Cold Brew Your Tea

Twinings Cold Brew Tea

With summer just around the corner, proper daily hydration is becoming more important. We are big fans of chilled tap water, as readers of this blog already know. For people who want to add flavor to their H 2 O without adding sweeteners, caloric or artificial, cold brew tea is an interesting option.

While iced tea is usually full of sugar, there are a few bottled teas you can buy that are unsweetened. Brewing your own tea is a much cheaper and potentially healthier option. And cold brewed tea, for those who haven’t tried it, is a time saving twist because you don’t need for the boiling water to chill.

From a chemical perspective, cold brew is different than hot brew. Any contact of water with tea leaves, hot or cold,  starts a process that releases various particles into the water, including flavor, antioxidants, and caffeine. Hot brewing adds another chemical process because the heat changes the chemical properties of some of those particles. Hot brewing also accelerates the process of diffusion.

We recently sampled a few bags of Twining of London Cold Brewed Teas and were very pleased with the results. We used ice cold water to brew a bag and measured about 5 minutes before taking the picture above. The beverage was surprisingly rich with flavor. If you have more patience, you can throw a tea bag or two into a pitcher full of water and leave it overnight in the fridge.

Most flavored teas include some sort of tea and then a bunch of added flavors. Beware though that  ”natural cherry flavor” does not necessarily mean the flavor was extracted from cherries. It simply means the flavoring was extracted from a natural substance.

Bottom line: We highly recommend cold brew teas as a refreshing alternative to caloric iced tea.

Do you cold brew?

Twinings Cold Brew Ingredients

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  • http://profiles.google.com/ptucker2008 Patricia Neal Tucker

    Thank you for the idea, but this posting raised more questions for me than answered them. Is this different than “sun tea’ aside from the obvious? Mostly in terms of safety: http://www.snopes.com/food/prepare/suntea.asp. Because I am not in the habit of buying this type of processed food, can you do this with loose tea? And my final question, which I guess is a collorary of the last question, can you do this with herb tea because caffeine doesn’t agree with me? I would love a follow up post. 

    • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Fooducate

      You can do this with any type of tea, including leaves. It will just take longer. You can do this with herbs and basically any plant matter. Flavored water is simply an infusion of various herbs / spices / fruits / vegetables into cold water.

      • I Object

        Oh, go fooducate yourself Hemi. What “particles” have their “chemical properties” changed by hot brewing? You sound like a lunatic trying to sound like a mystic. Jesus, this blog is a cesspit of stupid opinionated nutritional misinformation. So sad to find so many people falling for your insipid foodie nonsense.

      • http://profiles.google.com/ptucker2008 Patricia Neal Tucker

        Thank you for the reply. I appreciate it.

    • JZ

      I have never cold brewed herbals, and have read that you shouldn’t. However for caffeine free cold brew, I use rooibos.

  • http://twitter.com/NutritionDiva Monica Reinagel

    I know that cold brewing means less caffeine diffuses into the water but now I’m curious to know whether cold brew tea is higher or lower in antioxidants? Does the heat destroy antioxidants or help release them from the tea?

    • monitor

      The goddam heat has no significant effect, none. People make up stupid stories and asswipe blogs like fooducate publish them. What an inexcusable load of crap fooducate dumps on us.

      • MN

        Wow Monitor, Monica was just asking a question. I think it was a very useful question considering the fact that when I tried to google the benefits of cold vs hot tea, I got very mixed messages. If your swearing and insulting opinion was towards Monica, that’s just unnecessary and if it was towards Fooducate, don’t read Fooducate’s blog.

    • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Fooducate

      Good question. Not a lot of information is available. What’s certain is that the polyphenols (the antioxidants in tea) don’t survive for long once extracted from the tea leaf and swimming about in the water. So a pitcher left overnight in the fridge will have very little antioxidants in it by the next morning. 

      Having said that, we still recommend cold brew tea. Far better than regular iced tea or other sugary drinks. 

      • Still No

        Seriously? You inform us antioxidants will have dissipated from tea after a few hours, certainly in the time it takes to cold brew it. Then you tell us this antioxidant-depleted cold-brewed crap is “far better than regular iced tea”. You invoke an off-topic specter of evil “sugary drinks” to defend your peckish lunacy. Are you brain damaged? Maybe you haven’t been getting enough antioxidants. This is another fine example of why retarded foodie jackasses require adult supervision. This blog is a veritable mother lode of opinionated foodie misinformation. What an exquisite crock of old wives tales!

        • anon

          Really?  Your response might actually sound reasonable if you weren’t so insulting.  Instead, you’re just rude.  Just because you aren’t talking to the person on Fooducate face to face does NOT give you the right to be insulting to them.  So, Still No, your opinion means nothing.

  • Janet

    I just bought this product not knowing how it was going to be (haven’t tried it yet either).  I’m glad that someone likes it.  I’ll be making some today!

  • Diane

    I hot brew my tea and just let it cool. I think it delivers more flavor than a cold brew. I use decaf teas – a mix of decaf black tea and an herbal peach tea or raspberry tea.

  • Pingback: Brewing Loose Leaf Tea | In the Pantry

  • Laura B

    I love cold-brewing iced tea. I just throw a bunch of tea bags into a pitcher and let it sit overnight. I find the cheaper teas actually work better than fancier types ’cause the leaves are so much finer in the cheaper bags. However, I bought some of that Twining cold-brew stuff but was immediately turned off by the “natural flavorings”  in the ingredients list. I avoid flavoring of any kind, so it’s just normal cold-brew tea for me from now on! The only ingredient I want in my tea is “tea”!