Cold Brew is Hot

Cold-brewed tea is not only simple to make, it also yields a delicious, subtly sweeter infusion.

Cold tea – many of us associate this with nothing more than cooled-down or ice tea. Did you know, however, that many fine teas lend themselves excellently to brewing with cold water? Yes, it’s that simple: Take roughly the double quantity of tea leaf you would normally take to brew your hot tea, add cold water and let it brew!

The great thing about cold brewing is that you’ll find the result often yields a whole new spectrum and intensity of aromas in comparison to a hot brew of the same tea. This is because there is a different chemical process going on. In a hot brew for instance, hundreds of substances are extracted from the tea leaves relatively faster than in a cold brew. Moreover, the hot water cooks and forces chemical reactions to take place which drive out some aroma substances out of the tea liquor.

Since cold infusion is a relatively slow and gentle process, proportions and times are not critical. There’s plenty of room to experiment in order to reach your preferred balance of flavor and aroma. As a general rule, the more fragile the tea leaves, or the smaller the particles, the less tea and time you need to get a strong brew. If a cold brew infuses too slowly, just add more tea. And you will find that the colder the water which you use to steep the tea is, the longer the steeping time but the sweeter the taste.

In Asia, where cold brewing has been all the rage for some time, aficionados set their cold brew in the fridge overnight. Green teas, especially Japanese varieties, are suitable for the fastest cold brewing, needing to steep for about 5-7 minutes, while Chinese green teas and white teas usually need a bit longer to unfold, between 15-20 minutes. And what’s more, if you do these short infusion cycles, you can rebrew your tea several times.

Among our favorite cold brewing Japanese leaves at P & T are our somewhat grassier sencha Daikoku, or our roasted Daily Toast. The Korean Maia’s Pick, with its nutty protein aroma, or the delicate sweet floral Happy Huizong are equally exquisite hot or cold. (The Happy Huizong should be left to steep for a few extra minutes.) And our white teas offer a whole new aromatic spectrum to discover when infused cold.

Last but definitely not least come our oolong teas, which of course make exquisite ice tea when hot brewed and then chilled. But you’ll find that our Taiwanese Four Seasons of Spring or the gamma amino acid-rich Gabacha unfold a highly seductive sweetness when brewed cold for the ultimate refresher on hot summer days. Enjoy!