Ice Brewing Tea: Yes, It’s a Thing!



When most people think of brewing tea, hot water and steam typically come to mind. However, there’s a unique and refreshing method known as ice brewing, or “kĊridashi” in Japanese, that offers a delightful alternative. This technique uses ice instead of hot water to brew tea, resulting in a delicate and sweet flavor profile that is perfect for high-quality teas. Let’s explore how you can enjoy this fascinating tea brewing method at home.

What is Ice Brewing Tea?

Ice brewing tea is a method where ice cubes, instead of hot water, are used to extract the flavors from tea leaves. This slow and gentle process is particularly well-suited for high-quality green teas, such as gyokuro or sencha, but can be applied to other types of tea as well. The result is a smoother, less astringent brew with a natural sweetness that is perfect for savoring.

How to Ice Brew Tea

Ingredients:

  • High-quality tea leaves (gyokuro, sencha, or your favorite premium tea)
  • Purified or mineral water
  • Ice cube tray

Equipment:

  • Teapot or kyusu (Japanese teapot)
  • Small tea cups

Steps:

  1. Select Your Tea: High-quality teas with delicate flavors are ideal for ice brewing. Gyokuro and sencha are commonly used, but feel free to experiment with other premium teas.
  2. Prepare the Ice: Use purified or mineral water to make ice cubes. The quality of the water affects the taste of the tea, so it’s important to use good water.
  3. Add Tea and Ice: Place the tea leaves in a teapot or kyusu and cover them with ice cubes. A typical ratio is about 1-2 teaspoons of tea leaves per ice cube, but this can be adjusted based on personal preference.
  4. Let It Melt: Allow the ice to melt slowly at room temperature. The melting ice will gradually extract the flavors from the tea leaves, resulting in a delicate and sweet brew. This process can take several hours, so it’s a leisurely way to prepare and enjoy tea.
  5. Serve: Once the ice has melted, pour the brewed tea into small cups and enjoy. The slow melting process enhances the tea’s natural sweetness and complexity.

Benefits of Ice Brewing Tea

  • Delicate Flavor: Ice brewing extracts the tea flavors slowly, resulting in a smoother, less astringent brew with a natural sweetness.
  • Preserves Nutrients: The slow extraction process preserves the tea’s nutrients and antioxidants, which can be degraded by high temperatures.
  • Unique Experience: It’s a unique and aesthetically pleasing way to enjoy tea, perfect for special occasions or when you want to savor the process.

Tips for Perfecting Ice Brewing

  • Experiment with Tea Types: While gyokuro and sencha are popular choices, try experimenting with other high-quality teas like white tea or oolong to discover new flavor profiles.
  • Adjust the Ratio: The ratio of tea leaves to ice can be adjusted based on your taste preferences. Start with 1-2 teaspoons per ice cube and tweak as needed.
  • Be Patient: The ice brewing process takes time, but the results are worth the wait. Prepare it ahead of time if you plan to enjoy it at a specific time.

Final Thoughts

Ice brewing tea is a delightful and refreshing way to enjoy high-quality teas. The slow and gentle extraction process highlights the delicate flavors and natural sweetness of the tea, making it a unique experience for tea enthusiasts. Give ice brewing a try and elevate your tea-drinking experience to a whole new level.