Erin said

Advice on cold brewing teas?

Does anyone have any recommendations for cold-brewing? Specific teas, specific instructions, anything? The weather is already turning warm here in FL, and soon it will be too hot to drink hot tea as much as now.

Normally I end up toting my Nalgene bottle around everywhere filled with water when the weather gets hot. I would love to be able to put some flavor in there!

I see that this topic was briefly addressed a couple of years ago (http://steepster.com/discuss/1770-how-to-cold-brew-tea), and some instructions are available (http://www.uptontea.com/shopcart/information/INFOicedTea_coldwaterMethod.asp).

But I was wondering if anyone else had any advice to share?

17 Replies

You just reminded me I forgot my cold steep in the fridge! Doh, too late at night to drink it now!

I prefer my greens and whites for 2 to 3 hours, whereas some oolongs do good overnight. I just experimented a bit, take a sip every hour or so and see what I like best, and went from there.

Oh, I use a travel tea tumbler for my cold steeps to avoid eating leaves.

I find that cold brewed teas don’t extract as much caffeine so maybe it’s okay to have a few sips or a small cup depending on your tolerance. :)

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Lariel select said

I tried a cold steep once, it just gave me refreshing (slightly flavoured) water.
I might not have used enough tea leaves.

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Dinosara said

Well you might have seen my response on the other thread, and nothing has changed. My cold brew recipe is 1 tablespoon of leaf for 8oz of water, then I leave overnight (for everything). I might leave blacks for almost 24hrs, but I try to keep whites, greens and oolongs at 12-18hrs.

Recently I tried to go at my usual hot steeping parameters just to see how it would turn out (1.5 tsp for 8oz water) and it was way too weak for me.

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Lala said

I make a 64 oz pitcher every week, sometimes a few times a week. I use 6 tsp tea. Fill pitcher with cold water. Put in fridge, 24 hours or longer for herbals. 12 hours for other teas. It’s a bit of trial and error to find the taste you like.

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Some say they steep greens and whites from as little as 4 hours to as much as 24 hours… that is a lot of difference. Will leaving them to cold steep for so long really make that much of a difference? It makes a huge difference with hot water.

I have never cold steeped tea before. The thing about England is that it’s cold just about all year round so my main preference is to have it warm. But I thought I should try it and there is no time like the present.

So yeah I just don’t want to leave it in the fridge over night if it’s going to be undrinkable and ruin the only samples of two teas that I had.

Also any particularly tasty cold brew teas that are your favourites?

teapot1 said

I have been doing lots of cold brewing in small (8oz) batches overnight…I’ve not had any of them taste over-brewed or too strong. They have all been tasty. Some milder than others.

ifjuly said

My experience has been like teapot1’s, I haven’t oversteeped yet.

If you’re nervous about “wasting” tea trying it out, you may want to try taking tea leaves you’ve already steeped hot and setting them aside and cold steeping them (a bunch of them; I usually use about double the amount of leftover leaves as I’d use for hot for the same amount of water). It’s definitely not as strong as “proper” iced tea but it’s very refreshing and (at least I find) tasty. And a great way to get a little more mileage out of your leaves before tossing them for good.

Dinosara said

I’ve definitely “oversteeped” a green tea cold brew. For me they can get bitter if left in for more than about 10 hours, but then again I also use a lot of leaf. It’s probably similar in that if you use less leaf you can leave it in practically forever without it becoming too much. I actually have never had a black tea get “oversteeped” on a cold brew, but greens, whites and green oolongs definitely get too strong and taste nasty to me when left too long.

Thank you everyone for your help. With your guidance I cold brewed my first teas yesterday and can today announce that the first one I have tried was a success. :)

I only have one more question now and it’s regarding sugar/sweetener. With iced tea made with hot water I add a little bit of stevia especially with black tea to make sure it doesn’t get bitter. Well does anyone add sweetener to cold steeps or do you find that you don’t really need to?

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Lala said

About your question regarding sweetener: I find cold brews tend to be a bit sweeter than iced teas, so I often don’t need to add sweetener. But some teas I do add sweetener. It is a bit harder to dissolve solid sugar in a cold brew, but if you stir it for a few minutes it dissolves. You can also use a liquid syrup too.

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Booker said

Question: I may have just missed this, but do you use any sort of infuser ball or cup (I have a mesh cup sort of thing that sits on top of my mug—I scoop the correct amount of tea into it and then pour the hot water over it and let the cup sit there for the appropriate amount of time while the tea steeps.) when cold-brewing or do you just scoop the appropriate amount of tea loose into the container and pour the cold water over it? If you do it this way, is there a good way to keep the tea from being poured into your cup when you’re ready to drink? Thanks!

Lala said

There are several ways to do it. I use a pitcher designed to make iced tea. It has a built in, removable mesh strainer in the lid. You can also use your mesh strainer in just a regular cup. Or you can even just put the tea leaves into the water container and then strain it into a cup after its ready. It doesn’t matter whether you put the tea or water in first because it is going to sit there for at least a few hours. Some teas, like rooibos, float, so you might need to stir it a bit.

Booker said

Thanks so much, Lala!

Uniquity said

I use T-Sacs just so I don’t have to try to filter the leaves back out. Works well enough. Cheesecloth would also work, I imagine.

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JustJames said

i cannot recommend baking soda enough! i makes things nice and smooth. so you can use up teas you may not love and blend them with other and have it all blend well.

i would also strongly recommend simple syrup as a sweetener. again, in my experience it accentuates flavours smoothly. i combine brown and whites sugars (tastes awesome).

happy steeping!

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