Cold brewed tea is a thing, and not just for hipsters. The premise of cold brewing is simple: you brew your tea using cold water instead of hot. This means you can make it any time, anywhere, using any type of tea that your little heart desires.
The cold brew method is different than making iced tea, which is made by brewing tea in hot water and pouring it over ice.
I've been making cold brewed teas every summer for several years, and will never go back to the brew-hot-and-chill method. Here are 6 reasons why:
1. The cold brew process is idiot-proof. You use the same measurements of tea as you would with traditionally brewed hot teas (typically a teaspoon per 6 – 8 ounce cup of water) so you don’t need to do any weighing or purchase any special measurement devices. You can place the tea straight into a glass jar or bottle, or use your favorite strainer or infuser. (You can find whatever you're looking for right here) Fill the container with lukewarm or cool water, and let it infuse (the technical term for "let it sit") for at least an hour on the countertop or several hours in the fridge. Lots of folks cold brew their tea overnight in the refrigerator and have a thermos full of good-to-go refreshing tea for the following day.
2. You don’t need fancy equipment. A mason jar and a strainer are really all you need to make perfect tea. (Technically, you don't even need a strainer, if you don't mind getting the leaves stuck in your teeth.)
3. Your teas won’t get bitter like they do if you accidentally over-brew hot tea, which can become undrinkable if you let it brew too long. Hot water extracts the bitter compounds that turn so many people off of drinking tea.
4. The high concentration of antioxidants contained in teas are actually more stable when extracted in cold water. This means you get more of the stuff that helps fight disease and signs of aging.
5. The vitamin C content of many teas is also more stable in cold brews. Vitamin C can be destroyed at high temperatures, but is retained when brewed in cool water. In the summertime, you really need to load up on vitamin C to protect your skin from sun damage. You might not care when you're 20, but you will totally kick yourself at 50 if you don't, so load up on the C.
6. The flavors in cold brew teas are more nuanced, complex, and full than with hot teas. The flavors slowly release into cool or cold water, giving you a fuller spectrum of both flavor and aroma. Cold brew enthusiasts use these words to describe the experience: "Mmmm", "yum", "fresh", and "ooooh".
Stay hydrated, and let us know your faves in the comments below!