Nowadays, beside cold brew coffee, cold brew tea is gaining more attention.

For many of the same reasons that cold brew coffee is popular, cold brew tea is gaining more attention. Cold brew tea contains less caffeine (about half) so it’s easier on the stomach and can be enjoyed any time for most people. Using cold water instead of hot water extracts more of the flavors, but slower, over time. The result? A smooth, less bitter, cleaner tasting tea. Great taste and less caffeine aren’t the only benefits that cold brew tea offers – extracting tea with cold water instead of hot retains the same or more antioxidants depending on the tea than its hot water sidekick so it is good tasting and good for you.

A Simpler Method

Cold-brewing is a simpler alternative to the more traditional hot-brewing method. Unlike with hot-brewing, you do not need to heat water, monitor the water temperature or keep track of how many minutes the tea leaves have been steeping. Cold-brewing is time efficient. You can make a pitcher of green tea and keep it in the refrigerator for a few days.

Fewer Tannins

Cold-brewing draws fewer tannins into the tea compared to hot-brewing. Tannins are a type of polyphenol, an antioxidant compound in tea leaves that imparts an astringent taste to the tea. Fewer tannins result in a smoother, sweeter tea. And, fewer tannins may also have a health benefit. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, tannins can inhibit the amount of iron absorbed from foods. This effect is only seen with iron that comes from vegetables and grains, or nonheme iron, not iron from animal sources such as meat, poultry and fish.

Free Radical Scavenging

Cold-water green tea extracts are more effective in scavenging free radicals - unstable atoms or molecules that contribute to age-related diseases - according to a study published in 2008 in the journal “LWT - Food Science and Technology.” The study researchers did find a drawback to cold-brewed tea. The cold-water green tea extracts had less antioxidant activity than the hot-water extracts. A tradeoff seems to exist because fewer antioxidants - specifically tannins - in cold-brewed tea give it a milder flavor but may also result in decreased health benefits associated with antioxidants.

How to Cold Brew

Cold-brewing involves bringing the dried tea leaves in to contact with water, placing the mixture in the refrigerator and letting it steep for eight to 12 hours. The tea leaves infuse the water with flavor, color and active substances, such as antioxidants and caffeine. Use about 4 teaspoons of loose-leaf tea or four tea bags per quart of water. You can put loose-leaf tea directly in the water or use a tea filter or infuser. When the tea is done steeping, strain the leaves from the water or remove the tea filter or infuser.

Cold brewing is also a great way to bring out new flavours in your old favourite teas if you’re a bit of a foodie. Try mixing two different teas together and playing around with how long you steep the teas. You can be creative and add other ingredients (orange peel, muddled berries, mint leaves, lavender and honey) to your cold brew bottle too.



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