Once upon a time, there was a girl (me) who could not comprehend how it was possible for ANYONE to drink HOT beverages like coffee or tea when it’s HOT outside. Face it, I still don’t comprehend the coffee drinking, but as a tea lover, I’m completely biased. Examining my own tea drinking habits, as the weather has bypassed warm and gone straight to sizzling. Yes, I often start my days with a hot (steep) tea.
“Give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head.” – Charles Dickens
To me, it’s not particularly a big deal since I’m indoors in an air conditioned environment. But when you’ve been on the go all day, there’s nothing like a cool drink to refresh you. In this first installment of the Summer Tea Series, I’d like to talk about cold brewing.
Cold brewing means you use cold water to prepare (steep) your tea. In these hotter months of the year, I routinely have at least 2 or 3 teas brewing in the refrigerator at once. For my friends who are hesitant about times and temperatures with hot water, cold brewing is easy and fool proof. It’s an easy way to have some refreshing cold tea. You can experiment with the times, as I have, but here’s a good starting point. Cold brew in the refrigerator for at least 6 to 12 hours.
What you need:
- Cup or teapot
- Cold water
After my initial steep (hot), I immediately use the leaves and start my cold brew. I use a double walled glass mug, as pictured below, because I love seeing the leaves suspended in water. Squeeze a little agave nectar on the leaves, pour in cold water, cover and refrigerate for about 24 to 48 hours. Yes, I cold brew longer since the leaves have been steeped before. Afterwards, remove from fridge, strain and enjoy.
The Tea: Essentially Summer – Black Tea from Field to Cup
The Flavor: Summertime in a cup. Yes, I do believe that’s possible with this tea. Mango and peach notes dance on my palate, and I’m pleasantly surprised by that the orange blossoms and other blossoms play nicely in this blend. Think of a bright, colorful, fresh fruit salad, with mangoes, peaches, mixed with a few of those little mandarian oranges. This tea taste like a bright sunny summer day.
Steeprises (surprises): You can get more flavor nuances from a tea by having it hot and cold, then comparing them to see which you like better. Essentially Summer, the black tea I used here, was easily a favorite hot but I learned more about it after two cold brews. One cold brew was with unused tea leaves–steeping the leaves in cold water only, once. With a cold steep only, the flavors seemed muted, very subtle.
Reusing the leaves for a cold brew after the initial hot steep is what I prefer with this tea. It seems the hot steep pulled more of the tropical flavors out and I could identify them as I sipped this delicious summer tea.
Why I prefer cold brewing: (1) It’s easy! (2) I don’t like pouring hot tea over ice. (3) I don’t like watered down tea. An easy solution is to use more tea to make the brew double strength, but that equates to another serving of tea.
With simplicity and patience, you can enjoy a cold and refreshing cup of tea with little fuss or incident.
Do you enjoy cold brewing your tea? What flavors of tea do you enjoy during the warmer days of the year?