I'm racking my brain trying to remember the moment when I was first enlightened to this new / not-so-new anomaly that is cold brew iced tea. I know it happened sometime over the Christmas break while my brain was in creative overdrive but was there an aha moment when I stumbled across this phenomenon? Perhaps there was, but it's gone now. Perhaps because I discovered it was so simple I couldn't really believe it and expected to spend hours researching and testing before working it all out and mastering the process, so I forgot altogether.
The outcome is, I have discovered cold brew iced tea. I'd like to bottle it if I could, but until I can, I'll be sharing it so the world can enjoy it and if you, or someone else you know is a tap-water-only-drinking-cafe-customer that can't find an appealing drink in any good cafe menu, a new light of joy will be dawning.
You may have already heard about my niggling frustration when I go out for "coffee" aka drink of some description. You see, I love going out for "coffee" and I even love the taste of actual coffee, but for me drinking coffee is like playing Russian roulette. Sometimes I drink it and I'm the same happy person I was before I started. Other times I'm on edge for the next few hours and may as well write off the rest of the day. And if I wait too late for a coffee, I'm awake until an ungodly hour chiding myself for giving in to the temptation. And I never order tea, let's face it, I'm spoilt at home with a limitless supply of Tielka and I'm yet to come across a cafe that serves a better brand of tea. Even the endless options of smoothies, juices, soft drinks isn't often appealing as I find they're either too filling, highly processed, or so super sweet that I usually settle with a bottle of mineral water or tap water. Not very exciting, but I REALLY like going to cafes, I love being served food, just the drinks department is often lacking for me. (Actually, this isn't entirely true. I like wine. Wine is good. And I really wouldn't mind a nice glass of Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir if anyone is offering?)
The other day I was at home enjoying a nice cup of cold brew (Tielka) tea with some friends (after celebrating the beginning of the new school year and our newfound freedom as parents with no more little ones at home woooohooo!!!) and they both echoed similar sentiments - about the drinks, not the kids (or maybe about that too?). Being a sugar-free, health conscious family, the cafe drinks fridge is off limits for them and they lamented the lack of attractive drink options. They were intrigued by the cold brew I offered them and the Tielka Breakfast went down a treat.
So I'm going to change this culture, at least I'm going to write about changing this culture, publish a bunch of posts, pics and hope that Aussie cafes take this on board and the world will become a better place with new cold brew tea culture.
It's so simple. Cold Brew Iced Tea. Yet it sounds super fancy and exciting and it's already been hitting the USA and UK over the last couple of years. While it's still in its infancy in Australia, no doubt it's going to get bigger.
How do you make it?
Put tea leaves in a jug, add cold water, sit for a bit, put in fridge, brew overnight, strain and serve. Seriously, it's that simple. I'm not kidding here, that's all you have to do. No special equipment, no complicated university-degree-or-equivalent-training-required, no overgrown beard, large glasses or tattoos required. The only trick is choosing the right tea for the job. Not all teas make nice cold brew. Especially teas that aren't Tielka tea, you can just wipe them of your list straight away for all the obvious reasons and also because an organic specialty tea will always make a better cold brew.
I've been experimenting the last couple of weeks and here are my three favourites - the ones I keep brewing again and again.
- Lady Grace Oolong Tea (think deliciously fresh nori sheets)
- Tielka Breakfast Black Tea (SO smooth and refreshingly sweet)
- Limonada Rosa Herbal Infusion (OMG PING!!!)
I also quite like Earl Royale and South Cloud Chai on milk, but these are my next faves.
Because a bunch of you have scrolled straight to the end of this blog just to find the damn recipe, I'm going to write it out in recipe style so you can find how to make it too:
THE RECIPE - COLD BREW ICED TEA
Makes 1 litre (4 servings)
- 15 grams of tea (around 7 teaspoons)
- 1 litre of cold filtered tap water
- Put tea leaves in jug
- Pour cold water over tea leaves
- Allow to sit on the bench for around 30 minutes
- Put in fridge and let brew for around 16 hours (some say 10-12 hours, I like my brew a little more feisty)
- Strain into different jug
- Serve on ice
If you're pushed for fridge storage space, brew the leaves in half the amount of water, then when it comes time to serve, fill the glass half full with brew and fill up the remainder with ice and cold water.
What's so good about cold brew?
For some reason, the cold brew method stops any of the astringent flavours from being extracted from the leaf. The sweetness is heightened and only around 1/3 of the caffeine remains.
PS You can try rebrewing the once-brewed leaves for 24 hours for yourself to enjoy later on - yum!