What is Cold Infused Tea?
It’s the method of making tea that uses time instead of heat to extract flavour from tea leaves. It’s as simple as adding cold water to your tea leaves and leaving them in the fridge for two to eight hours. We love this method of infusing tea as it typically creates a lighter and more refreshing flavour. You might even call it understated, but if you choose the right tea, it’ll be very aromatic. This is because cold water brings out less of the structure – including tannin – from your leaves. Less structure means more space in your drink for the lighter flavours and high notes or aromas to reveal themselves.
Four Cold Infusions To Try This Summer
So, after trying out a whole bunch of my favourite single garden teas from this season, I picked my top four that I think you’ll love.
Organic Darjeeling 1st Flush Supreme
New in for 2021, this limited batch of Darjeeling’s most famous tea encapsulates everything I love about this mountain origin. Make it hot and this tea is smooth, fruity and has a hay-like, meadowy-fresh quality that takes me right back to the rolling foothills of Darjeeling at the base of Himalayan range. Cold infusing this batch brought out even more aromatic and sweet notes of honey with a really bright floral note and enough of that meadowy grassiness in the finish to balance it all.
Try: 4g of Darjeeling 1st Flush; 250ml cold water; 6 hour infusion.
Try making ice cubes with your cold infusion too – and serving them together for the coolest experience (beware of using ice made just from water as it’ll dilute your drink). Add a slither of cucumber too for the ultimate summer refreshment.
Organic Yunnan Breakfast
This new Organic Yunnan Breakfast black tea is a must try for this method. Made hot, it’s packed with flavours of sweet red berries, cinnamon and ginger spices and even hints of honeyed malt. When we tested it cold, all of these come through with the sweetness even more prominent. You’ll get a thick, satisfying texture and hints of smooth malt in a beautifully cooling cup. So, if you’re a fan of breakfast teas but want to try something more refreshing on a hot morning then this is the one for you.
Try: 8g of Yunnan Breakfast; 250ml cold water; 2 hour infusion.
This roasted oolong tea is not one that you would expect to work as a cooling drink. We love a hot infusion of Wuyi for its roasted warmth, caramel richness and lasting mineral finish. But made cold it’s a completely different experience – the aroma is quite complex with notes of pine and sweet honey, while the taste is chocolatey with a really thick, milky texture, which is surprisingly cooling. Of all the teas we tried cold infusing, this one had the most unexpectedly delicious flavour and is one I’ll be making regularly.
Try: 5g of Wuyi Oolong; 250ml cold water; 4 hour infusion.
Apple & Hibiscus
A perfect summery fruit and floral infusion of whole apple and pineapple pieces, natural hibiscus shells and long-cut lemongrass. This as a great caffeine-free and sugar-free option for a naturally sweet, pure and cooling drink to enjoy on a sunny day. The bright purple hue from the hibiscus and the balance of tart, floral and tropical fruity-sweetness is such an enjoyable combination.
Try: 4g of Apple & Hibiscus; 250ml boiling water; 4 hour infusion.
What’s the best way to make cold infused tea?
There are a couple of methods you can use to make cold infused tea, but we find that simply adding cold filtered water to the tea leaves and leaving them to infuse in the fridge for two to eight hours will give the best results. You can also experiment with how long you leave the tea to infuse – add more tea and infuse for less time for a richer taste and more body or use less leaves and infuse overnight in the fridge for a really sweet and cooling flavour the next day. Just remember, once it has infused to your liking, decant all of your infusion to enjoy the perfect, cooling cup. Here’s our go-to-guide on getting the best flavour, but feel free to have fun with it. If you want to see how it’s done, we’ve also made a short video tutorial.