Many people have come across cold coffee brews, but what is the case when it comes to cold brewing tea? Well, this is a practice that has also fast gained traction among avid tea drinkers.
It is taking off so fast that you can now find cold brew tea bags. Have you seen these? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to cold brew tea? If you are curious as to how all this works, you have come to the right place.
This article will answer these and more questions as it also details how you can make a cold brew from the comfort of your home.
What is cold brewing tea?
When you think of tea, you probably get a picture of a cup filled with a steaming liquid. That is what most people consume. Of the millions of tea cups consumed each day, many people take their tea hot.
That has been the tradition and is still deep-set in many avid tea drinkers. They like it hot and cannot imagine taking their tea any other way. If anything, they want it straight from the pot before it gets the chance to drop its temperature by one degree Celsius. That’s the norm.
People who opt for iced tea start by steeping their tea in hot water before leaving it in the fridge. They can also add ice cubes to make it cool faster. You may think that iced tea is the same as a cold brew, but that is not the case. With a cold brew, you steep the tea in cold water. What do you think of that?
The good thing with cold brewing is that it is not all that different from steeping in hot water. The process is pretty much the same, save for the required temperature. When making the usual hot brew, you work with water close to or at boiling point.
The temperature depends on the tea type and how acidic and caffeinated you want the result to be. A cold brew calls for cold water, straight from the tap and into the cup.
The reason people use hot water is not only for the warmth it provides to their bodies. It also owes to the extraction of the natural compounds present in tea. The hotter the water, the easier it becomes to extract caffeine, tannins, and whatnot. Thus, you can have your cup ready in a few minutes.
That is not the case with a cold brew as you do not have temperature on your side. Whereas you would need five or ten minutes to steep hot tea, with cold tea, you can take hours. The advisable steeping period lasts four hours to allow for the extraction of flavor.
It might look like a long waiting time, but the results are worth it. Plus, you can start steeping your morning drink the night before. If you do this, all you need is to leave the drink in the fridge where it can cool without exposure to harmful microorganisms.
You now have an idea of what cold brewing is all about. You may be asking yourself why you should ever take your tea cold. Are there any benefits to this?
Why you should cold brew tea
A hot cup of tea tastes great, and some may even say it warms the soul. After all, it does have a calming effect on the body. But it cannot compare to a cold brew regarding benefits.
For one, a cold brew will not be as bitter as you would expect of hot tea. You see, when you use hot water, you extract quite a bunch of acids. That is why you drink tea and get that aftertaste, indicating how bitter it is.
The hotter the water, the bitterer the tea becomes, which can hamper your enjoyment. Also, for people with stomach problems, this bitter taste is not a good thing. It works in triggering some gastrointestinal issues and can be a source of frustration.
With a cold brew, you can skip the bitter taste and move straight to enjoying the tea’s aroma and flavor. The cold water slowly extracts these, leaving out the acids. Thus, you can enjoy this much more than hot tea. You will find that many tea lovers have taken to this technique.
Have you ever tried having hot tea in hot weather? It does not do much to help matters. If anything, you end up feeling all hot and bothered by the consumption. Tea addicts may not mind much as all they want is a chance to indulge.
Many people opt for iced teas, which are available in stores. These work in giving you that all-too-familiar tea taste. But they have the downside of being too sugary, which can bring about other problems. So, what can you do? Cold brew!
The drink will be cool and will have all the benefits of tea, plus no sugars, unlike iced teas. If you are the kind of tea drinker who wants to keep drinking even on hot summer days, there is your fix.
Affordability always comes into play when dealing with drinks that people often consume. For example, when you think of having a cup of tea, which place comes to mind? Most people gravitate towards affordable places with excellent customer service.
And if they choose to make the drink, they look at the cost of the ingredients. The thing with cold brews is that they are quite economical. You need about two tea bags to make one liter of tea.
And if you use loose leaf tea, that amounts to only five grams. How long would it take you to finish a packet of this tea? That is an easy way to save on expenses incurred in the name of enjoying this drink.
