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3 Easy Cold Brew Teas for Antioxidant Hydration

As the days are getting longer and warmer, we tend to drink fewer warm beverages throughout the day. But we’re still craving our tea, and iced tea is an overwhelming summer favorite. At The Tea Spot, we’ve been proponents of cold brewing since it first came on the scene about 8 years ago. For us, it all began with the motivation for less sugared, healthier hydration on bike rides. We wanted to get as many laboratory-produced chemicals out of our hydration, but still be able to replenish electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals. Several years and many hundreds of miles later, we’re super stoked to now have a top-quality Cold Brew Sport Bottle in our Steepware® line, as well as some easy recipe hacks for enhanced sport hydration.

 cold brew tea bottle

 
Tea is a functional food, with anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-mutagenic properties. [1] The biologically active compounds responsible for its health promoting properties are polyphenol antioxidants. These, alongside hundreds of other beneficial phytonutrients, infuse well into cold water, albeit at a slower rate than in hot water. The slower process of cold brewing results in a simpler extraction than when hot brewing. When dried tea leaves come into contact with hot or boiling water, they extract much more rapidly and more completely. This process, however, also transforms some of the active ingredients as it extracts them. This longer cold brewing process extracts more flavor and antioxidants from the tea, and produces a milder, richer, smoother taste, which is also often sweeter, with no hint of the bitterness associated with over-brewed hot infusions. [2] 

These 3 easy cold brew recipes add some natural electrolyte boosters to antioxidant-rich tea leaves, and result in delicious rehydration & muscle support drinks. When we engage in strenuous activity, our muscle cells experience oxidative stress, alongside increased inflammation. We lose water and electrolytes in the form of sweat. The electrolytes are important to replenish during longer periods of exercise to help maintain fluid balance and optimal pH levels. [3] Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electrical charge. Think of them as sparking cellular function throughout the body, as basic as helping trigger the muscle contraction process. Proper hydration, immune system response and inflammatory response are vital in the ongoing replenishment and recovery those cells need in order to keep going strong. The phytonutrients in tea offer an an array of restorative benefits which can help smooth this cellular recovery [4, 5]. When paired or infused with natural electrolytes, cold brew tea offers a natural hydration boost that’s low on caffeine and high on health benefits.

cold brew tea for electrolytes

Green Tea + Coconut Water:

Place 1 teaspoon green tea leaves into Cold Brew Infuser. Add 16 oz coconut water to the bottle. Top the bottle off with another 6 oz plain cool water (or ice) and secure the lid. Shake it up. Ready to drink in about 10 minutes. This recipe tastes downright indulgent when you make it with Boulder Blues green tea. 

Oolong Tea + Sea Salt:

Sounds weird, but it’s delightful - especially if you can snag a piece of watermelon to enjoy with it at your rehydration stop! Add about 1/2 teaspoon oolong tea (Coconut Cabana, 8 Immortals, and Iron Goddess are all excellent choices for this drink) to your Cold Brew Sport Bottle Infuser, put a small pinch (~1/8 teaspoon) of sea salt into the bottle, fill with water (and iced if desired), put on the lid, and shake. Ready to drink in about 10 minutes. Can be re-steeped (add salt each time) 2-3 more times. 

Matcha + Lemon Juice:

This is my go-to drink recipe when doing a multi-day bike ride. I just bring a squeeze bottle of organic lemon juice, and my tin of matcha. Add 1/4 tsp matcha and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice into the 20 oz sport bottle, fill with cold water (and a few ice cubes), and shake ‘em up!  You don’t even need to open the infuser, but it will help make your cold brew matcha smooth. Ready to drink right away. Lemon also boosts the bioavailability of antioxidants in your tea, win-win! 

Note: I’m notorious for making my hot teas pretty strong, especially black teas and pu’erhs. On the other hand, I don’t enjoy rehydrating during exercise with something super strong-tasting. These three recipes are just that: hydration bevies. If you want to prepare a green tea drink to serve to friends on the patio, you can surely use these combos, but go twice as strong with the tea. 

 cold brew tea bike bottle

 

REFERENCES:

[1] Bansal S, Choudhary S, Sharma M, et al. Tea: A native source of antimicrobial agents. Food Res Int. 2013;53(2):568-584. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2013.01.03

[2] Chathuranga Manhari Magammana, et al. A Comparison of the Polyphenolic and Free Radical Scavenging Activity of Cold Brew versus Hot Brew Black Tea (Camellia Sinensis, Theaceae). Journal of Food Research; Vol. 8, No. 3; 2019 ISSN 1927-0887

[3] Maughan RJ. Fluid and electrolyte loss and replacement in exercise. J Sports Sci. 1991 Summer;9 Spec No:117-42.

[4] Wang Ying, The anti-oxidation and anti-microbial activities of tea polyphenols and its increased reagents, Journal of Biology; 2007-05.

[5] Ohishi, Tomokazu, et al., Anti-inflammatory Action of Green Tea, Bentham Science Publishers: Anti-Inflammatory & Anti-Allergy Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, Volume 15, Number 2, 2016, pp. 74-90(17).

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