The Easiest Way to Brew Tea – the three step!

  • Holly Helt

You know it’s nearly summer in Japan when the wind chimes are hung up. It’s also when a kaleidoscope of cold brew containers explode onto the scene!

Cold brew tea is as common to the Japanese as Pimms is to the English and Lemonade is to us Yanks. Everyone here has green tea cold brew in the fridge. It provides a never-ending constant stream of refreshment during the most challenging season weather-wise.

Some people say the best thing to cool you down in the heat is to have a hot cup of tea. My Indian friend swears by it. To me, that just seems wrong! I want to cool off, not raise my body temperature. Steam is already coming off of my head!

Cold brew is the way to go and here’s how you do it:

The Three-Step

1) Add any kind of tea: 30g does a good job – I usually don’t measure, just dump it in

2) Add pure, cold water: a lot! Fill up your jug anywhere from 750ml – 2 liters

3) Stick it in the fridge and forget about it: 2 hours, 4 hours, overnight, it doesn’t matter!

*leave the leaves in or take them out – doesn’t matter!

How is this possible?! Doesn’t it get bitter?!! 

No! And that’s why it’s so easy. The key is the water temperature. Don’t heat it at all. When you use cold water, the components release slowly into the brew. Hot water forces the extraction quickly which is why you have to remove the leaves after 30 seconds, 1 minute, etc.

Cold brewing gives you a refreshing, mellow tea. This is why everyone loves it and guzzles it during the summer. Using the highest quality leaves like Kabusecha or Gyokuro is the way to get the most distinct flavor profile, but you can use any tea. For Chinese tea fans, cold Jasmine Pearl is lovely! Lower-grade or cheaper tea produces a good brew but it’s nothing special. If you want extraordinary cold brew, use your best leaves for it. At Chiki Tea, we sip cold Gyokuro from May to September…though nothing beats icy Genmaicha with a basket of edamame.

I have nine ( I just just counted!) cold brew containers under my kitchen sink. I keep buying them in hopes of finding the perfect one. Most let me down because they are too small, the filter basket is too narrow, the lid doesn’t seal…you get the picture!

BUT thanks to our CFO who dazzled me with the biggest and best yet, I’ve finally found THE ONE! It’s BIG. It’s LIGHT! It fits in the door of a small fridge! The mesh basket is a dream to clean and it’s BIG too. The lid seals so tightly that it can be put on its side in the fridge – or jumbled into your blue IKEA mock picnic bag (tested!). It has a “hot” pour-over system that I’m ignoring but handy if you fancy it!

At the same exact time Mark found the above Cold Brewer, I was buying the Hario Wine Bottle glass and silicone one. The leaves freely float and the filter locks in place in the silicone lid. I resisted for ages because I didn’t fancy the colors – just dark red and olive.  Then Master Kitagawa called to say he had their new vibrant range…orange, pink, blue… I nabbed the orange one but might have to go get the hot pink one too. It’s fabulous for entertaining as it pours just like a bottle of wine and even has the rubber cork.

I can’t wait to get my Shincha and try it cold brewed. YUM!

About Holly Helt

Holly is American and grew up in Japan drinking Japanese tea from age-three. She has studied two methods of tea ceremony, Urasenke and the lesser-known Yabunouchi, which has a direct lineage to Sen-no Rikyu (known as the father of the tea ceremony) ; it's also the school of practice for samurai. In 2012 she founded Chiki Tea - an online retailer of Japanese green teas, all sourced directly from small farms in Japan. Splitting her time between Japan and her home in Texas, Holly strives to bring the best teas from Japan to as many people as she can find to share in her life's passion.

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