Summer is here and the soaring temperatures make this the perfect time to settle back and enjoy a nice cold glass – or how about a pitcher, for that matter – of iced tea. But with the sultry temperatures and the air conditioner pumping away furiously, is it really the time to be in the kitchen slaving over a hot teakettle, even if the end result is going to be a batch of ice cold tea?

Bodum Bistro Iced Tea Jug

Bodum Bistro Iced Tea Jug

Not necessarily. Cold brewing, as the name indicates, is a process that uses cold water or even ice cubes to steep the tea leaves (or bags) being used to make iced tea. According to some sources, the cold brewing process tends to reduce cloudiness and releases less of the astringency that can often make tea taste unpleasant.

Refer to this brief tutorial at the Miro Tea blog for a good overview of the cold brewing process. Along the same lines is this primer on cold brewing posted at the Me and My Tea blog.

In many places, including the United States, iced tea and black tea are almost exclusively one and the same thing. But even with that in mind, it’s probably safe to say that just about any tea that can be consumed hot can just as easily be served cold and can be made using the cold brewing process.

For some thoughts on ice brewing green tea refer to this article at Another Tea Blog about ice brewing shincha, a Japanese green tea, and this TeaChat thread on cold brewing gyokuro, another type of Japanese green tea.

While it might not be an appropriate topic of discussion for a blog that chronicles the joy of tea drinking, it’s interesting to note that tea is not the only hot beverage that can be made with cold brewing techniques. Toddy Cafe offers a gadget designed to make cold brewing coffee easier, but have also included instructions for using it with tea. More here.