Thursday, November 4, 2010

Brew or not to brew….cold!

Ahh, so you want iced tea (yes even in the fall), but to go through all the hassle of heating water, steeping, icing and THEN drinking. Well, there is another method and that’s cold brew or cold infusion! It is one of the easiest way to brew iced tea.

The cold brewing method has two surprising and very pleasant benefits. Cold water draws out or pulls the flavor from the leaf as opposed to hot water, used in traditional brewing, which pushes the flavor from the leaf. Subsequently, cold infusion is a much slower, gentle method that results in a smooth, more subtle, naturally sweet tasting tea.

Iced tea that sits in your refrigerator will normally become cloudy. Cold brewed iced tea will not, and will remain transparent and more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Iced tea made this way will also have less tannins, which means less astringency. Tthe astringency of the tea leaves will not be released into the water creating an infusion that may not be quite as richly flavored as a hot water brewed tea, but a much less bitter brew. This type of brewing is terrific for oolong teas, Pu’erh tea, and black teas

To prepare a cold infusion you will need;
1. A glass jar or container with a top
2. 4 – 6 tablespoons of premium loose-leaf tea
3. 8 cups of cold water

Poured water over the tea leaves and place the container in the refrigerator for 8-10 hours, perferably overnight. When the tea is ready, remove the leaves and enjoy.

One word of caution, brewed tea has a shelf life! So,

Tea stored in the refrigerator should be kept no longer than 3 days

Tea stored at room temperature should be kept no longer than 2 days.

What added tea flavor? Try making ice cubes out of the tea and serving them with the iced tea to keep the flavor from diluting as the ice melts.

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