You’ve heard of cold brewed coffee, but have you ever tasted cold brewed Sencha? If so, you probably noticed that the taste was significantly different from normal hot brewed green tea. But why is this? And how do you make cold brewed tea yourself?
Cold brewed tea is tea that has been brewed entirely from start to finish with cold water, unlike iced tea which is normally hot brewed first and then has ice added. Cold brewed teas taste different for two main reasons. The first reason is that the different compounds in tea come out at different rates from the leaves depending on the steeping temperature. For instance, cold brewed teas typically have less caffeine released into the water, reducing bitterness.
The other thing that cold brewing does to the tea is that it reduces the heat related oxidation that green teas go through. Green teas have a lot of delicate compounds that can oxidize quickly creating bitter and astringent compounds when exposed to oxygen and heat. This is why green tea leaves that has been left out turn brown and taste bitter when brewed, or why many green tea brews turn yellow when you leave them out for too long after brewing or use too hot of water.
(Note that this doesn’t apply exactly the same to pan-fried green teas such as Chinese greens or Japanese Kamairicha. They often will look more yellow than steamed greens and can still be quite delicious like that.)
It’s very easy to cold brew tea at home! As many of you may have noticed from seeing us around at tea festivals or following us online, we often love to use our Hario bottles to cold brew our teas, but you can easily use a Japanese Tokoname Kyusu teapot as well. Since there’s a filter in the cap, it’s quite simple to just put our tea in the bottle, add cold water and ice, and let steep for a few minutes up to or even beyond a few hours. You can even leave them in the fridge overnight to enjoy during the day. That just depends on your personal preference.
Here’s our cold brewing directions to make cold brewed Sencha with a little Matcha in a Hario bottle:
One of our customers recently told us that they love cold brewing our Sakura Sencha with a little matcha too! Inspired, we’ve also been greatly enjoying that over the last few days since the end of the Portland Tea Festival. Let us know what teas you try out too!