Next to coffee, tea is one of the most popular hot beverages in Germany. In the warm months, the dried herbs or fruits are also often enjoyed cold, but do they really have to be brewed? The answer is: yes.
Normally, tea is brewed with hot water so that the full aroma can unfold. If you then let it cool down, we perceive the taste more clearly than the smell of the drink. This gives many varieties a bitter note, as we can taste the so-called tannins more than the aroma. For this reason, finished iced tea mixtures are also heavily sweetened to balance out the bitter or tart aftertaste. If, on the other hand, the tea is infused with cold water, fewer tannins are released – this makes it taste much softer, as we perceive the aroma better. However, not every variety is suitable for the “cold brew” method. Why this is so and which types of tea can be enjoyed cold without any problems is explained as follows.
This is why not every tea is suitable for cold brewing
There is a good reason why herbal, rooibos or fruit teas in particular are first poured over with bubbling hot water and have to steep for a while before they are drinkable: the tea types are only dried after harvesting – and no greater heat is applied during further processing either exposed so that bacteria and germs or mold can stick to it. If the tea is then only infused with cold water, it can pose a health risk, especially for small children and sick people. If, on the other hand, the tea is brewed, the hot water in combination with the brewing time kills possible pathogens.
Cold tea: These varieties are suitable as a cooling drink
While herbal, rooibos or fruit teas should always be brewed (regardless of whether you want to drink them warm or cold), the following varieties are also suitable for cold brewing: green tea, black tea, oolong tea or white tea. The leaves are already heated during further processing, which means that they are largely germ-free. With the so-called “cold brew” method, the contents are simply poured over with cold tap water or mineral water – and must steep for several hours. This allows the tea to develop its full flavor without losing its intense aroma. The bitter substances it contains can only slowly dissolve due to the cold temperature.
Cold Brew: This is how you can brew tea cold
In contrast to homemade iced tea, which has to be brewed first and then chilled, cold brew tea is dissolved in cold water – and has to sit for several hours so that the ingredients can slowly and gently spread. As a result, the result tastes much milder, which is due to the amino acids, which dissolve better in the cold and give the tea more sweetness. When preparing it, it is important that the tea leaves have to steep the longer the colder the water is: Take two teaspoons of your favorite variety and dissolve them in one liter of water. Place the drink in the fridge for at least two hours (or overnight) and then use a strainer to filter out the tea residue.
Ready-made tea blends shorten the brewing time
In addition to the tried-and-tested classics, there are now also tea blends that have been specially developed for cold brewing: well-known manufacturers such as Milford also offer other flavors for cold brewing, such as elderflower-lime, raspberry-cherry, melon or orange- Peach. And Teekanne has also expanded its range to include cold “frio” tea: in addition to lime-mint and peach-passion fruit, there are currently raspberry-lemon and strawberry-orange. Even a separate “Sport Edition” has made it into the range. The special thing about these varieties is that you don’t have to brew for several hours (as with the cold brew method), but are ready to drink after just five to eight minutes of brewing. This is made possible by processing the tea leaves differently.
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