“It is said that tea leaves with lower levels of oxidation, like Japanese tea or green tea, are better for cold brew. With Japanese tea, the tea leaves are so fine that you could even brew with ice. When you brew tea at lower temperatures, you get less caffeine and catechins which have bitter, tannic flavors, making it easier to taste the umami. The higher the temperature, the more caffeine and catechins are released. Cold brewing on the other hand emphasizes theanine, an umami source, which is why most people believe that less oxidized leaves are better for cold brew.”
“At Uf-fu we also recommend a green-tea base for cold brew. One of our popular Earl Greys is a green tea scented with natural Bergamot oil. We also have Darjeeling First Flush – new leaves that come out after the first spring rains around late February to mid-April, just after the winter is over. Some of the leaves are still green, and you get a beautiful golden infusion that is perfect for cold brew.”
Place tea leaves in a carafe. Add water, adjusted to a temperature of around 20-25ºC. Place carafe in the refrigerator and let it brew for 6-12 hours.
*Use 150-200ml of water for every gram of tea leaves
“The initial temperature of the water that you pour into the carafe is very important. The outcome is very different whether you use water at 35ºC in the mid summer, or ice-cold water in the winter. To get a consistent result, add a few ice cubes in the summer to help chill the water, or let it warm up to room temperature before pouring in the winter. If the water is too warm the flavor gets dull, but if it is too cold, your brew will lack flavor. The outcome of your cold brew can be affected by the seasons and which water you use, so I recommend experimenting a few times to see what works best for you.”
“One of our favorite teas for cold brew is Eté, which is a Darjeeling First Flush grown in Nuwara Eliya on the highest hills in Sri Lanka, blended with three essential oils from natural lemons and other citruses. With hints of Mediterranean fruit and flora, it goes surprisingly well with fish and seafood. At BRICCA, an Italian restaurant in Sangenjaya, Tokyo, they serve cold brew tea with Uf-fu leaves, and I think the pairing with their mackerel and taro terrine is sublime. It also goes well other Italian foods like salads, cheeses, and tomatoes. Many of our customers are Italian restaurants, but we also provide tea leaves for French restaurants, yakitori and sushi restaurants too.”
“Non-alcoholic drinks are becoming increasingly popular, and I think there is a growing demand for tea pairing. Tea is a great accompaniment to a meal. Japanese people often drink green tea with rice or onigiris, which is testimony to this. A good pairing is when the drink doesn’t disturb the meal, clears your palette well, or elevates the mood. I think this can be achieved with tea, just like with wine. In this respect I think cold brew tea has huge potential.”
Uf-fu is a black tea importer established in Ashiya City, Hyogo Prefecture in 2002. They select their teas very carefully from various tea-growing regions such as India, Sri Lanka, and China, introducing only the teas that they feel are truly delicious. With the belief that “things that are part of everyday life should be as natural as possible", Uf-fu creates original tea blends with natural ingredients like essential oils, herbs, and spices. They also offer seasonal teas and tea pairing suggestions for food and desserts.
www.uffu.net / @uffu_tea