The tradition of cold brewing tea is old. It is believed to have originated in Japan, where people just poured cold water over tea in a pitcher that was left to sit for hours in the coolest part of the house. The resultant brew was cool, smooth, full of flavor with very little bitterness.
Most people drink Darjeeling hot or at least warm. Because of its delicate character Darjeeling is hard to make iced tea out of - the ice greatly dilutes the tea, leaving very little flavor in the glass.
However, when we cold-brewed Darjeeling the results were stunning. The taste and the aroma of the tea were exquisite, and it flowed all over the palate with perfect clarity, every note clear and precise. Why had not one thought of it before?!
We tried cold brewing with all our first flush teas. We think the harvest’s floral sweetness perfectly complements the taste of a cold brew. The freshness of the tea also enhances the flavors.
The difference between a hot brew and cold brew tea can be pretty stark in case of say, Sencha, as we found. But what we like about cold brew Darjeeling is that the complexity of the flavor and aroma is retained. In that respect it is not a “lighter” brew than a hot cup of tea.
Instructions for cold brewing Darjeeling:
For those of you who try Darjeeling cold brew we'd appreciate if you shared your results with us.