Cold steep Tea

How To Cold Steep Tea (and Why!)

June 22, 2017 in Learn

Cold brew coffee is a thing and so is cold steep tea. The cold steep tea (aka cold brew tea) method is similar as it involves making your tea with cold water only, eliminating the water-heating process. Don’t confuse it with iced tea as cold steeping tea does not involve any ice but this method is still refreshing and offers many advantages. Since you are using no hot water here, the tea leaves are extracted much slower which may result in a lighter-bodied tea with less astringency and bitterness. It’s an easy way to enjoy any tea type (black, green, white, oolong, puerh and herbal) as they will all cold steep well, steep times varying.

This method is incredibly simple. You may even find it easier than steeping your tea in hot water because with cold water you don’t run the risk of over steeping. In fact, because of it being more forgiving you don’t have to worry too much about the amount of tea leaves or how long you steep the tea. For example, many people tell me they’re not a fan of green teas and usually it is because the water temperature is too hot and/or the leaves are steeping for too long. This results in a very, very bitter drink. If that’s the case for you too, then cold steeping delicate teas like a green tea would be an excellent way to give it another try.

With the step-by-step guide below, I have also included a graphic with information on how long to cold steep certain teas. Please note that it is there to serve as a guide only. You may notice that I wrote a range of steep times because not all teas in a category may be treated the same (ie. rolled oolong tea leaves may take longer to cold brew than other oolong teas). You can even use spent tea leaves from a hot steep! There are many times I did not want to toss away my spent tea leaves just yet, so I set them in a pitcher to steep overnight in the fridge. Good ’til the very last bit!

You can cold steep your teas for as little as 2 hours or even as long as 12 hours and more. The point is to experiment with cold steeping teas yourself. Check back on your tea often to taste where it is at and see if you like the flavour profile then. The only downside to cold steep tea is the wait time, but it’s easy to get over that if you just set your tea in the fridge to steep overnight. The next morning you’ll wake up to a refreshing drink waiting for you and eliminating your waiting time…hooray!

How to Cold Steep Tea

Cold Steep Tea

What You’ll Need:

– a pitcher or jar
– tea of your choice (for best flavour use loose-leaf tea)
– room temperature or cold water
– optional: flavouring (ie. fresh herbs, fruit, spices, etc.)

Let’s Get Started…

cold steep teaSTEP ONE: Place 2 teaspoons of loose-leaf tea into the pitcher or jar. I like to have mine loose in the pitcher opposed to using a tea infuser or filter. This way the tea leaves have plenty of room to dance around and steep, allowing them to release all of their good flavours.

cold steep teaRemember, you can use any tea you like. For this step-by-step guide I am using a sencha green tea (a personal favourite for cold steeping!) Some other teas I really enjoy steeping cold are Silver Needle, White Peony, Tie Guan Yin, Genmaicha, and Rooibos.

cold steep tea
STEP TWO: Pour 2 cups of room temperature or cold water into the pitcher. If you would like to make more cold brew tea then simply double the amount of tea leaves and water.

*OPTIONAL: Add slices of fruit, fresh herbs, spices, etc. to cold steep with the tea if you want add more and different flavours. You can also try to add sweetener here if you’d like, but cold steep tea is naturally sweeter, so it may not be needed and the water is not hot to dissolve.

cold steep tea
STEP THREE: Cover the pitcher and place in the refrigerator. Use the chart above as a guide to tell how long your tea needs to be cold steeping in there. As mentioned before, you can always prepare and place in the fridge overnight. Feel free to experiment.

cold steep tea
STEP FOUR: After cold steeping, take note of the liquid’s change in colour! Taste test your cold steep tea to see if it’s to your liking. If you think it was steeping for too long and is now too strong, simply mix in more cold water. When it is perfect, pour it through a fine mesh strainer to remove the loose leaf tea. However, if you placed your tea leaves in a tea infuser, or used tea bags, then simply remove and discard. I like this pitcher for cold steeping tea because the lid has a filter that catches any tea leaves when pouring.

cold steep tea
STEP FIVE: Don’t forget to pour yourself (and others!) a glass. Enjoy 🙂

Like this cold steep tea guide? Pin it for later here –>

Do you have a favourite tea you like to cold steep? Let me know in the comments below. Also, be sure to let me know if you give this method a try and how your results were!

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  • Reply Karen July 1, 2017 at 10:44 am

    This is great! Thanks for tips on enjoying tea without turning on the stove. It’s been fun trying my teas as a cold brew during these recent hot days. 🙂

    • Reply Lu Ann Pannunzio July 10, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      You’re welcome, Karen! It’s definitely one of the best ways to still feed your tea addiction but stay cool in the summer 😉

  • Reply Chip January 12, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Great summary! What are your thoughts on brewing at room temperature vs in the refrigerator? I tend to do my coffee at room temperature on the counter but my tea in the fridge but I’m curious if anyone here prefers tea at room temperature?

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Lu Ann Pannunzio January 16, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      I have not experimented with steeping tea at room temperature opposed to in the fridge for cold brewing simply because I prefer it cold when using that method. However, steeping at room temp. is definitely an option!

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