FEATURE - August 2019
Get Refreshed with Cold-Brew Teas and Tisanes
by Emilie Jackson
Summer is here! It’s time to enjoy the outdoors and be with Mother Nature. If you live in the Midwest, you are no doubt prepared for a hot and humid summer. That means that you’ll need to stay hydrated and drink liquids more often. Still, sometimes you want more than just water. For a long time, we used to think coffee and tea were dehydrating, but that common belief has been proven false. Scientists have found that the diuretic effect of those beverages does not diminish their hydrating powers – welcome news for coffee and tea drinkers!
Coffee drinkers can enjoy many cold-brewed options offered by local coffee shops. When it comes to tea, though, it could be another story. If you’re lucky, you might find an iced Masala Chai Latte or an iced Matcha Latte, but those looking for a refreshing unsweetened tea with no milk or milk substitute may be in for a challenge.
Iced Tea: An American Tea Culture
The practice of drinking cold-brew tea in the United States dates back a century. The most common way to drink cold tea in America is iced tea. According to the Tea Association of the USA, iced tea makes up to 85 percent of the tea consumed in America. The method of brewing iced tea is simple: steep the tea bags or loose-leaf tea in hot water (the temperature varies with the type of tea) and then add ice. Tea purists might skip the ice since it dilutes the flavor of tea itself.
Cold-Brewed Teas: An Emergent Technique for Brewing Cold Tea
Like cold-brewed coffee, tea can be made without heat. You may have heard of sun tea from your grandmother…the good, old Lipton tea bags steeped in tepid water in a glass jar left outside for hours in direct sunlight. However, tea experts prefer to use of premium version of this process known as cold-brew tea, primarily for safety reasons. According to tea experts, the sun-tea method is not entirely safe. Research shows that the water reaches a temperature of roughly 130°F, an ideal temperature for growth of bacteria commonly found in water. So rather than killing harmful bacteria, sun-tea process instead creates an optimum environment.
In addition, the cold-brew method may have some extra health benefits. It is known for drawing fewer tannins and caffeine into the tea compared to hot brewing. Tannins are a type of polyphenol, an antioxidant compound that imparts an astringent flavor to the tea and can cause some people to experience headache, stomach pain or acid reflux. Fewer tannins results in a smoother and sweeter tea that most people can enjoy.
Cold-Brewed Tisanes: A Caffeine-Free, Nutrient-Dense Alternative
Most tisanes or herbal teas do not contain caffeine. Creating your tisane blend is easy and can be customized to your taste and your health needs. One of my favorite blends is hibiscus with rosehip, dried apple and berries. The berries balance the tartness of the hibiscus and the rosehip adds some vitamin C to the mix – a good blend for overall women’s health. My favorite blend for relaxation is lemon verbena with orange peel, dried apple, cornflower, and cinnamon.
The quality of your tea and water are equally important. Find a good-quality, loose-leaf tea and use filtered or spring water. Both can be found at a natural grocery store. This allows you to maximize the flavors and nutrients, and you can get even more creative by adding fresh fruits to your teas.
How to Make the Perfect Cold-Brew Tea
The cold-brew process is a simple method of steeping any type of tea overnight in the refrigerator. The slow infusion produces a smooth, full flavor without the bitterness of over-steeping, while retaining all the healthy antioxidants tea offers.
PREPARATION TIME: 5 mins
INFUSION TIME: Overnight
1 teaspoon loose-leaf tea per six to eight ounces of water (preferably spring or filtered), depending on desired strength.
Optional add-ins: sweetener of choice.
For the best flavor, place the loose tea leaves directly into your pitcher without a diffuser.
Pour in room temperature or cold water.
Cover the glass pitcher and refrigerate.
Steep white or green tea for six to eight hours.
Steep black or oolong tea for eight to 12 hours.
Strain the loose-leaf tea by pouring through a fine mesh sieve (for best results, cover the sieve with a cheesecloth used exclusively for tea).
Discard the tea leaves (tea is a good compost).
Serve tea as is or with any add-ins of your choice.
Tea will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for three to five days.
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Emilie Jackson, MS – Tea and Herb Specialist. Born in France, Emilie lived in four different countries before settling in the United States. She has a passion for cultures, traditions, and rituals from around the world — especially tea rituals. Emilie is the co-owner of Emilie’s French Teas – a French tea room located inside Centered Spirit Cultural and Holistic Center in Waldo – 8131 Wornall Road, KCMO 64114, 816.225.9393, firstname.lastname@example.org.