The start of summer brings more ways to enjoy tea—cooled, chilled and iced. Cold teas—especially herbal teas—are a great choice for hydration in hot days. You can brew and blend exactly the refreshing, satisfying flavours you want, without the sugar, caffeine or expense of sports or soft drinks.
Good teas are complex blends of compounds, and provide a different experience when brewed or served hot or cold. The same tea can have a dramatically different aroma and balance of flavour elements at different temperatures.. There are many nice surprises to be found with some experimentation. You might find that there are teas you prefer at a specific temperature, or discover that you can enjoy one of your favourites in more ways than you thought.
The temperature of the water you use for brewing has a huge effect on the flavour in your cup—or glass, or bottle. Hotter water will extract more of most compounds faster, and some compounds might not be extracted at all with cold water. This opens up a lot of options, particularly for balancing flavour elements. Black and green teas in particular can be cold brewed slowly with more control over their strength and bitterness.
You’ll probably drink, rather than sip, cold tea, which means you’ll probably prefer a different balance of flavour and strength. Cold-brewing can result in lighter flavours, which can ultimately be more thirst-quenching and easier to enjoy by the glass.
The combination of brewing method and serving temperature gives you many options:
- Cooled hot tea
- Cold-brewed tea
- Cooled vs. chilled vs. with ice
Once you find a cold tea (or a few) that you prefer, you can easily cold brew it in a concentrate, so that it’s always available for rapid hydration.
Here’s a recipe works very well for fruit and green tea concentrate:
4 cups of fresh cold water
6 to 8 Tsps of Fruit Tea
1 quart container (glass is best)
Muslin Square or bag
Place the tea in the muslin. You can either tie the corners of the muslin together, or wrap the muslin and tie it closed, as long as the tea can’t escape during brewing
Place your muslin bag in the container with the water, and place the container in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning remove the musling bag and place tea in an airtight container.
Store your concentrate in the refrigerator. Use it within 4 days!
To make cold tea drinks, mix one part concentrate to about three parts water, to taste
Tea concentrates are also wonderful blended with fruit juices, other teas, and in cocktails and mocktails.