Brew Your Tea Cold August 18 2014

posted by Nick Schäferhoff

How and why to brew your tea cold

I like to try out things which are a bit (or a little more) off the beaten path. If there is some slightly crazy way to prepare food, I'm automatically game.  So you  can imagine my euphoria when I stumbled upon the concept of cold-brewed tea.

In case you haven't heard of it yet, it turns out that the customary way of preparing tea which we have all been using for years (you know, pouring hot water onto tea leaves) isn't the only way to do it.  Instead of bringing water to a boil, it is entirely possible to use cold water and even prepare tea in the fridge. It just takes a little longer.  This kind of news goes right to the heart of the food nerd.

Why should I brew my tea with cold water?

There are good reasons to try it out. Cold water draws different flavors and chemical compounds from the leaves than its hot counterpart. This makes for a smoother, less bitter drink.

Cold infusion gives you the opportunity to appreciate your favorite teas in a different way and open up unknown flavor dimensions.  Teas brewed in this way tend to contain less caffeine and less acid while still packing a healthy punch of antioxidants.  The method is very simple, in fact it can be done during the night while you are sleeping.  Plus, can you imagine a better way to make ice tea? Why brew hot tea and cool it down when you can start with cold tea to begin with?


Ok, convinced. But how do I make cold-brewed tea?


I'm glad you asked. It's incredibly easy:

  • Clean a pitcher or jar
  • Add tea to the vessel (about 1.5 times your normal amount)
  • Add cold water and cover
  • Let it sit in the fridge for 4-12 hours
  • Strain and drink

Since cold infusion is a relatively slow and gentle process, proportions and times aren’t set in stone and open for experimentation. Take a sip from the brew every now and then as the flavor will keep developing. Less time is needed for white teas, green teas and flat oolongs, more for rolled oolongs. Pu-erhs and black teas take the longest.

If you want to be on the safe side for bacteria, consider giving the tea leaves a quick rinse with boiling water. This is especially suitable for pu-ehr teas which might collect dust over time.


Enjoy your cold-brewed tea!