Cold brew teas are a great alternative to the traditional hot brewed teas. It’s a longer process, but definitely worth the time required. Let's take a look at the benefits of cold brew tea, as well as some easy, step-by-step instructions for making it!
Cold brew tea involves combining water and tea, then chilling the mixture for a number of hours until it's flavorful. Unlike sun tea, cold brew tea is safer to drink. When you combine the hot sun, sugar, tea, and water, it becomes a hot, outdoor microbe breeding ground. No one wants their cup of tea to have more in common with a petri dish than a refreshing beverage ;) With herbal tea blends in particular, that are not heated during processing, they become particularly good breeding grounds for all kinds of bacterias and microbes. Yuck!
Cold-brewing saves you from potentially harmful micro-organisms by taking the heat out of the equation altogether. There is a whole host of reasons why you should be brewing cold tea instead of traditional hot tea or sun tea.
One reason you should choose to brew cold tea is because the tea comes out sweeter. When you brew cold, there are fewer catechins and less caffeine, both of which increases bitterness. Cold brew tea is also much smoother in taste, which is pleasant for the palate over harsh flavors created by the caffeine and catechins. Another benefit of cold brew tea is that there’s fewer tannins. In hot brewed teas, there are more tannins (an antioxidant which causes an unpleasant, astringent taste). Not only that, but fewer tannins means you can absorb iron more efficiently. All around, cold brew tea is better for you, tastes better, and is much safer than the alternatives. Cold tea leaves out the bitter, tannic flavors in favor of sweeter, smoother flavors. Now that we’ve gone over the basics of cold brew tea and why you should opt out of drinking hot brew tea, here are a few easy steps, tips, and tricks to making your own cold brew tea at home with any tea of your choice: loose leaf or bagged.
1. Choose a container
Choose any container of your choice for brewing. We recommend glass or BPA-free plastic, but we still tend to favor glass over plastic for food and drink preparation and storage, as you never need to worry about anything leeching out of the container into your tea. As long as it can fit in your fridge, it’s good for brewing. It’s best to store the tea close to the back of the fridge to help prevent spilling. Whatever you choose to brew in, the larger the container, the more tea you can brew.
2. Choose a tea
Choose a tea, any tea. You can use bagged or loose leaf teas for cold brewing. Any tea will work. If you’re using tea bags, you’ll add one tea bag for every 6 to 8 ounces of water, depending on how strong you want your tea to taste. The same ratio applies to loose leaf teas, which is 1 teaspoon for every 8 ounces of water.
3. Add water
Add filtered water to your container for a pure tea mixture. The water should be cold, and poured in evenly and gently. Tip: to make sparkling tea, use club soda instead of water and use a container with a lid to keep the soda from going flat.
4. Let it steep
Now it the fun part, the waiting game. You’ll need to let you tea steep for 2 to 12 hours depending on the type of tea and the strength you’re going for. And then there’s other factors like the elevation you live at. This process is more of an art than a science, but you’ll still have to do a little experimenting. You can check the tea every few hours until it tastes how you want it to, or you can leave it overnight for a stronger, sweeter tea.
Strain the tea with a reusable tea bag, or mesh strainer if you used loose leaf, or remove the tea bags if you used those instead.
You can also pour directly into your cup and use a tea straw or bombilla, which allows you to drink loose leaf tea easily. Once the tea leaves are removed, you can add sugar, milk, honey, agave, or whatever suits your fancy. The tea can now be stored in the fridge for up to a week for a refreshing drink, anytime!