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Teasenz

Tea Recipe: Herbal T-Cubes!

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Shelley

Interesting, you say it doesn't work with leaf teas, what if you brewed up a potful and then poured it in to the tray, you could add a few leaves for decoration.Then you could pop the cube in a cup and add cold water or even hot water.

 

Cold tea on a hot day is lovely, but it has to be made well or else it tastes too bitter.

 

The flowers look pretty :)

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abcdefg

Looks very appealing. Thanks!

 

I usually drink those herbal teas hot, but maybe this would be a good summer-time variation. Think I would have to follow your suggestion of brewing them initially as a proper infusion, and then cooling the liquid before freezing to capture more flavor.

 

Interesting, you say it doesn't work with leaf teas, what if you brewed up a potful and then poured it in to the tray, you could add a few leaves for decoration.Then you could pop the cube in a cup and add cold water or even hot water.

 

Sure, Shelley. You can do that. Forget about the tea leaves. They don't look good here. Just freeze some properly brewed tea. Use those ice cubes to cool off your glass of ice tea once you have prepared it like you want it. The ice cubes won't dilute it like ordinary, made-from-water ice cubes would.

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Teasenz
Cold tea on a hot day is lovely, but it has to be made well or else it tastes too bitter.

Most likely it won't easily taste bitter, because it's brewed at low temperature. Have you heard of cold brewing? that's getting popular these days because there's almost no bitterness at all. Basically you brew the tea in cold water, and put it for about 9 hours in the fridge. The lower temperature is compensated with steeping time.

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Teasenz

For decoration purposes I'm sure it will make the cubes looks good though. Any food pictures can use a touch of green, so use some green tea!

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Alex_Hart

Nice post! I do a similar thing with cooking herbs when I'm trying to preserve them, although I freeze them in olive oil (fresh basil is a big one since my garden produces faster than I can use it!).

 

I might try this by brewing some green tea and freezing it minus the tea leaves, but add in the flowers. Quite fond of flowers in my green tea during the summer months. 

 

Do you only put the cubes into tea, or have you tried it in a glass of water? While it will be rather diluted, wonder if you could brew strong enough tea to impart some flavor on those lazy days. 

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Teasenz

If you look at the flowers I used in the pictures, I can say that the snow chrysanthemum released pretty much flavor in water as well. The other chrysanthemum also did pretty well. Rose flower tea cubes were more plain, I think I'll use those to aromatize my black teas. I also tried jujube and goji, they do pretty well, and it's nice to blend these cubes with the chrysanthemum cubes.

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Shelley

Cold brewing is a new one to me. Seems counter intuitive, something seems to demand heat for brewing.

 

I may have to try this. I usually drink my tea very weak because I don't like the stewed bitter taste of strong tea. This might just be for me.

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Teasenz

@Shelley, what you could also try is to brew your tea at a lower temperature (around 80 C) and increase the steeping time a little bit. This chances the chemical reaction of the leaves in the water. Basically the components that cause bitterness, won't be exacted as much. Cold brewing is basically taking this concept to the extreme.

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Alex_Hart

Nice tips, Teasenz! Will give it a try soon!

 

Shelley, cold brewing is on the rise for coffee as well. "Kyoto" style coffee brewing is all the rage here in NYC (or was a year ago) for the same reasons - reduced bitterness which results in an increased appreciation for the nuance of the coffee bean. Seems tea drinkers and coffee brewers are hunting for the same golden egg!

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Shelley

I will try the lower temperature brewing at about 80c. All my life I have had the "water must be boiling" mantra in my head.

 

I have disregarded one other rule I was taught, bring the water to the leaves, I actually put the leaves in after the water is in the cup, I found I get a better result.

 

Aha....light bulb moment, I guess the water is not at 100c by the time I put the leaves in.

 

Definitely going to try at a lower temperature.

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abcdefg
...All my life I have had the "water must be boiling" mantra in my head.

 

Oh, Shelley, I'm so disappointed. You need to re-read an earlier discussion in which you participated. Consider it this weekend's remedial Chinese Tea homework! (smile)

 

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/48541-how-to-make-green-tea-that-isnt-bitter/

 

If in doubt about the specific tea you're making, it's always best to err on the side of cooler water, lower temperatures. The thing to remember is that if your water is too hot, it ruins green tea and makes it nearly undrinkable. But if your water is not quite hot enough, you can still get a decent cup by just letting it steep longer.

