Your Favorite Cold Brew Tea/Method

Hey again!

I was playing around with some of the Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos I mentioned in my previous post and decided to try it cold brewed thanks to the Teajo website. I’m anxious to try it, and it got me thinking…there isn’t much talk about cold-brewing here. Does this community not really practice it? I haven’t really experimented with it, but I think it makes more sense to hot brew first just because the leaves really open up and let out a lot of natural flavors, but I digress…

Anyways, for those of you (if any) who do cold brew, what are some of your favorite teas to do it with, and what is your “perfect” leaf-to-water ratio?

39 Replies
VariaTEA said

I tend to cold brew in regular water bottles. I use the recommended amount of leaf so when 1.5 tsps are recommended per 8 oz, I toss 3 tsps into the 16 oz water bottle.

I cold brew a bunch of different teas. Rooibos is good to cold brew a lot of the time because I find the flavors come out and the woodsy rooibos flavor is more muted. I also enjoy cold brewing greens and herbals. Whites are the only teas I really avoid cold brewing as in my experience, they turn out bitter.

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Sami Kelsh said

I do it with peppermint and drink loads of it in summertime. So refreshing, and one of the few things I can get down without sweetening.

Dang, mint didn’t even occur to me as something I could try cold-steeping…thanks for the advice! haha

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I’ve been loving cold brewing lately, which is odd because it keeps snowing all around me. I usually go with 2-3 tsp in my water bottle (~16 oz) like VariaTEA and leave it in the fridge overnight. I’ve had successes with a variety of herbals. I also recently brewed a peach oolong this way that was delicious, so my next experiments will be fruity teas.

That sounds great…I know herbals/fruity tea would be excellent to cold brew because they have a wider flavor profile, but I don’t really have any on hand since I don’t particularly like them hot :/ if you come across any great herbals or fruit teas worth mentioning for cold steeping (or regular brewing…), let me know! I want to try to like fruity teas, but they usually taste too potent or artificial.

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scribbles said

I tend to cold brew flavored black, greens and herbal. I tend to over-leaf and add an extra teaspoon than what I would use for a hot brew.

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ifjuly said

coldsteeping is my sole method for making iced tea in the summer except on the rare occasion i make a pitcher of classic southern sweet tea for my husband (that’s its own kettle of fish, where you use gigunda luzianne bags and make a concentrated “tea syrup” in a pot on the stove with sugar). i’ve never gotten the standard “brew hot then dilute with ice” method to taste all that good; it seems to bring out a tannic roughness i never care for that seems impossible when coldsteeped even for like 4 days. when the weather gets hot i just do a rotation of 1:1 (so usually ~1tsp/8oz water) loose leaf of choice (i like flavored blacks and any chinese greens) in mason jars and/or my takeya pitcher and am really lazy about how long stuff sits, just drink it down whenever we get thirsty and replace. i love coldsteeped tea, especially peach and earl grey and yeah, chinese greens. yum.

i have been curious about flash chilling with a martini shaker and ice cubes, but haven’t tried it yet.

I have a good amount of Chinese greens…do you still use the 1tsp/8oz ratio for that as well?

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Hello.Kiki said

I cold brew some really fruity herbals. Black teas are something I’ve been experimenting with lately. I’ve got one in the fridge that the first go ‘round seemed on the weak side and only drank half of it (I did 2tsp for 16oz water)so I put it back in with an additional tsp of leaf. Obviously I haven’t been too scientific about this lol. I’m glad I came across this discussion though because I ordered some SBT from 52Teas and really need to get my method down if I plan on trying to cold brew any of those :/

OMGsrsly said

One SBT in 1/2 gallon water overnight is what I’ve read as being good.

Hello.Kiki said

Thank you! I bought a couple different flavors so I could experiment… mwuahahaha ;)

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We’ve experimented with cold brewing here in the Taiwan summer. Overall we’ve found the method produces some amazingly smooth tasting teas. We’ve cold brewed Shan Lin Xi, Li Shan, and Dong Ding oolongs, as well as, a pretty special black oolong that has an almost sweet caramelized flavor to it when cold brewed and some greens.
Depending on the tea, the ratios we’ve found to work best are:
Green: 2.5tsp to 500ml/16oz room temp. water with a steeping time of 3 hours.
Black: 4-5tsp to 500ml/16oz room temp. water for 4 hours
Oolong: 2.5tsp to 500ml/16oz room temp. water for 3 hours
Obviously each individual tea needs to be experimented with to obtain the best ratio. But these can be a general guide.

