Britain is a nation of tea drinkers, so much so that backup power stations have to go on standby at the end of Eastenders to deal with the 1.75 million kettles requiring power at the same time. However, our tea is almost always hot. That seems like a very obvious statement but bear with me because cold-tea has seeped its way across Britain, and it’s set to become the drink of the summer.
Originally from Taiwan, cold-brew tea is made by adding tea leaves to cold water and refrigerating it, usually overnight. It is said to showcase the flavours of tea more effectively than hot water from the kettle. According to Limau Chen, the co-founder of Kenkō Tea Bar, “when creating hot brew tea, you run the risk of burning the tea leaves, which can result in a bitter taste. The cold brew process slowly draws out the flavour of the tea and the leaves remain alive, giving a fresh and vibrant flavour”. Cold-brew tea also has more health benefits than hot brew tea, as Chen explains “cold brew contains significantly lower levels of caffeine than traditionally hot brewed tea”.
The Journal Food Chemistry discovered more ECG polyphenols, the chemicals that support the immune system, in cold white tea than any other kind. They are also known to have more antioxidants. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should stock up on Lipton Ice Tea, but instead make your own cold brew tea, which has less sugar and is much better for you than the bottled stuff. Here are a few cold-brew teas for you to make at home, all you need is to mix the loose-leaf tea with the water and let it steep for four to 10 hours in the fridge.
Cold-brew Green Tea
- 3g green tea leaves
- 500ml water
- Sliced lemon and lime to serve
Combine 10 black tea bags and 8 cups cold water in a large pitcher. Cover; chill at least 4 hours. Discard tea bags. Serve over ice with lemon slices.