Cold brewing tea eliminates the need for adding heat to the process, and any tea (black, green, white, etc) may be brewed using this method.
The process of cold brewing, or cold steeping, is quite simple. We've provided step-by-step instructions to get you started below. But first, let's talk about why someone may wish to cold steep their tea over traditional steeping using hot water.
Why Cold Brew?
There are a number of benefits to selecting the cold brew method to steep your favorite teas:
Cold brewing is a great way to make a large amount of cold tea all at once. Since the tea leaves are added to a large pitcher for steeping, one can produce several cups of tea all at once. Who doesn't enjoy a cold cup (or two or three) of tea on a hot day?
By eliminating the heat in the process, cold brewing is a much more forgiving way to steep. Anyone who has ever forgotten about a hot steeping cup of tea only to return and find it very astringent and bitter knows what we mean. Cold brewing offers a method of preparing tea without the fear of over steeping.
Cold brewing yields a less caffeinated cup of tea. Since much of the caffeine is released from the leaves when heat is applied, there is less caffeine released when the leaves are steeped in cold water.
The resulting tea using the cold brewing method tastes slightly different than when prepared using the traditional hot-steep method. When the leaves are placed in hot water, many tannins get released which have an astringent and bitter flavor. With cold brewing, the flavor from the tea leaves are extracted over a much longer period of time. The result is a smoother, less bitter and astringent cup of tea.
The resulting tea is often described as having a slightly sweeter taste when cold brewed, which can be great for those trying to reduce their sugar intake and prefer more sweetness in their tea.
Step-by-Step to Cold Brewing Tea
What you will need:
Pitcher, jar, teapot, or other steeping vessel
Scoop the needed amount of tea leaves into the steeping vessel. As a general rule of thumb, 1 tsp of loose-leaf is recommended for each 8oz cup of tea. For more delicate, less dense teas like white tea, more may be suggested. Check your package for recommended amounts. For a stronger cup of tea, use a bit more tea leaves per ounce of water.
Add room temperature water to fill the steeping vessel. The water used has a big impact on the resulting flavor of steeped tea. We recommend using filtered water, when possible.
Place the steeping vessel in the refrigerator. We recommend using a lid on your vessel to prevent other items in the refrigerator from impacting the resulting flavor of the tea.
Allow the tea to steep for the recommended number of hours, which varies by type of tea. For white and green teas, 6 to 8 hours is recommended. 8 to 10 hours is recommended for oolong teas and 8 to 12 hours for black teas. For herbal teas, at least 12 hours is recommended.
Pour the tea from the vessel through a fine mesh strainer (unless your steeping vessel has a built-in filter) to filter out the tea leaves.
Transfer the cold-brewed tea to a favorite cup and enjoy!
As always, we recommend experimenting with the ratio of tea leaves to water and the steeping times to yield a cup of tea that's optimized for your palate. Feel free to add berries, herbs, or spices to steep with the tea leaves for some fun added flavors. Looking for a recommended tea to start? Our Premium Sencha and Gyokuro Kin are cold brew faves.
TIP: If you're short on time, increase the amount of tea leaves used and reduce the number of steeping hours. For example, use 1.5 tbsp Gyokuro Kin for a 32 ounce steeping vessel and steep 2 to 6 hours.
Have a favorite tea you like to cold brew? Let us know in the comment section below.