Your Favorite Cold Brew Tea/Method
Now let me ask you all this for those who are still following this thread:
How many of you let it “cold steep” at room temperature and then serve over ice, and how many of you actually cold steep in the fridge? I always use the fridge, but I’m wondering if allowing it to sit at room temperature would change it any
I cold steep in the fridge. Steeping at room temperature would take longer, wouldn’t extract as much flavor, and letting it sit out that long would make me worry about bacteria.
fridge, definitely. like sun tea, letting the tea sit at room temp for more than 2 hours puts it in the whole bacterial “danger zone” territory.
Don’t really cold-brew often, but if I’m making iced tea (which I almost never am), I almost always cold-brew. I think the trick is to pick something that’s good enough you’re not worried about not doing a rinse in boiling water, but something that’s not so good it’ll be wasted by cold-brewing. Cold-brewing minimizes astringency and bitterness, so you can get a pretty good tasting brew out of tea that’s average-to-pretty-good, but personally, I think it’s a waste to use super expensive tea for, most of the time.
I like some greener high-mountain oolongs brewed this way, since it brings out some of the fruitier flavors, highly oxidized oolongs like Oriental Beauty are nice, as are red (black) teas.
I don’t use a lot of leaf, but I usually eyeball it, then just leave it in the pitcher overnight. I’ve got one of those cylindrical Hario pitchers with a builtin strainer.
I like cold brew coffee occasionally too.
I completely agree. I have a lot of tea on hand that I really don’t care for (cheap samplers received when buying a teapot, random blends my mom/friends picked up for me on trips, etc.) that really don’t make the best cup when brewed hot. I figure instead of letting it go to waste since I know I won’t waste time brewing something I know I won’t like, I’ll just cold steep them and HOPEFULLY get a better cup. It helps because you can use more leaves to cold steep, so it’s really helping plow through my stash haha
I tend to use teas that aren’t quite right for me hot for cold-brewing. It’s a good way to use up things that I don’t love hot. If I don’t like the tea either way, it goes to the swap pile.
Generally I’ve found that oolongs do best cold-brewed. I’ve tried others but nothing quite brews up the right strength without a huge overuse of leaf. I’ve even managed to resteep cold-steeped leaves with pretty good results! Rolled oolongs in particular spread out so much that you can get a good result with less leaf.
Blacks have been the most disappointing for me cold-brewed. For some reason they just end up tasting thin unless I overleaf by a large amount (e.g. double or more than I would use for hot).
I cold brew in quart-sized mason jars. I let them steep in the fridge for four days. If using cheap tea bags, I cut open the bags and pour the contents into the jar, just as if it were loose leaf. I’ve had really good luck with the World Market Moroccan mint and Dian Hong teas, Bigelow Chinese oolong, and one of the Twining’s breakfast teas (I think it was English, to use it up). I didn’t care for Republic of Tea’s Blackberry Sage cold-brewed, though I love it hot. Republic’s ginger peach was okay, though.
When it’s done, I just strain it through a coffee filter and pour it back into the mason jar for storage as I work on drinking it.