Cold Brewing Tea

Unleash the flavor with cold brewed tea 

Cold brewing tea is a method that comes with both advantages and risks. We are going to run through all the questions from how to cold brew, why you should an what are the risks?

How do you cold brew tea?

Unlike traditional hot brewing methods, cold brew involves steeping tea leaves in cold water or warm water for an extended period, typically 12-24 hours.

Why would you want to cold brew your tea?

This slow extraction process yields a bolder, less astringent tea with a smoother mouthfeel and naturally lower caffeine content. This method is great for all teas but with Oolong teas in particular it can be an excellent way to ensure you get those floral and fruity notes without the astringency. We love this method with our fall plucked Mississippi Empress Oolong but work great for Mississippi Belle Oolong as well.

What are the risks with cold brewing tea?

While cold brew tea is undeniably delicious, it's important to be mindful of potential food safety risks. Unlike hot brewing, which eliminates harmful bacteria, cold brewing takes place at room temperature, creating an environment where bacteria can potentially grow.

This is particularly risky with organic teas grown with manures. Manures can be splashed up onto the leaves and with no hot water applied to the leaves the bacteria can flourish in the warm water conditions. You can take a quick heat step and rinse the leaves in hot water for 60 seconds if you are concerned or stick to hot brewing method to be 100% sure. 

Here's what you need to know:

    • Start with clean: Ensure all utensils and equipment are thoroughly sanitized before brewing. Use filtered or spring water to minimize contaminants.
    • Fresh is best: Opt for high-quality, fresh tea leaves. Avoid using pre-ground tea or tea bags, as they may harbor more bacteria.
    • Mind the time: Stick to recommended steeping times. Prolonged steeping increases the risk of bacterial growth.
    • Refrigerate it right: Store your cold brew tea in an airtight container in the refrigerator immediately after brewing. Consume within 3-5 days for optimal freshness and safety.
    • Know your limits: Individuals with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, and young children should exercise caution when consuming cold brew tea due to potential increased susceptibility to foodborne illness.

What is the difference between cold brewing and iced tea?

While both cold brew and iced tea satisfy your thirst on a hot day, their journeys from leaf to cup are vastly different. Iced tea is the classic quick fix – hot water steeps the leaves, releasing a bold flavor, before a cooling plunge into ice. This results in a more intense, sometimes astringent taste.

Here is more information on how we make a true southern ice tea.

Cold brew, on the other hand, takes the slow and steady approach. Leaves steep in cold water for hours, coaxing out a smooth, subtle essence with reduced bitterness. Think of it as the cold-pressed juice of the tea world, bursting with natural sweetness and delicate complexity. So, which to choose? It's a matter of taste (and time)! Craving a quick, robust jolt? Grab the iced tea. Seeking a nuanced, refreshing sip? Cold brew awaits. Both options offer unique experiences, ready to quench your thirst and tickle your taste buds.

Enjoying Cold Brew Responsibly:

By following these simple guidelines, you can enjoy the refreshing taste of cold brew tea with peace of mind. Remember, food safety is paramount, so be mindful of the brewing process and storage practices. But fear not, with a little knowledge and responsible brewing, you can safely savor this delightful summer beverage all season long.


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1 comment

  • Anthony McKinney

    Do you alter the tea to water ratios for cold brewing? Also, you recommended up to 12 hrs for oolongs, do you recommend different brewing times for different teas?

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