Cold Steeping Tea
Think about the way that you normally make your teas… you heat the water to somewhere between 180 and 212 degrees, depending on the type of tea and the desired strength, and then you steep the leaves in the water for 2-7 minutes, again accounting for the type of tea and the desired strength.
How to brew cold steep tea
First off, it is probably important to know how to cold brew tea. If you are reading this, we can safely assume that you know how to do a hot steep.
To cold steep tea, you need a few things, which won’t sound much different than what you require for your standard hot steep. You will need:
- Quality tea (loose tea is preferred)
- Something to steep the tea in (pot, jar, dedicated iced tea maker, steel tumbler)
- A strainer or tea bag (many tea pots and all iced tea makers include this)
- Cold Water
To start, you will typically want to use a little more tea for a cold steep tea than you would for a hot steep. A general rule would be to use 4-8 tablespoons of tea to the quart of water, depending on the type of tea used and the desired strength of the tea. We recommend giving the leaves a quick rinse. Be sure to use cold water for this!
Place your tea in the container either loose or in a bag or infuser, just make sure that there is enough room for the tea to swirl around and release their flavors and anti-oxidants.
Add cold water to the container right up to the top. Cover the container and place it in the fridge for 8-12 hours.
Once the tea is removed from the fridge, either strain the tea or remove the existing strainer, serve, and enjoy your first cold steep!
What does cold steep taste like when brewed?
The flavor of cold brew tea is going to be lighter versus a hot brew. There is also going to be only about 1/2 - 2/3 of the caffeine in a cold brew, meaning that those of us that wish to avoid caffeine can do so more effectively by cold steeping teas.
The real health benefit list for cold brewing teas is related to the release of the phytochemicals that are in tea. These are flavonoids, catechins, anti-oxidants, and other naturally occurring chemicals that are released when the water passes through the tea leaves. The health benefit is this: while the caffeine that is drawn out is halved, the phytochemicals that are actually doubled!
Health benefits of cold steep tea
An important reason that many of us drink tea is for the health benefits, and reducing the caffeine level while increasing the amount of good natural chemicals is a solid health benefit! What is also interesting is that the health benefits of the cold brew seem to increase as the tea itself lightens. For example, white teas release more phytochemcials than green tea, which releases more than black tea, which releases yet more than some of the very heavy black teas.
What are recommended teas for cold brew?
Any tea that you normally enjoy hot can be iced. Regular tea works best (green, black, white), regardless if flavored or not. There are some fruit teas that don't actually have tea in them, just fruit pieces. Other herbal teas may contain spices like cardamom or turmeric. These types of teas, those that consist of whole fruit pieces, roots and spices are not ideal cold brew candidates.
Purchase an iced tea brewer
One of the best purchases you can make is a dedicated iced tea brewer. This lets you cold or hot brew your iced tea in larger quantities, and keep it in the fridge for daily consumption.