Dr Russ Blog - Cold Brewed tea?
Cold Brewed tea?
Created on 9/23/2011
J sent in a very good question - can you simply steep tea in cold water to make a tasty and healthy iced tea?
Honestly, I wasn't certain. I have always made my tea, even iced tea, using heat either from the stove top or the sun's rays (so-called sun tea). I could think of no health concerns regarding cold steeping, but what about taste? And would the health benefits of tea be altered with cold steeping?
I don't typically get my health information from newspapers, but I found a very good article out of The New York Times that directly addresses this question - you might want to take a look, because the author provides a well-considered answer - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/20/dining/cold-brewing-coffee-and-tea-the-curious-cook.html?pagewanted=all
It appears that cold steeping of tea, and coffee, is gaining in popularity. The process creates a beverage with a different taste but one that a growing number of people seem to enjoy. You may have to use more tea with cold steeping, and experiment a little with the amount of time the tea needs to be kept in the refrigerator before the drink is ready to be enjoyed, but cold steeping seems a viable option for creating a tasty iced tea.
As far as health benefits go, however, it's fair to say that steeping tea in hot water may be better. More information is needed as very little research exists on this topic at present.
Steeping tea leaves in hot water may permit more active ingredients to enter the water than using the cooler method, at least that's what the results of a study from 2007 in the Journal of Chromatography A suggest.
I think it worthwhile to give cold steeping a try, to see if you enjoy the taste of iced tea prepared this way, while we await research into the health impact of drinking this unique beverage.
Thank you for a good question, J. Be well.
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