Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cold Brewing - Cold Water Brewing

As the weather grows warmer brewing iced tea is more and more common for me. I find that this particular method of brewing is both easy, convenient and tasty. I have only really used this method with Japanese green teas. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to use this with a few black teas. Gyokuro and Sencha are the ideal teas I use for this.

I normally use the standard amount of leaf for this method, ~1g. tea /1oz. water. If the tea used is a light flavored tea or if you prefer a stronger cup of tea I would suggest increasing the amount of tea upwards of 20%.

For the water for this any chilled water would be fine. I've tried this with anything from ice water to slightly chilled water. I have a preference for iced water, but often use water from a water cooler for convenience. The colder the water you use, you will need to increase infusion times and leaf slightly. Infusion is very temperature dependent so adjust to your preferences as you see fit.

My personal preference is to use ice water (0 C) with 1.2 g leaf / 1 oz. water. The infusion time that I normally use for the first infusion is around 90s, second is about 30s, and 60s for the third. Steep this tea how you would any other tea normally, although it does help to mix the pot slightly with the first infusion.

The first infusion should come out being almost crystal clear with just a light twinge of green in it. The flavor will be very light and crisp and very sweet. The sweetness is a very deep sweetness, but rich and flavorful at the same time. This does of course vary on a per tea basis, but it tends to be fairly consistent throughout the first infusions.

The second infusion will be richer in color as the tea leaves will have absorbed water and expanding by now. This is a very smooth and still sweet green tea flavor. The color will most likely be cloudier and darker green. This will be a flavor more akin to normal sencha infusion, but very smooth and rich.

The third infusion will be weaker as most of the time the tea will be almost done, this will be a light, yet flavorful infusion. It will be somewhat like a weak tea, but still cold and refreshing. The flavor will be very tasty.

As always though, play around with this method and find what suits you. I find this is very easy and convenient to do throughout the day at work.

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