I have been planning to experiment with cold brewed and iced tea for a while but I have been looking around for a suitable bottle to use. I happened to come across exactly what I was looking for in Whittard’s of Chelsea which is not somewhere I usually shop. Since then I have been coming up with all sorts of tea related plans for the summer. My general rule for cold brewed tea is 15 grams of tea to 750 ml of water left in the fridge for 5-6 hours to brew.
I should say that cold brewed and iced tea are not the same thing. Cold brewed tea is where the tea leaves are placed in room temperature or cold water and put in the fridge for a long time to brew. Iced tea can be cold brewed tea served on ice, tea brewed hot then cooled (or topped up with cold water) and served on ice or tea placed in cold water and left in the sun to brew before being put on ice. Preparing the tea in different ways brings out different flavours from the tea. Cold brewed tea is the most delicate of these due to the slower extraction of flavour. So far these are my favourite three teas I have cold brewed…
Moomin Sweetheart Tea
Moomin Sweetheart tea is a delicate black tea with added wild strawberry pieces. It’s a tea that I’ve had in the cupboard for a while since a trip to Finland a year or so back. It’s not one of my favourite teas to drink warm and is usually left forgotten at the back of the cupboard. I thought it would work well cold due to the sweetness from the added fruit. Cold brewed tea is a great way to use up unloved teas because the flavour is more delicate than hot tea and a lot of leaves are needed. I really enjoyed this tea cold and I think I will probably use the rest of the leaves up this way. The black tea has a nice delicate flavour and the wild strawberry adds a sweetness.
I usually prefer tea without flavour added but I really enjoy the flavour of rose in food and drink. I really enjoy this tea warm because it is a nice and delicate black tea and the rose flavour is not overpowering. I can tell that tea is definitely Chinese (mostly likely a blend of teas) by the delicate nature of it. I think that delicate black teas work better than strong black teas brewed cold and, with the added rose, I thought this would work really well. I found that being brewed cold, and for such a long time, bought out the sweetness of the rose much more than when brewed warm and I really enjoyed it. Rose petals and rosebuds can be bought separately and added to tea if you already have a delicate black tea in the cupboard.
Darjeeling Topaz Oolong, Ayra Estate
I really enjoy teas from the Ayra Estate in Darjeeling with their first flush ruby black tea being one of my favourite delicate black teas. A Darjeeling oolong appealed to me and I bought this from Canton Tea Co. based on the estate it is from. It is lovely warm but when it comes to oolongs I much prefer lightly oxidised or spring oolongs and so this is another tea that has been left forgotten in the cupboard. It was the first tea I decided to brew cold and I really enjoyed it. It is an oolong with notes of sweetness and spice and so I knew it would work well cold.
I have a few more experiments planned when it comes to drinking tea cold. I’m going to take a tea and try it both brewed cold and brewed warm and then cooled down. I want to compare them and explore the different flavours that are extracted. Cold brewed tea will be the more delicate of the two but I want to see the difference before I prepare my more delicate and expensive teas cold. I’m planning to try some Japanese greens, spring oolongs, Chinese whites and shou and sheng puerhs but I want to ensure that I have perfected the best method first.
I would highly recommend making your own cold brewed or iced tea. It’s better than buying it ready done in a bottle or can because it won’t have any added flavours, colours or additives and it won’t take on the flavour of the can or bottle it comes in.