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Shelley

@abcdefg yes, but we are talking here about not even hot water, cold water brewing just seems so alien when I have had the "water must be boiling" hammered in to my head all these years in the UK.

 

Using water at 90c or even 80c is still not as different as doing it with cold water and/or even freezing it.

 

I will however reread that topic thoroughly as my tea homework :(:shock:

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abcdefg

Haha! Yes, I see the difference. But it still sounds like a refresher might be helpful, since using water that isn't too hot is so very important in making good-tasting green tea.

 

To recap: Tea leaves are the father of a good cup of tea, while the water is the mother. Both are essential to the process.

 

Once you have selected good quality tea leaves and good quality water, the three main variables in producing an enjoyable cup of tea are: 1. The amount of tea leaves to use, 2. Steeping time, and 3. Water temperature. You have a fair amount of latitude with the first two variables, but water which is too hot can ruin the cup and make it nearly undrinkable. (Talking about green tea here.)

 

Americans, I don't know for sure about British, often brew tea which doesn't taste very good, then cover up its flaws by adding milk and sugar. If it is being drunk as iced tea, then the addition of lemon and sugar can similarly disguise many flaws.

 

I don't know much about "cold brewing" tea, so I have not said anything about that method. In mainland China, people drink most beverages hot or room temperature for complex TCM health reasons as well as just out of habit. (Even true of cola and beer.) If you ask for some water in a restaurant here, it will be hot. If you ask for some water in Texas, it will be cold.

 

I remember cold tea being offered in Taiwan as well as Hong Kong, but just don't have any insight into preparation technique. Sounds like @Teasenz knows a lot about it, so I'm glad he or she can guide all of us on that.

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Shelley

I remember reading that even in times of little i.e.; no money for tea, boiled water was still drunk ( after it had cooled a bit of course, no burnt mouths :shock: ) this was said to have contributed greatly to the overall health of people because bugs and diseases were killed in the boiling process.

 

 I would also boil then cool any water I would use for cold brewing, couple of reasons, my water here is very hard and my kettle has filters that trap a lot of the minerals and chemicals in the water and the water doesn't taste very nice before boiling, it tastes much better boiled then cooled.

 

I don't drink the water out of our tap, i even hesitate to use for brushing teeth but do.

 

Here in the UK tea is often brewed so strong, people joke that they like it so strong the spoon can stand up in the cup, or that it can crawl out of the cup and runaway.

Lots of milk and sugar is used to make this concoction drinkable. Lemon is not used as much here as in USA but in the US they also don't brew it so strong usually. It can be quite refreshing with lemon. Lipton's bag on a string, dangling in the cup, memories, memories :)

 

Here in the UK lemon is used to make iced tea. It it is not to my taste, the recipe usually calls for a pot of very strong tea cooled and diluted with water and ice cubes, left to cool then add freshly squeezed lemon and lots of sugar, but the bitterness of the strong tea is not pleasant.

 

Well all that typing has mad me thirsty, off to make tea :)

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Alex_Hart

I've been trying to convert my 86 year old grandmother to proper tea for a year now. Brought home boxes of it from China thinking I would receive her endless thanks. After all, isn't her favored Lipton and Tetleys from China/India, but of inferior quality and bagged?

 

Ah, how foolish I was. Pu'er received a dirty look but not even a sip, green tea was quickly declared seaweed juice and oolong was vastly improved after the addition of milk and sugar. Old habits die hard.

 

@Shelley - you could invest in a water filter. NYC water is delicious (hence our pizza and bagels being the best in the world!), but I went to school in a town where the water left white streaks on my pots, graininess in my hair, and chalky lines in the shower. Boiling improved the taste, but barely. I bought a Sawyer water filter for camping and tried it. That made a difference. I would note that camping filters are vastly different from the typical home filters - things like "Brita" (not sure if this is just American) only clean out some off-flavors. Camping filters get rid of almost everything except viruses due to its small pore size, and makes even Chinese water safe.

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Shelley

Hehe, good try with your grandmother but at that age probably very set in her ways.

 

The kettle has a Brita filter, it is good enough to trap the minerals and if you leave water to stand for a while quite a lot of the chemicals will dissipate. But we drink too much tea and coffee to hang around for all that so the filter in the kettle is as good as it gets and it is okay.

 

My cats always leave their water for a few hours after I give it to them, I have been told they can smell/taste the chlorine and stuff in it, but it goes away after awhile. Smart cats :)

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