You may have noticed, over the last decade, that cold-brew coffee became all the rage in the U.S. If you think that cold-brew is simply coffee that has been brewed with heat and then poured over ice, you’d be mistaken. Cold-brew is exactly that: a method of brewing that involves no heat. It is believed to have started hundreds of years ago in Kyoto, Japan, where Kyoto-style coffee is the earliest known coffee to have been cold brewed.
The same major benefit that coffee gleans from being cold brewed -- a smoother, less astringent flavor -- applies to tea as well. While cold-brew tea may not have the marquee status of cold-brew coffee, trust us when we say it’s a wonderful way to make tea.
When tea is brewed via the traditional method of boiling water in a kettle and adding it to the tea, letting the leaves steep in the hot water, the heat extracts more tannins. When improperly extracted (from letting the tea steep for too long or using water that is too hot), there can be too many tannins in the tea, which results in a bitter taste. When you brew with cold water, there is no opportunity for extra tannins to sneak into your brew, which results in a smoother, less bitter, and therefore better glass of tea.
Also, the cold-brew process demands less precision than using hot water. As we mentioned above, there’s always the chance of over-or under-steeping your tea and using water that is too hot, which can result in burnt tea leaves and, again, leaving a bitter taste in your mouth. The cold-brew process is nearly 100% error-proof, as you’ll see.
Another benefit is that cold-brew tea has less caffeine than its hot-brewed counterpart. Again, heat extracts more caffeine from the tea, so when you cold brew the only jitters you are likely to get is if you’re not patient enough to wait a few hours for the tea to steep. Studies have also shown that cold-brew tea has more vitamin C, and we can all stand to have a little more vitamins in our lives!
Ready to cold brew? It’s as easy as one, two,tea!
Want to get a little fancy with your newfound cold-brew skills? We thought you might.
It’s not hard to take your glass or pitcher of cold-brew tea up a level. You can easily add things like:
Add as many or as few extras as you’d like. Experiment until you’ve made a concoction that makes you smile. That’s what tea’s supposed to do!
Or, get even more adventurous and try one of these recipes. You don’t have to make these in the pint-sized glass jars, but we think it makes them even more fun. Cheers to cold-brew tea!
If you want a little kick, add a thin slice of fresh peeled ginger.
Rooibos is a caffeine-free tea that’s smooth and sweet with a slightly nutty flavor. The blackberries bring tartness to the brew; if you like, muddle them right before serving to bring out more of their tanginess.
Fruit adds sweetness to this refreshing drink. If you wish, substitute raspberries for the strawberries, or drop in a sprig of lemon verbena to boost the aromatic citrus.
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