Thanks a ton for the guidelines! I was experimenting myself without too much success. Although the rooibos I made was exceptionally refreshing, the black was a bit watered down and the green was definitely too strong. I’ll have to give these a try

Hello.Kiki said

I found that my black teas were always too weak as well. The last time I used 4tsp for 16oz and it was perfect. I’ll have to try out some of these other suggestions- so helpful!

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I cold brew black tea, green tea, peppermint tea, and peppermint and black or green tea blends. I really should try rooibos though. For some reason I feel the red would cold brew better than the green, but we’ll see.

I didn’t enjoy my experience with the green cold steeped, but the rooibos—both plain and vanilla flavored—came out phenomenal. The plain is fine as is, but with a little sugar…oh man it really wakes it up! I usually do between 3-4tsp. for 16oz.

Oh, sorry, when I said “the red” and “the green” I was talking about different types of rooibos :P

Hahaha that completely slipped my mind. I’ve never had green rooibos before, so I can’t really include my input. All I know is the red is deliciously smooth and earthy, so I highly recommend it

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What’s the difference between hot steeping then cooling and cold steeping?

Cold steeping you just put the leaves straight in the water bottle or any other container (jar, pitcher, etc.) and let them steep anywhere from 3-24 hours depending on the type of leaves used and the strength at which you like it. It’s a little more convenient than taking the time to boil water and transfer it to a different vessel and allowing it to cool a bit before putting it in the fridge since you can just throw the leaves in and forget about it.

That being said, I don’t really know what the difference is flavor-wise…I don’t think there is much of a difference, honestly. According to an article I was reading, cold steeping brings out a lot more of the natural antioxidants in the tea. For example, we know that white tea has the most antioxidants of all the teas, with black having the least (when hot steeping). But when you cold steep them, black has about the same amount of antioxidants as white does when you hot steep the white. I was a little skeptical about this claim, but it makes sense when you think about it…hot steeping may kill/burn (whatever you want to call it) the antioxidants at such a high temperature, while the cold water brings them out slowly and at a “normal” temperature. That’s just my two cents…I can try to dig up the link/video if you’re interested

Yeah, basically the pro to hot steeping is its faster and the pro to cold steeping is it’s easier.

Ahh ok I was more curious about the flavor difference but that really cleared it up Thanks!

Sil select said

I certainly get different tastes depending on hot brew versus cold brew. There are some teas i have that i refuse to drink as hot brew teas, while others never get cold brewed.

ifjuly said

I’m with Sil. I personally find a very noticeable difference in the two methods flavor-wise, which is why I coldsteep pretty much exclusively. I can taste a lot more rough tannin when I do the conventional method while cold steeping always seems to make for a sweeter, lighter, more nuanced cup, even when I coldsteep a black tea for like, 4 days.

Sil and ifjuly I think you missed a key word when she said “hot steeping THEN COOLING.” I don’t think anyone is arguing that tea tastes different hot vs. cold. The question is if there is a taste difference when you heat it with the intent of cooling it down, or never warm the water at all.


Yeah, sorry for the confusion! I guess I never tried cold brew and hot steep, then cool and try them side by side.

Sil select said

madametj – yeah i missed seeing that as i was focused on your response that didn’t mention hot then cooling :) whooops!

ifjuly said

late to this party, missed the reply somehow: i knew that was what we’re talking about, and contend there’s definitely flavor difference between hot steeping and letting cool vs. never adding heat at all and letting time do the work. the flavor differences i mention upthread refer to comparing those two methods. i never drink cold tea that’s been iced the conventional “hot steep then cool” method anymore because i don’t like the results personally. coldsteeping was a revelation for me; i’d never much cared for “iced tea” before learning of it. it makes a sweeter, smoother brew and subtle notes come out that i can’t taste when any heat is applied first then chilled.

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I love cold-brewing tea in the summer. Not only is it nice and cold in the Alabama heat, but it is also quick to grab as I am running out the door. I usually cold brew black or green teas, and I have found that the King’s Cake Cuppa from Cuppa Crew is especially good cold brewed. I usually over leaf, using about 1 1/2 what I would normally use. I usually put 2.5 tsp in my ingenuiTEA, fill it with cold water, and leave it in the fridge over night. When I go to leave I just place the ingenuiTEA on my water bottle and head out the door! It is tasty and convenient! I also feel like the cold brew method produces a different flavor profile. It seems a lot smoother and sweeter to me, and it is not going to get bitter. Cold brewing tea is awesome!

twingles3 said

That is such a good idea using your ingenuiTEA! Never thought of doing that! I usually just use mason jars which works great but this would be quicker in the mornings

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