What is cold brew tea?
What do you think about tea without hot water? Or else, have you ever tasted cold brew tea? With the name of it, anyone can understand that it’s a tea which is made from cool water.
Japan is the origination of cold brew tea and they believed that hot water can scorch the tea because hot water can extract bitter tannins to the tea. Therefore people wanted to find some alternative but with the same tea. That’s how cold brew tea discovers. The cool water doesn’t destroy the flavor or the smoothness of the tea.
Nowadays cold brew tea is getting more attention same as cold brew coffee. Cold brewing is a slow and gentle process where tea is steep in cool water for several hours. Cold-brew tea is a value-added product and it’s easy to make iced tea(instant tea). As cold brewing doesn’t involve hot water and it’s a refreshing drink for the hot summer months.
Cold-brew tea vs. Hot brew tea
- Cold-brew tea is simple and hot brew tea is finical. If the tea is allowed to steep for long hours, the hot brew tea will become bitter.
- If the water is too hot the leaves will be burn. And, if the water is too cold, the leaves will get over wet.
- The hot water brews the tea faster than cold water.
- Cold-brewed tea has a much lighter, smooth taste than hot brewed tea.
- Hot water can release tannins in tea leaves to the water. Therefore the tea will become bitter with astringency. But that is absent in cold-brewed teas.
- The quantity of caffeine and antioxidants in cold brew tea is low compared with hot brew teas.
How to brew it?
The followings are the ingredients and steps to make cold brew tea.
- Tea –you can use loose leaf tea, powdered tea or teabags. Loose leaf tea is highly recommended if you need a better taste. All tea types can use either Black tea, green tea, oolong tea
- Water – Not hot water. Only cool water or iced water
- Ice – If you need a quick brew
- Sweeteners – This is an optional. If like to taste your tea sweet then you can add sweeteners. Syrups are the best.
Steps of Cold Tea Brewing
Add Tea Leaves
The first step is to add tea leaves to a container or glass. You can change the proportions for tea and water according to the type of tea you are planning to get, whether loose leaf, tea bags, or powdered tea. The recommended tea-to-water ratio is 2 tablespoons of loose leaf tea for 32 oz cold water.
Add Water and Ice
Fill your container with cool water or ice water. If you’re willing to wait, then let brew in the refrigerator to cool further.
Swirl and Steep
Slightly swirl or shake the container or glass to stir up the leaves. Then allow the tea to steep for at least 2 hours, no more than 8-10 hours. Depending on the type of tea, steeping times may be varying. Usually, green tea takes 2-6 hours and, black and oolong tea can steep for 6- 10 hours.
Strain out tea leaves
uses a mesh strainer to take out the tea from the brew.
Enjoy your cold brew tea
Add sweeteners before drinking if you prefer a sweet cold brew tea.
Important Facts to remember About cold brew tea
- You can store cold-brewed tea in a refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- The brewing time duration is the most important factor when preparing cold brew tea. Especially, be careful about the brewing time when preparing cold brew green tea as it can taste bitter if not made properly according to the recommended time duration.
- Make sure to store your tea in glass containers. Plastic containers may change the flavor and will create an unpleasant smell.
- You can use more than one type of tea when making cold brew tea. But you should try to pair them with similar steeping time such as black tea with oolong tea, green tea with white tea.
- You can add fruits such as lemon slices, orange slices, lime, peaches, mangoes, cucumber and blueberries.
Cold-brew tea types
Cold-brew tea types vary with the type of tea use. And the brewing time also varies with the type of tea. Some tea types need more time to release flavor to the brew. The followings are the main cold brew tea types.
Cold-brew green tea
Green tea is the best tea for cold brewing. Cold-brew green tea will never taste bitter like hot brew green tea. You can use sencha or Pan Fried Green tea for this.
Cold-brew oolong tea
Oolong is also a good tea for making cold brew tea. But it’s not popular as black or green cold brew tea.
Cold-brew black tea
The caffeine content of cold brew black tea is lesser than usual hot brew black tea. Ceylon Orange Pekoe and Organic Assam black tea grades are the best for cold brew black tea.
Cold-brew white tea
Pai Mu Tan is one of the best white teas to make cold brew white tea. However, you have to steep it around 4 hours or longer.
Cold-brew herbal tea
Minty and refreshing herbal teas are great for making cold brews. Herbal tea needs more time to give the best flavor.
Homemade cold brew blends
Are you fed up with drinking cold brew tea with regular black tea, green tea, or oolong tea? Then you can try adding some ingredients to your brew to feel it better. Here are some ideas for that,
- Sencha green tea and cucumber
- Green tea and fresh mint leaves
- Oolong tea and fresh basil leaves
- Ceylon orange pekoe black tea and fresh rose petals
- Assam black tea and fresh lavender
- Hibiscus and lime wedges
- Chamomile and mint leaves
Value added cold brew tea types in market
- Cold Brew Tea Cocktails: Infuse liquor ( vodka, rum ) with cold brew tea
- Cold Brew Tea Arnold Palmer: Combination of cold brew tea with lemonade.
- Sparkling Cold Brew Tea: Combination of cold brew tea, syrup, and sparkling water.
- Cold Brew Tea Floats: Cold brew tea over ice cream and gelato along with sparkling water.
