Today, we're diving into the world of cold brew, a method that's gained popularity in recent years. Many cafes have embraced cold brew, not just for coffee but also for tea and herbs. It's the perfect way to cool down on a scorching day while rediscovering your favorite tea in a new light.

First, let's get some terminology straight. Cold brew is a distinct method, often confused with simply brewing tea with hot water and then chilling it. It involves long extraction times but at very low temperatures, resulting in a fundamentally different beverage compared to its hot-brewed counterpart.

Cold Brew Recipe
Today, we'll be cold-brewing fresh Longjing with three different steeping times: long, medium, and express. All you need are three simple ingredients: tea, water, and a container of your choice.

Longjing, on its own, is bold and robust. However, we'll bring out its subtleties and add layers of complexity through cold brewing. We'll use 5 grams of tea for 500 milliliters of water, the same ratio as for traditional steeping. We'll create three unique flavors even with the same amount of tea.

Recipe One: Classic
For our first batch, we let the tea steep in the fridge for 24 hours at a temperature of approximately 2–4 degrees Celsius (36–39 degrees Fahrenheit). This resulted in a light-colored tea with a surprising aroma reminiscent of blackcurrants. The taste was unexpectedly fresh and creamy, with a hint of sorbet. The aftertaste was vivid and reminiscent of fruit sorbet. This cold brew is incredibly refreshing due to its low temperature. To sum it up, this tea turned out exceptionally well-balanced, showcasing a variety of intriguing notes that harmoniously unfold one after the other: blackcurrant, gentle herbal hints, a touch of florals, and, of course, a robust sweetness.

Give cold brew a try, and you'll uncover a whole new dimension of your favorite teas.

A light and refreshing beverage that's perfect for hot summer days.

Cold Brew at Home Without a Refrigerator

The second kettle was prepared for 12 hours at room temperature, which is around 20 degrees Celsius. Visually, the infusion is much more yellow and denser than in the first option. The taste is more robust, tannic, and binding due to its infusion at room temperature.

If you want to make a good Cold Brew but don't have 24 hours to spare, the 12-hour room temperature option is a good alternative. You'll get a bright, refreshing infusion in less time. If you have the opportunity to brew the tea for a whole day, you'll get a much more interesting palette and caffeine content.

3-Hour Cold Brew Tea

Now let's try the fastest method. We took water at 35 degrees Celsius and let it brew at room temperature. It took us only three hours. The result is a very subtle, almost translucent infusion in terms of color. This is a good option if you're on the go and need to take your tea with you.

In this recipe, umami flavors are the most prominent compared to the other options. It feels much fresher than all the others, and there's a certain density to it.

This tea is convenient to take with you on the go.

Iced Tea: Suitable Tea Types

In addition to green tea, white tea works very well, both fresh and aged. If you opt for an older white tea, keep in mind that its infusion color may change significantly. If you take it out of the fridge in the morning, and it has an orange-brown hue, don't worry; that's how it should be.

Among red teas, Shaihuns are the most delicious for cold brewing. They naturally have a light acidity and sweetness. Lighter red teas may lack the density of flavor, so not every red tea will work well. If you want to experiment, it's better to choose Xiao Zhong or Royal Big Golden Needles red teas.

Light oolongs tend to reveal more interesting flavors through cold brewing than dark ones. Give preference to fresh Tie Guan Yin or light Taiwanese oolongs like GABA oolong.

Regarding pu-erh, young sheng pu-erh is a good choice. It's best to go for those with more buds, as they'll be less bitter and have a more fruity, pear-like, or apricot flavor.

We don't recommend using shu pu-erh. By definition, it requires fairly high temperatures. Dark shu pu-erh, especially pressed versions, won't fully develop in cold or even lukewarm water.

Helpful Tips

Avoid leaving tea in contact with other products. Home refrigerators often have foreign odors, so use lids to prevent the tea from absorbing these scents.
Use ice if you want to try a more interesting brewing method. This method is often used in Japan. Take a teapot or gaiwan, put ice inside, and then add the tea on top. Then, wait for the ice to slowly melt at room temperature. As soon as it's fully melted, your tea is considered brewed and ready to taste. This method can bring out fascinating herbal and marine notes in many green teas.
Add additional ingredients if you like. For example, you can include a sprig of mint or lemongrass if you want more freshness. Green teas pair well with cucumber, savory, mint, and apple. If you brew cold tea with Shaihun or an older white tea that isn't too high in caffeine content, adding a bit of chamomile can result in a delicious infusion that can help you relax at the end of a workday. We don't recommend brewing tea with citrus fruits simultaneously, as it can interfere with the extraction process.

The advantage of cold brewing is that it eliminates the distraction of hot temperatures. It allows us to experience all the essential oils much more delicately, deeply, and voluminously. When we drink a hot beverage, the high temperature can overwhelm our taste receptors, and steam can interfere with perceiving essential oils.

Moreover, essential oils are quite fragile, and to bring out the tea's flavors to the fullest, a gentle extraction is required. Cold brewing results in more flavor, with essential oils becoming brighter, revealing floral and fruity notes, and enhancing sweetness, all while reducing acidity. Additionally, when you cold brew, more caffeine is extracted into the water, making the drink more invigorating.

Friends, I wish you successful experiments. Enjoy good tea and stay good people!

Reading next

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.