It is not essential to heat water to enjoy a good tea. There is a preparation method that allows tea to be infused cold and achieve really interesting results. We explain how to do it.
The tradition of cold infusion comes from Japan, where it has been carried out for hundreds of years. It is a different experience, longer, but extremely satisfying. The result is wonderful and highly recommended when you are looking for an infusion that retains all its benefits, aromas and flavors.
How to cold brew tea
Brewing tea without hot water is a process that requires patience as it can take anywhere from several hours to an overnight steep or even longer! For best results, follow our advice.
The method is the following.
- Use amounts of tea around 4 bags / 4 tablespoons of tea per liter. You can adjust the amount based on the variety of tea you use and your preferences for flavor intensity.
- Place the room temperature water in a large, open container. A glass jar or jar is ideal. Since cold infusing tea is a slow process, we usually do not talk about cups, prepare a liter of water.
- Put the tea in the water and leave the container in the kitchen. Leave it uncovered to air out.
- Take it easy. The maceration should last a minimum of 3 hours (for some green teas), although the vast majority of tea types will require more like 8. We recommend that you prepare the tea the night before and taste it when you wake up. The more hours it rests, the greater the intensity of the infusion.
Tricks to get a good cold infusion
Choose a quality tea
The raw material in this case is even more important than when you prepare tea with the traditional method. To obtain a truly aromatic and flavorful infusion, you must use a quality tea, whose compounds can be extracted without the need for high temperatures. Of course, you can use both tea leaves and tea bags, depending on your convenience.
As for the varieties, all teas can be cold infused, but you must take into consideration that this kind of preparation will vary its flavor, color, and aroma. Thus, if you usually drink green or black tea and decide to prepare it cold, you will notice that they are softer and have less astringency. If, on the other hand, you prepare a white tea in this way, you will be able to better appreciate its floral or fruity touches.
Pay attention to the water
It may seem that water is not important but it is, and a lot of it. After all, an infusion is basically water with extracts of the infused leaves. We advise you to use the best water you have at your disposal.
As you can imagine, you can also carry out this process with tap water, but keep in mind that it will undoubtedly affect the final taste of your cold infusion.
Adapt to each tea
Cold brewing requires patience and meticulousness. The amount of hours that you will have to infuse your tea will depend on the class that you have chosen.
While green teas can be cold brewed for 2-8 hours, others like black or white tea will taste better when steeped for at least 8 hours. Oolong tea, Pu-erh and herbal “teas” require a longer cold infusion time, around 10 hours and even more (up to 14).
Choose the right container
The infusion container also plays an important role. Ideally, it should be an open container, allowing the infusion to breathe. Avoid any material that, like plastic, can imprint some kind of flavor on the infusion. The most recommended is a large pot or a glass jar.
In the fridge or outdoors?
In particular, we recommend you infuse cold without using the fridge. In this way, you will prevent your infusion from absorbing aromas from the fridge that could affect the final experience.
Flavor and properties of the cold infusion
The temperature of the water plays an important role in the way the compounds in the tea leaves are extracted. This has important effects on how flavors and some substances develop.
Cold-brewed tea has a much more subtle and smooth flavor, even if you use strong teas like black ones or if you let it steep for several hours. The components responsible for bitter flavors and astringency are extracted to a lesser extent with low temperature.
It is very likely that you will discover new perspectives of your favorite tea if you taste it after using this method of infusion. The heat changes the composition of the tea, minimizing certain hints of flavor that are noticeable in cold infusions. In this way, you will enjoy soft teas, light in the mouth, with more fruity and floral aromas and flavors than when hot.
Another factor that temperature influences is the extraction of alkaloids from the tea leaf. The most famous of them is caffeine.
Cold-infused teas have a lower concentration of caffeine. If you are sensitive to it, it can be a good way to restrict it.
On the other hand, as we have already pointed out, the cold infusion would contain a greater amount of antioxidants, thus being beneficial to prevent diseases such as cancer.
Advantages of cold brewing
Cold brewing takes time. You’re clearly not going to use this method to make your breakfast cup of tea. However, it has some interesting advantages.
- You will discover new flavors. By using hot water, you cook the tea leaves (or the tea bag), thereby changing its structure and flavor. Instead, by using cold water, you will obtain a subtle and light tea, perfect to drink at any time of the day.
- The result will be good. While using water that is too hot to brew tea can make it too bitter due to excessive tannins, cold brewing will do just fine. There is no room to mess it up.
- It is rich in antioxidants. After several hours of infusion, a greater quantity of antioxidants is released than using the hot technique. Remember that antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals, helping to prevent premature aging and the onset of chronic diseases.
- A less caffeinated tea. Cold infusion releases less caffeine, being ideal to reduce the consumption of this substance which, consumed in large doses, could increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- It is tremendously simple. By following the tips and steps outlined above, you should have no problem getting a delicious tasting brew.
- You don’t waste energy. Since you don’t need to boil water.
Cold infusion has many advantages for your health, your pocket, the environment and your palate. Don’t wait any longer and try this alternative to enjoy tea.