- Cold Brew Tea Glaze: Combination of cold brew tea, powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
Popular brands for cold brew tea in the world
Now you can buy the following popular and the best cold brew tea from anywhere in the world.
Cold brew tea vs. Iced tea
Most are misunderstand that cold brew tea and iced tea are similar. But there are significant differences as follows,
Difference of brewing process: Firstly, the tea should brew in hot water when making iced tea. Then it is refrigerated before serving. But cold brew tea is brew only in cool water and steep for longer hours.
Difference of taste: Although it seems that both iced tea and cold-brewed tea taste the same, it is not so. The cold brew tea has a smooth, delicate, naturally sweet flavor. Since leaves are brewed in hot water for making iced tea, heat releases tannins which give bitterness to the iced tea.
Cold-brew tea and caffeine
If you are concerned about the caffeine intake from tea, you can switch to cold water instead of hot water to reduce the caffeine content in your tea. Because the caffeine content in cold brew tea is lower than hot brew tea. , Usually, a cup of cold-brewed tea has half of the caffeine compared to its hot-brewed counterpart. Cold-brew tea has 70 mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup.
However, the caffeine content in cold brew tea varies with the following factors.
- Amount of loose leaf: Using a higher ratio of tea to water can increase the caffeine content. But the recommended tea-to-water ratio is 2 tablespoons of loose leaf tea for 32 oz cold water.
- The type of tea used: Some types of tea contain higher concentrations of caffeine. For example, tea bags have the lowest caffeine content and, loose tea has the highest. And if you use green tea for the cold brew then, the caffeine content is relatively lower than black tea.
- Water temperature: Hot water can extracts more caffeine from the tea than cold water. Because the dissolution rate of caffeine increases with the water temperature. Therefore caffeine dissolves rapidly in hot water. According to the studies, the amount of caffeine in a cup of tea brewed at 100 C is double when it brewed at 80 oC of all the types of tea.
- Brewing time: If you steepyour tea for a longer time, it increases the amount of caffeine present in the tea.
Cold-brew tea benefits
- Less caffeine: As described earlier, the cold brew tea extracts less caffeine into the tea because of the low temperature of the water used for the brew.
- Less bitter: Heat changes the chemical structure of the tea leaves by allowing tannins to infuse into the tea, which can result in a bitter and astringency taste.
- Easier than hot brewing: The preparation method is easier than hot brewing. The only thing is that you have to wait for several hours to steep the tea as follows.
- Black tea – 8 -12 hours
- Green tea – 6 -8 hours
- White tea – 6 -8 hours
- Oolong tea – 8 -10 hours
- Herbal tea -12 -14 hours
- Fewer tannins: Tannin is a polyphenol and an antioxidant compound that releases an astringent taste to the tea. As mentioned earlier, less tannin results in a smoother, sweeter tea and may have significant health benefits too. Tannin inhibits the absorption of iron from the foods like vegetables and, you don’t need to worry about it with cold brew tea.
- Sugar free: Do you like sugar-free products? Then the cold brew is a better option as it doesn’t have sugar and calories. The brew is naturally smooth and has a light, sweet taste. Therefore you don’t need to add sweeteners to the tea.
- Keeps you hydrated: Cold-brew tea can keep you hydrated, especially on hot summer days. You can drink it as an alternative to cold water.
Health benefits of cold brew tea
Like other tea types, cold brew tea also has many health benefits as follows.
- Boost immune system: Vitamin C in cold brew tea is highly active than hot brew tea and, it helps boost your immune system.
- Strength bones: Cold brew tea contains Vitamin D which, is good for strengthening bones
- Reduce the risk of heart diseases: According to the researches, cold brew tea can reduce the risk of heat strokes by 21%, if you consume one cup of tea per day while coronary heart disease by 27% if you consume three cups per day.
- Soothe the digestive system: Herbal cold brew tea such as chamomile can soothe the digestive system which has irritable bowel syndrome.
- Reduce the risk of cancers: Green cold brew tea can reduce the risk of some cancers because it is more effective in scavenging free radicals.
Side effects of cold brew tea
Overconsumption of cold brew tea may cause side effects as follows. It’s better to limit your intake to 3 or fewer cups per day because it’s the safe range for most people.
- Reduced iron absorption: Overconsumption of cold brew tea can inhibit the absorption of iron from plant-based foods such as vegetables because of the tannins. Usually, tannin content is low in cold brew tea. But if you over drink, you have to face iron deficiency symptoms.
- Increased anxiety, stress, and restlessness: Although the caffeine content is low, over-consuming cold brew tea may lead you to feelings of anxiety, stress, and restlessness.
- Poor sleep: Excessive drinking may disrupt your sleeping habits as it inhibits the melatonin hormone production which helps you for a comfortable sleep.
- Nausea: If you drink cold brew tea on an empty stomach perhaps it can cause nausea.
- Heartburn: High content of caffeine can cause heartburn or acid reflux symptoms by increasing the acid concentration in the stomach. Therefore avoid overuse of cold brew tea for your better health.
- Pregnancy complications: If you regularly use high levels of caffeine from beverages during your pregnancy may increase your risk of miscarriage and low infant birth weight.
- Headaches: Overconsumption of caffeine from cold brew tea may contribute to headaches. According to a study, 100 mg of caffeine per day could contribute to daily headaches. However, it depends on personal factors.