As the hot weather approaches, we absolutely love cold brewing our green teas. Store bought iced tea is often full of sugar and preservatives and the flavorings act to mask the true nature of the tea. On the contrary, drinking cold Japanese green tea can actually highlight the unique and delicious characteristics of the tea. Below We take you through a few of our favorite methods. And to celebrate, we have put together a list of our favorite cold teas - check out COLD BREW COLLECTION HERE.
Cold Brewing "Mizudashi" Style
Traditionally, iced tea has been made by brewing tea leaves with hot water and then cooling the brewed tea over ice, a method which makes tea with a similar flavor profile to traditional hot tea.
When hot water reacts with the dry leaf, the high temperature naturally releases many of the tannins in tea, as well as the caffeine, catechin and many of the aromatic components. Tannins, caffeine, and catechins are responsible for the “dry” or slightly bitter taste sometimes found in hot tea. Cold brewing refered to as Mizudashi in Japanese, is unique in that the green tea is brewed with cold water, slightly more leaf volume, and a longer steep time then when brewed with hot water. Brewing tea with cold water pulls out the sweeter notes while diminishing most if not all of the tea’s astringency. The lowered astringency is due to the fact that cold water releases less tannins and caffeine in the tea but still the umami and sweetness, in turn, making it sweeter and more mild. The lengthened steep time, up to 12 hours for some teas, compensates for the naturally more mild tasting brew and makes green tea with more body and a rich flavor and aroma.
Cold brewing is not only refreshing but also gives you a chance to taste a different flavor profile of a green tea you may be used to drinking hot. We like to think of cold brewing as highlighting the “fundamental flavor” of the tea. What does that mean? It means you taste the leaf in a state closer to how it would taste in the field. Cold brewed, many green teas will reveal heightened aromas that may be masked by the stronger flavors from hot brewed tea. Often times, we are surprised by the interesting flavors we get when cold brewing teas.
Brewing tea cold is simple. We like to use a glass pitcher which holds about either one or two liters of water. First, we add about 10 grams of loose green tea per liter of water (1.1 grams of tea per 4 oz of water). This may seem like a lot, but remember, the tea will be brewed with much more water than hot tea. Next, fill the pitcher with cold, filtered water. Before putting the tea in the fridge to steep, make sure the pitcher is properly covered as not to absorb any off odors form your refrigerator. Steeping time for the tea will vary depending on the type of green tea, the style of leaf (open, rolled, etc), and your preferred taste. After a few hours of brewing, stir the pitcher with a wooden spoon. Agitating the leaves will help release the tea’s flavor and color. How do you know when the tea is done? We taste test along the way and keep an eye on the depth of color, the darker the color the stronger the brew. Once the tea is to your liking, give it a final stir. After the leaves have settled, you can pour the brewed green tea through a sieve and into your serving container. Voila! Done!
[Great for Sencha and Soba Cha]
2. Add 2 liters of fresh, cold spring water
3. Allow to brew in the refrigerator for 8 - 12 hours
4. Stir the leaves to release color and aroma, strain, serve and enjoy
[Great for Gyokuro and Kabuse]
1. Add 5g of Gyokuro green tea to a cold into a teapot (We love Shizuku Gyokuro)
2. Add 50-60ml of fresh, cold spring water
3. Allow to brew 5 minutes
4. Strain into a small, very cold glass - we sometimes add one ice cube
Brewing With Hot Water And Ice
In the case of brewing teas with less catechin and intense aroma, Houjicha is a great example, I like to use hot water to brew the tea and then pour over ice. In this case, the hot water does a great job of pulling out the intense roasted and nutty notes of the tea. Black tea is also wonderful to make in this style.
[Great for Houjicha and Black Tea]
1. Fill a 1 liter glass carafe with ice
2. Add 10g of houjicha (We love Jou Yanagi Houjicha) to a pot and pour 300ml of boiling hot water over the leaves
3. Brew the tea for 1 minute
4. Pour the tea over the ice, stir, and enjoy
Iced Matcha | Iced Matcha Latte
One of our most requested recipes is our iced matcha and iced matcha oat milk latte. We actually prefer to use cold water shaken for plain iced, and hot water whisked for lattes. Why? Because the details matter - and we found the desired texture for each was perfect that way.
1. Sift 2g of matcha powder (we recommend Hukuju) into a thermos or cocktail shaker
2. Add 200ml of cold, fresh spring water to the thermos or shaker
3. Shake vigoursly for 20 - 30 seconds
4. Pour over a 12oz cup of ice - enjoy
ICED MATCHA LATTE
1. Sift 3g of matcha powder (we recommend Hukuju) into a (spouted) tea bowl
2. Fill a 12oz cup with ice and add 150ml of oat milk
3. Add 50ml of hot water to the matcha and whisk until a fine foam appears
4. Pour over the 12oz cup of ice and milk- enjoy
Ready to get started? Check out our newly curated collection of teas that we love to serve cold!