Also, making a cold brew is easy. The name might have you thinking that you have to jump through hoops to taste the brew. But that is not the case. In fact, most of the work goes into waiting. As long as you exercise patience and plan your drinks, you should be fine.
Add the fact that these drinks are easy to blend, and you have yourself the perfect brew. You can enjoy the tea as it is or add herbs, flowers, and alcoholic drinks. That’s right!
The nature of this brew allows you to make cocktails, and you can thus have fun trying creative ways of making it.
Cold brews also have a balance of flavors that you otherwise would not find in hot tea. When using hot water, timing is everything. If you take out the teabag too soon, the drink tastes weak. But if you let the bag sit for too long, the tea becomes too bitter for you to enjoy.
Finding a balance is quite a hard task, and it takes a while to get the hang of it. That is not something you need to worry about when cold brewing. The extraction of the flavors takes place slowly, and after the four or so hours, your drink should be great.
Are you caffeine-sensitive? Do you wish to take tea without suffering jitters and other such effects? Cold brews have less caffeine content as compared to hot brews. The difference can be as much as 50% in some cases. Thus, if you want to reduce your caffeine consumption, that’s something to keep in mind.
How to cold brew tea
At this point, you are likely convinced that cold brews are the way to start your day. Or at least, you would like to give them a try. This method is quite easy, with some people stating that it is much easier than making hot tea.
You do not need any special equipment, and you can work with what you have. Do you want to know the best part? No matter how long you leave the tea in the water, it will not become bitter. That’s not something you can expect when using hot water.
Note that tea leaves will give you better flavor as compared to tea bags. However, this choice is up to you, based on what you prefer between the two. Let’s get started:
Making Cold Brew Tea
For this method, you will need eight ounces of water as well as one teabag. You can opt to use two teaspoons of tea leaves. The tea of your choice does not have to be black.
In fact, some people avoid using black varieties as they contain more tannins than other teas. This abundance can leave you with a dry tongue feeling. However, if that is what you like, go for it. The same goes for herbal and green varieties.
The amount of tea does not matter, as long as you stick to the ratio outlined above. Place the tea leaves or tea bag into the jar. If you want more exposure, you can cut the tea bag and allow the contents to mix with the water.
However, that is not necessary, and you can work with the bag as it is. For loose leaf tea, straining will be necessary at the end of the brewing. You can opt to conduct the brewing in a French press to make this easier.
For every tea bag or two teaspoons of tea leaves, add eight ounces of water. The water should be at room temperature such that they match that of the jar and tea leaves. You can add more tea leaves if you like your brew stronger than usual.
That will not have an impact on the bitterness, but rather, on the aroma and flavor. You can now leave the tea to sit on the counter for an hour, undisturbed. The brewing should start soon enough, giving the tea adequate time to steep before you decrease the temperature.
Some people like adding flavors to their drinks to make them more palatable. You can add lemon slices, fresh mint, and other options as you like to the jar of water. Where you are short on time, this addition can take place half an hour after adding the water.
Transfer the jar to the fridge where the mixture should continue steeping for at least four hours. Eight hours work best in extracting flavor, but you can drink the tea at half the time.
You might find that you have forgotten about the tea such that you leave it in the fridge for more than eight hours. Do not worry when this happens as the drink will not be bitterer or stale. You can even let it brew for as many as 24 hours without it going bad. It all comes down to preference.
The last step involves straining the tea or taking out the tea bags and enjoying the tea. For sweeteners, go for honey or simple syrup as these can mix in cold water without much of a problem. Table sugar could give you a hard time.
Ice Brewing Tea
Did you know that you can brew tea using ice? This method involves placing a large ice cube in a glass and adding some water and tea leaves. As the ice melts, it will extract flavor from the tea.
Wait until the ice melts and sip the tea to test how strong it is. You can then alter the amount of water accordingly. With this method, you can drink the tea within an hour, as this is the time taken for the ice to melt.
Given how easy it is to make a cold brew and the benefits that accrue from the same, will you give it a try?