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Recipe: How to make your own cold brew tea

In these sweltering summer months, cold brew tea is a life saver! Especially for us tea addicts who need tea to feel functional, but don’t want a boiling hot beverage on a boiling hot day.

The good news is, cold brew tea is very easy to make. Just put some tea leaves in room temperature water and let them steep for 8 hours or overnight. The next morning, you’ll have a lovely refreshing beverage to wake up to!

It’s a lot of fun to see how the flavour of a well-loved tea changes when it’s steeped in room temperature water. We find that cold-brewing accentuates the sweet aftertaste of green teas, the herbaceous floral flavour of white teas, the powerful fragrance of Phoenix Dancong oolongs, and the sweetness of black teas in a wonderful way.

Cold brew tea recipe

What’s the difference between cold brew tea and iced tea?

There’s a big difference! Iced tea is hot tea poured over ice. It can be quite bitter, so usually needs a sweetener. 

Cold brew tea is steeped in room temperature water for a much longer time. This means the tannins and caffeine are extracted much more slowly, so you get a sweeter, less astringent result with zero bitterness. 

The practice of cold brewing tea comes from Japan, where they believe the antioxidants and nutritional properties of the tea leaves are better preserved at lower temperatures.

What equipment do I need to make cold brew tea?

You don’t need much. Just a container to hold the tea, and something to strain the leaves with when you pour it. You might want to strain it into another jug or bottle to serve.

Any of these would work:

  • Jug or pitcher +  strainer
  • French press
  • Mason jar +  strainer

How to make cold brew tea

What leaf-to-water ratio should I use for cold brew tea?

We recommend about 1-2g of loose leaf tea to 100ml of water for 8 hours. If you’re planning to leave it overnight or for 12 hours or more, you may want to use less tea.

We find that 1-1.5g per 100ml works better for green teas, and 1.5-2g per 100ml works better for white, oolong and black teas.

But the best thing to do is try a few different ratios and timings to find the result you like most.

Cold brew tea leaf-to-water ratio

How do I make cold brew tea?

It couldn’t be simpler!

  1. Put 10g of tea leaves in a jug or bottle
  2. Add 1L room temperature mineral water
  3. Leave (in the fridge or out) for at least 8 hours or overnight
  4. Strain and serve!
  5. Repeat the process 2 or 3 times to get the most out of your leaves

Chilling it: It’s up to you whether you refrigerate your tea or not. Just know that the steeping process will be slower inside the fridge than out. To speed up the process, you can leave it out of the fridge for 6 hours then put it in the fridge for the last couple of hours to chill it.

How do I make sparkling cold brew tea?

Sparkling cold brew tea is simply delightful! And a great non-alcoholic option for celebrations.

There are a few different options to try:

  • Cold brew the tea as normal, then carbonate it with a soda machine
  • Cold brew a more concentrated version of the tea, then mix it with soda water
  • Put the tea leaves directly into a bottle of unflavoured sparkling water and leave it overnight (try 5g of tea for a 500ml bottle)

We’d love to see the results of your cold-brewing experiments, so don’t forget to tag us on Instagram @plantation_hk!

Sparkling cold brew tea

Which teas work well cold-brewed? 

You can cold brew any loose leaf tea. We’ve found that these teas, in particular, taste exceptionally good when cold-brewed:

Yunnan Wild Tea Buds
The heady floral fragrance of these beauties comes out in full force when cold-brewed.

Yunnan Wild Buds tea

Yunnan Moonlight White
Our all-time favourite, cold-brewing Yunnan Moonlight White makes its honey-sweetness really shine.

Yunnan Moonlight White tea

Darjeeling First Flush
The nuanced muscatel flavour of this tea comes out much stronger as a cold-brew.

Darjeeling First Flush tea

Pre-Qingming Longjing
Unforgettably fragrant, cold brew Longjing tea is bright, cheerful and refreshing. 

Pre-Qingming Longjing tea

Jasmine Phoenix Pearls
It’s amazing how the jasmine fragrance soars to new heights when cold-brewed.
Jasmine Phoenix Pearls tea

Kuki Hojicha
Imagine enjoying the sweet, chocolatey, roasted flavours most often associated with winter, but as a chilled beverage in the height of summer. No milk or sugar needed.
Kuki Hojicha tea

Wenshan Baozhong
Creamy, fresh, grassy and nutty—all in one chilled beverage that goes down as smooth as silk.
Wenshan Baozhong tea

Phoenix Dancong (Honey Orchid Scent)
The fragrance of this cold brew tea is a real wow factor! It lingers in your mouth for ages.
Phoenix Dancong (Honey Orchid Scent) tea

Oriental Beauty
This gorgeous tea becomes hauntingly sweet as a cold brew and lasts for many infusions.

Oriental Beauty tea

Keemun Maofeng
The sweetness of this black tea is much more noticeable both in the fragrance and flavour of the cold brew version.
Keemun Maofeng tea

Hope that gives you a good starting point.
We’d love to see the results of your cold-brewing experiments, so don’t forget to tag us on Instagram @plantation_hk!



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