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Friday, July 19, 2013

Cool Down with Cold Tea: How Do You Brew?



As the temperature increases, folks stop by Sip Tea Lounge to cool down.  Some say that drinking hot tea will cool you.  Others like to drink only iced tea in the summer.

There are many ways to make iced tea.  Most people use one of the following methods:

1) Sun Brewing 
2) Brew hot tea first, then pour it over ice
3) Cold Brewing 

Each method has pros and cons.  

At Sip Tea Lounge, we do not brew sun tea.  While this method may be a good way to make delicious iced tea at home, it requires outdoor space and time during the day, when the sun is shining.  Additionally, placing something out in the sun, during such extremely hot weather, may promote the growth of microbes or bacteria so it is very important to be extra cautious when using this method.

Brewing tea leaves hot first is a fast and easy way to make any tea iced.  When there is no time to plan ahead, this method makes the most sense.  The process is simple:

1) Fill a teapot with an infuser with loose tea leaves
2) Pour hot water over the loose tea 
3) Steep the tea for the desired amount of time 
4) Pour the tea over ice  
5) Refrigerate 
6) Serve

When using the above method, some like to use extra tea leaves during the brewing process to make the iced tea result in a stronger brew because the tea may become watered down when poured over ice.  The problem is that the tea can become bitter.  If you have a refined palette, the bitterness is apparent in the finished product.

The third method for making delicious, smooth and refreshing iced tea is to cold brew it:

1) Use a sterilized pitcher or jar (approximately 30 ounces)
2) Place 5-8 teaspoons of tea into the pitcher (the amount depends upon the tea used)
3) Pour cold water over the leaves
4) Refrigerate the brewing tea for somewhere between three and twelve hours (the brewing time depends upon the tea used)
5) Serve

The most difficult part about cold brewing is planning ahead and waiting for the finished product.  Then again, good things come to those who wait.

It is important to note that, the best result will depend upon the particular tea and how long it is brewed.  The best brews come with experience, experimentation and continual tasting.  For example, some tea, such as certain Japanese green teas, get better and sweeter with longer cold brew steep times.  Other teas may be at their best after only four hours.  Once brewed, the tea may also change as the time passes.  

When cold brewing herbal tisanes that do not come from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis), it is best to give them a quick rinse in hot water before icing them, particularly if you are harvesting them from your own garden or if they are farm fresh.  The rinsing will help clean dust, dirt and other residue off of the herbs.  We also recommend using organic herbs wherever possible to prevent pesticide residue.  

The rules noted above for brewing iced teas are not hard and fast.  They are just suggestions.  After all, in the end, this is your cup of tea.  No tea is the same, but with anything, practice makes perfect. 
Happy brewing!

SIP TEA LOUNGE
286C New York Avenue
Huntington NY  11743
631-683-5777

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