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cold brew tea

Cold Brew Tea

While traditional Chinese tea is consumed hot, regardless of how high the outside temperatures may be, in places like Hong Kong, Taiwan, and rapidly developing cities in China, convenience store refrigerators are stocked with bottles of refreshing, cold-brewed tea. What's even more surprising is that these are often natural products, free of sweeteners and harmful ingredients. After all, if the tea leaves are of high quality and authentic, there's no need to obscure the natural taste of cold brew with additives that harm the depth of the tea's natural flavors and are detrimental to health.

The cold brew trend has made headlines in Israel in recent years, particularly in the coffee scene, thanks to the popular coffee carts distributed nationally. Cold-brewing tea leaves allows the active ingredients in the leaves to be released gradually, preserving the unique health properties of each tea type. This summer 2023, we have curated for you a complete, carefully measured collection of teas from our current inventory that are most suitable for cold brewing. These teas will yield a flavorful, astoundingly healthy, and energizing drink within 24 hours of brewing in the refrigerator. This beverage will accompany and refresh you, helping maintain balance and vitality throughout the day.

cold brew ware
הוראות הכנה

How to Make Cold Brew Tea at Home

The following preparation instructions will turn anyone into a Cold Brew Master overnight 🥤

1. Infuse one portion of leaves (5-8g depending on the tea) and fill up a large 1.2L pot (1200 ml). Use half a portion for a smaller pot.

2. Use room temperature filtered water for optimal results, and leave the leaves to infuse in the pot for an hour to two before cooling (3 hours if you used cold water).

3. Place the pot in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours, according to your taste. Longer steeping will result in a more concentrated cold brew.

4. Strain the leaves into a serving pot, bottle or directly into a cup, and enjoy your cold brew tea!

5. The fresh cold brewed tea can be drunk directly from the refrigerator for another 3 days after straining.

How to make ice tea
תה קר

Which Chinese Teas Are Suitable for Cold Brew?

In theory, you can cold brew any type of Camellia Sinensis tea leaves, either through cold brewing or by cooling the tea after it's been steeped hot. However, the result can often be disappointing and inconsistent, or as many call it, "flavored water." So aside from the ancient method of "trial and error", there is a simple principle that helps us determine which tea leaves are more or less suitable for becoming a rich and flavorful cold brew.

The main difference between hot and cold tea, besides the temperature itself, is the steam rising from the hot tea, dispersing into the air and carrying aromas that humans translate into flavors, due to the connection between the two senses: taste and smell. This means that if we block our nose while drinking hot tea, we can taste the tea's "real" flavor, as close as possible to its version without the steam when it becomes cold.

How to make cold brew tea
Ice Wulong Tea from Taiwan
Ingredients: tea, water, Vitamin C

From our experience, dark tea leaves that have undergone a "flavor enhancement" process (nóng xiāng 浓香) through baking are more suitable for cold brewing because they rely more on extracting the flavors in the leaves, and less on aroma. This doesn't mean that lighter teas and other non-dark types won't produce satisfying results or be to your liking, quite the contrary.

It's important to remember that not all dark tea leaves undergo the same process. For example, many red (black) tea leaves are dried over a long period or at a high heat in a process called firing, but this is not a precise process intended to enhance the leaves' flavor. In contrast, dark wulong tea undergoes a post-drying process of prolonged baking in bamboo containers over charcoal (tàn bèi 炭焙), and all this after the same leaves underwent an oxidation process whose main purpose was to extract as many aromas from the leaves as possible. The complex and advanced process that dark wulong leaves go through makes them the perfect hybrid tea for hot or cold brewing. Other non-dark tea leaves that may also be suitable for cold brew are those of a full-body profile, with fruity or woody flavors, such as Darjeeling tea.

Our Choices for Cold Brew - Summer 2023

In light of the success of our cold brews in our studio, this summer we've decided to take the experience to the next level, with a new series of pots in different sizes designed for cold brewing. In preparation for the exceptionally hot summer due to global warming, we conducted comparisons, tests, and adjustments of our entire tea arsenal to form a winning team of perfect tea types for cold brewing. It's important to mention that these are the same high-grade leaves that we sell all year as hot tea, meaning they can also be brewed hot using the Gong Fu Cha method.