Pu-erh cold brewing
So in another discussion thread on cold brewing I had asked if anyone had ever cold brewed a straight pu-erh tea. But no one had tried it (of those that responded). So I decided to do another mad tea experient, because I am a mad tea scientist :P (…only in my dreams!)
I used a Canton Tea Feng Qing mini brick.
The dry brick smells like dark chocolate, cocoa, burnt caramel.
So far it has been brewing for 9 hours. The brick has expanded to about twice its size but it has not started to break apart at all. The tea is a very light caramel brown colour. The water tastes just like water. No tea taste yet.
I’ve cold brewed loose puerh, and I really like it. It’s a good way to use leaves you’ve steeped once, as well. Very earthy and surprisingly refreshing.
With leaves I’ve steeped once, I’ll just leave it in there for days and refill as I drink it. I start drinking at 4 hours. The optimal brew time will vary for every tea, so I suggest checking it every 4-8 hours and making a note on your package. :)
I had great results cold brewing ripe pu’er as the last infusion. I’d steep it gongfu style with my gaiwan for at least 6-8 quick or so infusions. After that, there’s probably at least 4+ infusions normally, but I’d put the leaves in to cold steep – it was really good an hour later and I finished it at the 2 hour mark.
The tea is was really refreshing and earthy – though also depends on the pu’er as I got some other nice notes that were in the hot pu’er version.
I’d love to try it with a raw/sheng pu’er, but I need to acquire more that I’m willing to test it on.
Update on my experiment: At 12 hours, the tea liquor was getting darker. There was a very light earthy, burnt caramel taste to the liquor. There were a few tiny pieces of tea that had broken off of the brick but the brick was still largely intact.
At 24 hours the tea was slightly stronger but not good enough to drink the whole container. The brick is still intact but still swelling.
I will keep updating. It appears so far, the best way to do this would be to use loose leaf or use pre-steeped leaves as the brick does not seem to be cold brewing very well.
Update: at 21 hours. It is starting to “thicken up”. The liquor is getting darker. There is a definite earthy, dirt, cocoa, dark chocolate, and burnt caramel taste to the liquor. Not quite strong yet enough though. The brick is still intact but more smaller pieces starting the flake off.
Going into this I knew that I was not a pu-erh fan – flavoured or not. I thought I would give cold brew a try because sometimes that can change the taste profile of the tea. But I am still not liking it. I am going to keep brewing until it gets strong enough – for scientific purposes :P
But I can see how someone who likes pu-erh would like it cold brewed (just like how I like everything else cold brewed).
Thanks for bringing up your experiment, Lala. It helps me think about brewing in a new way. I think I’ll try this on some previously brewed sheng pu-erh as OMGsrsly has done, and then maybe try it directly cold brewed as well. Good idea!
Update: at 30 hours. This is probably where I would stop with cold brewing the brick. The liquor is at a strength that is on the verge of beginning to be too strong. As a side note, the brick never did break up, I even shook the container a bit this morning. I did leave it in the fridge to see how long it takes to get the brick to break apart.