Cold brewing tea is easily the best method to enjoy tea in the hotter summer days. Teas with less heavy and more fruity or floral notes create very tasty and refreshing tea.
There are a few things you need to know to produce the perfect cold brew from oolong tea. This article will help you choose the right tea and guide you to a great cold brew.
SHORT ANSWER – How Cold Brewing Oolong Tea Works
Cold brewing oolong tea takes only a few steps from start to finish. Most parameters vary with the chosen oolong tea and personal preference.
1. Choose A Suitable Oolong Tea
2. Place 3 Grams Per 10 Ounces Or 10 Grams Per Liter In A Container
3. Fill With Cold (Filtered) Water
4. Chill And Leave For 8 To 24 Hours
5. Enjoy Your Cold Brewed Oolong Tea!
In the following, you will learn which oolong teas are suitable for cold brewing and how to determine the right brewing parameters for your taste.
Why You Should Try Cold Brewing Oolong Tea
Cold brewing oolong tea will result in a different taste profile than regular hot brewing. Since some compounds like caffeine and bitter-tasting chemicals are less soluble in cold water, you will get a smoother tea.
Another effect of the longer infusion time when cold brewing oolong tea is a more complex and intense flavor profile. Especially fruity and floral notes will be more vibrant, while heavy and bitter notes will be less noticeable.Â
Choosing The Right Oolong Tea
Oolong tea itself is the perfect choice for a refreshing cold brew and will be way more forgiving than a green tea, which may result in a bitter-tasting tea. There are many types of oolong you can choose from, so I have listed five ideal candidates for you to choose from:
- Wuyi Rock Oolong Tea
- Dan Cong
- Tie Guan Yin
- Jin Xuan
- Oriental Beauty
How Much Tea You Should Use
Some oolong teas, such as milk oolong, will create a too intense flavor if you use more than 4 to 5 grams of leaves per liter of water.
With more forgiving oolong teas such as more oxidized and roasted variants like Wuyi rock tea or oriental beauty, you can use 10 to 15 grams of leaf without ruining your tea.
I would recommend starting with about 10 to 12 grams per liter for your first cold brew with darker oolong teas. With lighter oolong teas such as Tie Guan Yin and Jin Xuan, about 8 to 10 grams per liter would be ideal.
Since this also depends on the intensity of the tea itself, which varies between tea types and even productions, there is no definitive answer. You should always keep experimenting with your brewing parameters to find the perfect method for your taste.
The Cold Brewing Process
To create a good cold brew, you will need time. As soon as you have chosen the type of oolong tea and you have an idea of how much leaf you want to use, it is time to start brewing. Remember that the amount of tea is given per liter, so you need to adjust the amount you use.
Place the determined amount of leaf directly into a container that you want to use. I use a glass bottle with about 1.5 liters which I can drink from anywhere I get thirsty in the summer.
Fill the container with cold water, which ideally would be filtered. Depending on your local water minerality you may want to use filtered water. This will result in a more vibrant and complex tea.
Afterward, you simply chill the tea for about 8 hours before drinking. In this time the tea will have peaked in intensity and taste great! You will not need to strain the tea from the leaves, as a longer steeping time will not turn your tea bitter or otherwise unpleasant as long as you chill the container.
Sweetening The Tea
Some of you may want to sweeten the cold brew afterward. I believe that good tea should always be enjoyed as it is and not be sweetened or mixed with milk. But if you want to sweeten your cold brew, I suggest using less than 50 Milliliters per Liter of tea.
Other Tea Types For Cold Brewing
Oolong tea is by far the most versatile tea to use when cold brewing. You have many teas to choose from and can get anything from a mild and floral cold brew with a Tie Guan Yin to roasted, fruity and mineral cold brew with Dancong or Wuyi Rock Tea.
White tea, especially aged variants, will result in a rather sweet and fruity cold brew. Using very high amounts of white tea may result in a slight bitterness, so choose between 6 and 8 grams per liter for your brewing.
Black tea is another prominent option for cold brews. Some of the darker oolong tea variants are quite close to black teas but hardly compare to the intense malt and cocoa taste of a Jin Jun Mei. For this, you would use as much as 12 grams per liter.
Green teas are not the easiest to cold brew, as these can easily turn out bitter. Dragonwell green tea is one of a few options that can be turned into a great cold brews, as the roasting process destroys a lot of bitter compounds beforehand.
There’s a lot more to learn about tea! If you are looking for a good place to start, I highly recommend the book Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties. You can check its current price on Amazon here.