Can’t take the heat? Try cold brewing tea.

With the dog days of summer and some serious heat waves upon us, daily hydration becomes vitally important. At The Tea Spot, we’re big fans of loose leaf tea (of course!) but even for people who just want to add some flavor to their water without adding caloric or artificial sweeteners, cold brewed tea turns out to be a great option. Not only do tea leaves infuse plenty of flavor and antioxidants into your water – they give you a metabolic boost as well.

When you brew tea, you’re just putting water into contact with dried tea leaves. This infuses the water with active substances – like caffeine and polyphenol antioxidants, fresh flavor and color – all specific to the type of tea you’re brewing.

Cold brewing loose tea is easier than hot brewing it, because when the tea leaves infuse more slowly into cool water, you don’t run the risk of oversteeping, or having your tea beverage turn bitter from having left the leaves in for too long. This is because the slower process of cold brewing results in a simpler and purer extraction than hot brewing. When you bring your dried tea leaves in contact with hot or boiling water, they’re extracted much faster and more completely, but this process also transforms some of the active ingredients as it extracts them.

The bottom line is – fresh cold brewed teas are a refreshing alternative to bottled and sweetened iced tea – so how do you cold brew?

Cold Brew Tea Bottle

Because cold brewing is a more forgiving process, proportions and steeping times aren’t as critical as when you’re hot brewing – It’s simple and produces a well-balanced iced tea without bitterness or clouding. The same cold brewing method works well for many loose leaf teas, including green teas, white teas, oolong teas and some herbals. As you can see, in my fridge I’m keeping plenty of hearty chilled teas on hand to help keep my appetite and thirst quenched in these hot afternoons. Left-to-right are three organic iced teas: a green tea (Clouds & Mist), Pu-erh tea mixed with rosebuds, and Dark Roast Oolong. And yes, I make it easy by using my favorite new Steepware® tea infuser, the Steep & Go, in a different color on every bottle.

You may notice that the flavors are a bit different than the hot brew version – but every bit as likable. One of the best things about loose leaf tea is that variety is just as pleasing as consistency, and the journey you take with a tea leaf through multiple infusions is multi-faceted. Cold brewing is yet another dimension in which to discover the beauty of loose leaf tea.

How to make cold-brewed tea

1. Place about 2 teaspoons of loose leaf tea in a liter bottle of water.
2. Place in the refrigerator and steep for at least 2 hours, or for 10-30 minutes at room temperature.
3. Drink it cold, straight from the fridge without any ice to dilute the flavor (my preference) or serve over ice.

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