Tea – Tasting and Testing Cold Brewed Tea

It was warm last weekend here in Harrogate and it’s been great to be able to make full use of our south facing outside seating area – which gets the sun all day long when it’s out.  It can sometimes get too hot for comfort though and rather than drink hot drinks we think people will want something cooler.  To solve the problem we’ve been working on some new tea-based concoctions for just such an occasion.

With the help of our incredibly helpful ‘Tea Team’, Paul and Ann from The Tea Experience, we have been developing some cold brewed tea drinks.  We hesitate to call them iced tea, because we aren’t planning to serve them over ice for fear of diluting the flavour, but they will be served chilled.

We were given 5 teas that Paul and Ann thought would suit iced tea.  We also added Green Kombucha, which is very popular and smells so fantastic we were desperately hoping it might perform well under cold brew conditions.  The teas from left to right were:

Strawberry and Kiwi

Green Kombucha

Tarocco Sunshine

Ceylon Orange Pekoe

Goji Berry

Indian Assam

Tea samples ready for testing

Tea samples ready for testing

The idea of brewing the tea with cold water is to release the tea flavour but ideally without the tannins present giving too much astringency.

Pouring the water over our Green Kombucha

Pouring the water over our Green Kombucha

To brew the tea we steeped 6 tsp of tea in 4 teacups of cold water and left it at room temperature for 12 hours.

A tower of tea ready for infusion overnight.

A tower of tea ready for infusion overnight.

The results in the morning were surprisingly positive for a first attempt.

Assam: Stood out immediately as a robust tea with surprisingly low acidity whose taste would stand up to being paired with a fruit such as lemon or orange.

Tarocco Sunshine (Fruit infusion): Made primarily of blood oranges this infusion smelt fantastic and delivered a pleasant citrus flavour with a sharp tang that could be offset with liberal use of agave syrup for sweetening.

Strawberry Kiwi (Fruit infusion): Mellow and could be chilled down and drunk immediately.

Green Kombucha: Disappointingly poor taste.

Ceylon Orange Pekoe: More acidic and not as strong as the assam, would need to rethink the tea dose and brewing time.

Goji Berry:  Pleasant enough but not a sufficiently strong taste to justify a place on the menu.

The teas ready for testing - lovely colours but it's about the taste.

The teas ready for testing – lovely colours but it’s about the taste.

The Conclusions

Assam, Tarocco Sunshine and Strawberry Kiwi are all in, the others didn’t make the grade on this test.  We’re going to try testing with our Eygptian Mint tea and also with an assam/fresh mint blend.  You can look forward to trying some of the teas in the cafe soon so we can get your opinion too.

Recipe – ‘Cool as a Cucumber’ Iced Tea (courtesy of ‘The Tea Experience’

'Cool as a Cucumber'

‘Cool as a Cucumber’

2 heaped teaspoons of Egyptian Mint Tea
1 pint fresh COLD water – filtered if possible.
Organic Cucumber
Unwaxed lime
This is a recipe for a cold infused tea that is easy and quick to make.
Put the Egyptian Mint into a jug or teapot.  It’s preferable to use a teapot without a basket in it – use an old fashioned teapot that lets the leaves move freely around the pot.
Pour in the water and add about half a dozen slices of cucumber. Leave the skin on the cucumber and make the slice about a couple of millimetres thick.
Leave the mint and cucumber to infuse for approx an hour. You can stand the pot on a sunny window ledge or anywhere it will get plenty of light.
When it is strong enough for your taste – yes you have to keep trying it as it gets near the hour just like you would any recipe, strain into a clean jug/pot/cups and add a fresh slice of cucumber and a thin slice of lime ( You could use lemon if you haven’t a lime ).
If you are going to serve it poured over ice you will need to make sure the infusion is quite strong as the ice will dilute the taste as it melts.





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