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Iced Tea — an Experiment

It is Winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, but Down Under, it’s Summer!

I’m a BBC (British Born Chinese) and my wonderful blend of cultures has come together rather nicely on the subject of tea.  Growing up, us Brits would always turn to a hot cup of tea in order to cool us down, and growing up in a Chinese family, drinking cold carbonated drinks was very much frowned upon, opting for the flask of hot jasmine tea to cool us down instead.  In the hotter climes of Brisbane, however, I found myself drinking a lot more cold water so I thought I would try making some iced tea.  After speaking to many tea friends on Twitter, two methods of making iced tea came to mind.

Hot Tea Cooled with Ice

Fans of this method argue that it is quicker to make and the flavours of the tea are fully developed as the components in the tea leaf that contribute to the flavour of the tea wake up at around 113oF (45oC).  To make the tea one places double the amount of tea leaves into a jug, make the tea at the desired temperature and preferred steeping time.  The tea is then cooled down with ice.

Cold Brew

This method requires patience but in talking to many of my tea friends on Facebook, this appears to be the preferred method.  It is a very simple process where the tea is made with cold water and then the jug is popped into the fridge overnight.  As the tea is not heated, it is less likely to result in a bitter brew because fewer catechins and tannins are released than in the hot method.

You can see from the picture below that the resulting brew generates quite different results.

Left: hot tea cooled with ice. Right: cold brew method.

The cup on the left shows the hot tea cooled with ice and the cup on the right, the cold brew method.  On the nose, there isn’t much of an aroma to discern from the cold brew when compared to the hot brew.  On the palate however, the two teas are quite different.  The hot tea with ice method had a fuller flavour and with the doubling of leaves, I can see how this method would be more suited to teas that are less temperature sensitive than others.  The cold brew method had a refreshing flavour profile and is more delicate on the palate. 

What iced tea method do you prefer and what tea do you like iced?

See also:
Iced Tea Roundup — Some Good Teas to Serve Chilled
For Chilled Tea, Go With Basic Black
Trying a Couple of Teas Chilled
Teas That Can Take the Chill
Iced Tea Tidbits & Trivia
Keeping Cool with Iced Tea
Iced Tea: Themes and Variations
Quick and Easy Iced Tea

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3 responses to “Iced Tea — an Experiment”

  1. […] tea knowledge you can check out the articles at this site by going here. Among some highlights, an article that takes a look at a few brewing methods, one that looks at iced tea tidbits and trivia, and an […]

  2. […] Welcoming the food and beverage enthusiasts from their Christmas Foodie tour and whilst lunch was being prepared, I was able to talk tea with eager listeners, and on a hot yet rainy day I decided to offer the guests a cold brew herbal infusion.  (Cold brew is a method of iced tea which I’ve talked about in a previous post).    […]

  3. I prefer a strong black tea for iced tea– say a good English Breakfast or the like. I use the first method–hot tea cooled with ice.

    A wonderful cold tea is Mugicha, a Japanese tea made from toasted barley. You simply simmer-steep it for the required amount of minutes, cool it, then decant into a glass container and chill in fridge. When I was in Japan, this was drunk by virtually everyone on hot summer days. It is very refreshing and also caffiene-free.

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