcher with water and “brew” it in the fridge for about 12 – 24 hours. Then when ready to have a glass or two, just lift tea out and toss. Another way is to immerse your loose tea right into the water. This method requires you to strain before drinking, which can be done by using a fine-mesh strainer or even a coffee filter.
My first attempt
While I am a coffee girl at heart, (hello, I’m from Seattle) I do enjoy drinking tea. For my first attempt, I used my favorite Tazo Passion tea, knowing what to expect flavor-wise hoping to find if cold brew was worth the wait. I’m happy to report it is so much better than hoped and totally worth the wait! Like my coffee cold brew, this turned out smooth and crisp. When I order unsweetened tea from a coffee shop, sometimes I would make a pucker face on the first sip. That did not happen on the first or last drop of this tea. The hibiscus flavor was front and center but did not overwhelm the other flavors that come at you subtly. There is a slight citrus flavor from orange peel, and lemongrass. I liken cold brew, both coffee, and tea, to wine tasting, where you learn to identify and appreciate the different flavor notes. Unlike wine tasting, you won’t have a hang-over the next day! That being said, vanilla vodka paired this tea would be delicious and velvety smooth.
The second attempt
I found a box of Celestial Seasoning Mint Magic Herbal Tea on sale and decided to give it a try. I got worried when I opened the first bag, I assumed it was peppermint, but it turned out to be spearmint. Don’t get me wrong I love any mint but wasn’t sure this would be good as an iced tea. Brewed it the same way of four tea bags to 2 quarts water. I got lucky it turned out tasting wonderful. It brought back memories from long ago as Double Mint gum, in the green package was one of my favorites.
Not necessary but helpful equipment
While you don’t “need” equipment for cold brewing at home, I do find that having a 2-quart infuser pitcher very helpful. I make cold brew coffee year-round and this is a snap to brew and clean. It is dishwasher safe and has a spillproof lid, a mesh infuser that holds ground or fruit if you wanted to use it for that. It fits perfectly in the door of my fridge you can lay it on it’s if you need to. I have had my pitcher for over five years with no issues.
So was the cold brew tea worth wait time?
My answer is YES! The non-bitter and balanced flavor was a winner for me. I’m looking forward to mixing my own blend from loose leaf. I would love to know if you have made or plan to make this tasty tea. What did you think of it? Did you blend two or more teas for a personal mix?
Cold Brew Iced Tea
- 4-5 Tea Bags
- 4 tbl Loose Tea
- 8 Cups Filtered Water
Add tea to the pitcher
Add 8 cups of cold water
Let steep in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours
When ready discard the tea grounds
Pour it over a glass of ice and enjoy!