Three months ago, I discovered the joy of cold brew coffee. My love affair is serious: I bought my own cold brew coffee maker and bean grinder, and I haven’t had hot coffee since. Funny thing is, it wasn’t until last week that I considered cold brewing tea. Me, the one who guzzles tea like I’m addicted during fall and winter! Need evidence? I have a whole shelf dedicated to loose tea, stacked flush to the top.
Hey, tea brain: why didn’t you think of this at the start of summer?
Besides drinking a couple of hot cups when my allergies were bad, I’ve barely touched my tea since the heat hit. After all, hot brewing tea and sticking it in the refrigerator just isn’t that good. It gives a harsher, more bitter flavor that at times overpowers the usual flavor. I’m not saying I never drink tea this way. It’s fine in a pinch, but once you’ve drunk it properly steeped all winter, you still want the good stuff. And that’s a nice, cold brewed loose leaf. But you have to do it right.
What You Need
The only three things used to cold brew tea are
- a good infuser, tea bags, or a strainer,
- and fridge space.
Don’t just buy the first infuser you find. For one, they often have large holes that loose leaf tea will just float right out of. I would recommend finding a pitcher with a mesh infuser. This will allow you to brew even the smallest size of tea, such as Twinings English breakfast tea, which has an almost coffee-like consistency. Plus, it will save you the hassle of straining the floaters out. I bought the same pot I use for coffee.
The Primula Burke pot is cheap, but the construction is solid. It’s lightweight, and the mesh filter is like those of a regular coffee pot, so there’s no fear of runaway tea leaves. The filter pops in and out of the lid with ease, which makes it quick and easy to remove the tea when it’s done steeping.
For my first time, I chose my favorite tea: Teavana Joy. I used a tablespoon per cup then ran cold water over the tea to fill up the container. Next step? Sit it in the refrigerator and let it steep for a few hours. It’s easier than making proper hot tea, and it’s just as delicious!
Benefits of Cold Brew
- There is less caffeine in cold brewed tea.
- Studies have shown that cold infusions of tea have higher levels of antioxidants than their hot counterparts.
- Black tea has the least amount of antioxidant activity, but even it drastically increases when steeped cold. In fact, cold brew black tea may even be better than hot brewed white!
- You get better flavor. Why? According to Fresh Cup Magazine, “when we drink the cold brew, the solution’s chemical makeup is weighted toward the sweet carbohydrates and the umami amino acids, which in their variety and mix create a tea’s distinct flavors. The astringent polyphenols and bitter caffeine can’t take over the show.”
- There’s no need for ice that will water down your drink; your tea is already in the refrigerator!
- The benefits of cold brew are the same whether you use cold water or room-temperature water, so try both.
- Drop the fear of oversteeping: Because cold tea steeps much more slowly, it’s unlikely that you will oversteep your tea.
- In my experience, the best steeping time is between 8 and 12 hours. Experiment until you find your favorite time for different flavors.
- If you don’t want to buy an infuser specifically for cold brewing tea, invest in disposable tea bags, a few in-cup infusers, or simply a use your hot tea strainer to remove leaves. The way you brew is up to you!
Steps to Cold Brew Tea
Cold brewing tea is easier than hot brewing bags in a coffee pot. Follow these steps to try your first pot:
- Choose your tea flavor. Loose leaf is best, but bagged tea will do. You will need about a tablespoon of tea per cup.
- Insert your tea into your infuser, bags, or just dump it in your container. Your tea, your choice.
- Fill your container with cold or room-temperature water.
- Place your container in the refrigerator, or let it sit on the counter at room temperature.
- Steep for 8 to 12 hours.
- Remove tea infuser, bags, or leaves.
- Pour a cup, add your favorite tea pairing (syrup, milk, etc.), and enjoy!
- Twinings English Breakfast Tea
- 8 Must-Have Tea Accessories for Your Home
- 7 Ways to Celebrate Hot Tea Month with Loose Leaf
A freelance proofreader and writer with a tea obsession. Earl Grey is my jam. Green soothes my soul.