It’s been just over a month since Derrick and I first arrived here in Shenzhen, China. In a subtropical climate refreshing drinks are always in demand, and we’ve been sampling teas and fruit teas from different local vendors since day one. Now, a bit more settled into our new home and inspired by my experiences so far, I’m starting to experiment with new recipes of my own. The best idea I’ve had so far: cold brew tea with fruit!
Why Cold Brew Tea?
I am a huge fan of tea for many reasons (some of which I talk about here: 5 Reasons Why I Drink Tea.) I had never actually experimented with cold brew tea until I came here, but it just occurred to me kind of naturally one day, as I was boiling water in our apartment, sweating, yet reluctant to turn on the air conditioning… and I thought wouldn’t this be the perfect time and place to try cold brewing? Indeed.
So far I’ve experimented mostly with rooibos and other herbal combinations and it has all turned out wonderful. Just add a little more of the tea/herbs than you would normally use for hot tea, leave it to steep for at least several hours (or overnight) in the fridge, and the flavor will be very smooth.
Fruit Tea Inspiration
Fruit teas are ubiquitous here in Shenzhen. Some of them are really tasty, but I’ve grown a bit concerned about their sugar content and artificial flavoring. Many places let you choose how much sugar you want (0% is always my choice), but not all, and some places use different types of syrups instead of or in addition to real fruits. (I also assume that none of the fruit is organic, so I’m better off making my own teas for that reason alone.)
The best fruit tea I have had here was at HeyTea, which seems to have nearly a cult-like following with people lining up for hours to get their fix. Their flagship tea is actually “cheese tea” – which I honestly don’t care to sample – but their fruit teas are wonderfully refreshing and rich in fruit.
This gave me the inspiration to add fruit to my cold brew teas! I love that I am in control of the ingredients and the options seem endless. With no added sugar or flavoring, my teas are more subtle than those bought from the various tea brewers here, but I am perfectly fine with that. In fact I prefer it that way!
Have you tried cold brewing or adding fruit to your ice tea? Please share your tips and favorite combinations in the comments!
Curious about HeyTea and the Chinese tea market? See this article.