Cold brew coffee is all the rage lately. Nearly every café has their own unique version, ranging from 12-24 hour steeping times and even breaking out the nitrogen to achieve the smooth, sweet flavour that cold brew is so famous for. While many of us have successfully debunked how to make cold brew coffee at home, cold brew tea isn’t nearly as talked about. Thankfully, that’s about to change.
Similar to cold brew coffee, cold brew tea has a lot of advantages in terms of flavour and ease. While traditional tea brewing with hot water is technically faster, it can be more difficult to achieve a smooth flavour. The temperature of the water has a big impact on the final result of the tea and if the water is too hot, the tea (especially black varieties) will release excess tannins and result in a bitter tasting cup.
When cold brewing tea, the cooler temperature allows for the tea to release its flavour slowly and as a result, be much less bitter. Another advantage to cold brewing tea is that it is virtually impossible to over steep. Over-steeped tea presents the same problem as tea steeped with overly hot water: bitterness. When cold brewing tea, the biggest factor that impacts flavour is steep time. Steeping the tea in cold water for 12-24 hours results in a flavourful tea with little to no bitter notes.
Here’s a breakdown of the process:
1. Choosing Your Tea
Any tea in loose-leaf or bagged forms that you like the taste of will work. Try mixing different teas together to create a unique blend. This picture is of Spoon Universitea, which is a tea blend of black tea, cinnamon, and lavender created by Spoon University Carleton and Tealee, which you can purchase here.
2. Tea to Water Ratio
To make sure you have the most flavourful brew, carefully measure out your water. For each cup of water (roughly 8oz), 1 tea bag or 1 tablespoon of loose-leaf tea should be sufficient. For the pictured cold brew tea, I used 2 tea bags and 2 tablespoons of loose leaf tea for about 4 cups of water.
3. Layering Flavours
Get creative! Adding your favourite fresh herbs or fruit to your tea as it steeps will give another dimension of flavour and make it all the more #blessed. Some suggestions:
- Citrus fruit (sliced thinly) or fresh juice
- Berries (sliced so they release their juice)
- Cubed Mangoes, Peaches
- Herbs such as mint, thyme, basil (sliced thinly or leaves torn by hand to release their oils), lemongrass or ginger (sliced thinly).
4. Steep Time
Once you’ve given your tea a good stir, you can pop it in the fridge for anywhere between 12 -24 hours in a sealable glass container. While you’re waiting, you can prepare a simple syrup (which could also be infused with herbs) if you like your tea on the sweeter side and get that into the fridge once it has come to room temperature.
5. Finishing Touches
Strain your tea with a strainer (you could probably reuse your leaves at least once for a smaller batch, so don’t throw them out) and mix in liquid sweetener if you wish (honey, agave, simple syrup, etc.). Serve it cold and enjoy.