Monday, June 28, 2010

Cold Infusion Methods to Eliminate Bitterness

In response to Tiffany's experience with cold brewing I have two methods to try that I have found will resolve the problem of bitter tea.

The first is the most environmentally, and economically, friendly just reuse leaves that you have already enjoyed in a hot infusion earlier in the day.

Toss the used leaves into a glass pitcher, add water and let it sit. I prefer using an oolong or black tea for the most pronounced flavor with this method.

Time is less important than if you are using dry leaf so 4 hours, overnight, a couple days whenever you get back to it the tea will be perfect. Note the viscosity, or mouth feel, of the liquor when cold brewing like this. It makes for a nice cup and there is literally no waste. Re-infuse 2-3 times depending on your personal taste or strength preference.

The other way to avoid a bitter cup is to wash the leaf before you cold brew. In essence you are doing the same thing as above just not enjoying that first hot cup. Instead steep the leaves for up to 10 min., let them cool and continue as illustrated above.

My preferred method is the first one. I just leave the cold brewed leaves in the pitcher for weeks and every time I pour myself a glass or two I replenish the water in the pitcher and start all over again. At that point I start to add about 1/8 dry leaf to whatever is in the pitcher already. Then once again I let it sit. Unfortunately Astringency can be more pronounced in some teas, so my suggestion here is more of a guideline than a hard and fast “rule.” They way I was taught in Taiwan is not to use a tremendous amount of leaf, believe it or not the tea still delivers a nice character.

Tiffany, thanks for the question, and good luck.
-Chris-

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Discovery of Cold Infusion

Steeping hot tea is great. Various methods and styles peaked my interest and I am constantly curious of just how far I can push the leaf.

Recently while traveling in Taiwan I discovered cold brewing. Since then I have been passionately exploring this new facet of steeping and have discovered some interesting outcomes.

Cold infusion seems to be gentler on the leaf slowly drawing out flavors and mouth sensations. I wonder, is this due to the extend steeping time or the more gentle extraction? What I am certain of is that the resulting cup character is astounding and especially refreshing during these hot Florida summer days.

I am excited to continue to experience cold infusing teas and will be working to further formalize my techniques. I would encourage others to explore cold infusions and share their results with me and the Teas Etc blog community.

Cold brewing has done a lot to change the way that I experience tea. It has opened up possibilities that had never occurred to me before, introducing tea flavors and mouth feel that are entirely new.

- Chris -

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Life is Full of Change

Change is inevitable. Change can be positive. It is time for change with the Teas Etc blog!

I understand that to operate a blog that is useful and interesting at minimum you must post regularly. No matter how hard I have tried I am just unable, due to my very busy schedule, to post on a consistent basis.

In our most recent discussion about this issue we collectively determined that having some of the other folks at Teas Etc begin posting was a good solution. Not only will readers benefit from regular postings the most positive advantage will be the varied points of view and tea interests of the other contributors.

Beginning this week, Newman and Chris Johnston will both begin posting. Chris's travels and young perspective on tea will add great energy. Newman's historical insight, interest in the online tea community, and current trade events will add depth for readers.

Along with my periodic travel postings I will begin contributing short posts on the business of tea with topics such as organic, marketing, private label, and regulatory updates.

Hopefully this new collaboration will generate fresh ideas and renewed interest in the Teas Etc blog making it an enjoyable and insightful read.

Until next time, Beth