Summer is the time to repeat myself: no, iced tea is not a vulgar way for low rank teas! On the contrary, it is even high-grade teas that best match to it. Again I repeat myself, but there is no method, ideal recipe for preparing tea. There are a multitude of possibilities in adjusting the various brewing parameters, and various cold teas preparation methods are precisely some of this many possibilities, opportunities that may even be damn effective with some teas! !
Thus, this article is a continuation of my previous article about the preparation of Japanese tea.
1. “On the rocks”
The most universal solution, all teas kind of suit it well. It is also the fastest method. If the taste of the hot infusion and the proportion of ice is well balanced, we get a very good iced tea, balanced, with characteristics very similar to those of a conventional hot infusion. Instead of pouring directly from the teapot into the cups filled with ice, I advise to go before in a pitcher to cool down a little the tea.
In practice this is not always so simple, and the dosage is not easy to find. I would say this is a good way to get a good cup of tea, not too strong, large yunomi full of ice, a big teapot. Quickly done well done.
But this method is certainly not the one that will make the most of a tea. To get the best of leaves characteristics as an iced tea I would recommend the following preparations.
Examples of recommended teas “on the rocks”
– This is not the method I recommend in particular, but I would say fairly simple but powerful teas and rich in flavors like Yamakai cultivar sencha from Ôma or Takayama fit right.
– Sencha from Shimizu, Oku-yutaka: mountain tea with strength, good roasting and the sweet aromas of the cultivar.
2. Infusion with cold water, “mizudashi”
The simplest solution. Infusion with cold water in a teapot with a stronger leaves dosage than usual, 5 to 15 minutes steeping depending on the tea. This is the method that takes the most time, and also has the disadvantage of having to use mineral water, as water is not boiled, tap water should be avoided (or it should be at least filtered). This is the method which the foremost umami, but also the flavors of some cultivars with particular scent. Very “green” tea, little roasted, or those with little umami flavor, aren’t very suitable. This is the solution of choice for fukamushi (which in addition will give a result very quickly), but also for high-end teas (indeed you will tell me, anyway a very high-end tea, can be infused in many different ways successfully), and kama-iri type teas with wilting and light oxidation.
Examples of teas recommended with mizudashi:
– Sencha from Ôkawa, Kogane-Midori, a perfect example, even more, mizudashi is by far the best method for this unusual tea. 2 or 3 cold infusions, then hot infusion.
– Wulong from Hon.yama, Kôju: this tea’s grappe flavors stand out especially in a cold infusion
– Sencha from Tamakawa, SôfûSencha from Tamakawa, Sôfû, in fact, this type of very fragrant cultivar gives amazing cold result. Same for the Kôshun from Tamakawa or Shimizu.
– Sencha from Yame, Oku-yutaka, it changes register, but with this type of shaded fukamushi with lots of umami, and here with the fruity aromas of Oku-yutaka the mizudashi give excellent results in a few minutes only.
– Smoked black tea from Shimada : smoked and peat flavors recalling whiskey appear extremely clear.
3. Quick Cooling
Small amount of hot water in the teapot, then adding ice directly in the pot within few seconds to cool down quickly, then let infuse a few minutes. This is a slightly more difficult method but maybe the one that gives the better results with most teas, with significant prior development of the flavors and fragrance after-taste. This is the method I recommend first.
Examples of teas recommended with quick cooling:
– Sencha from Tamakawa, Kôshun: yes, here’s again the Kôshun, but with this method it is really great.
– Sencha from Kawane, Oku-hikari: this excellent method can also be used for teas that seem more difficult to prepared as an iced tea.
– Tamaryokucha from Ureshino, Sayama Kaori: in the same vein as the Kawane.
– Sencha Mariko, Kôshun: Kôshun again !!! yes, it is a cultivar that is gaining much as an iced tea. Mariko’s one is less roasted than the previous, and a simple mizudashi is more difficult.
Etcetera, etcetera. Try it right, you will surely have a lot of good surprises!
4. Infusion with ice “kôridashi”
The luxury method. To be reserved for very good teas. Ice cubes are simply placed on top of the leaves. Just wait until it melts, even partially. This solution requires a little more patience. Of course umami is particularly enlighten, but also the length. This will not be the ideal once again for the very “green” teas. (It is a while even slower than the “susuridashi” method with which tea is infused in a tiny amount of cold water) .
Examples of teas recommended with “kôri-dashi”
– Tôbettô: it is anyway a tea that will be excellent regardless of preparation. But like this you will enjoy a different way yet its strength and softness.
– Sencha from Tamakawa, Yamakai: As the big brother Tôbettô, power and smoothness, plus superb aromas of Yamakai.
– Sencha from Wazuka, Saemidori: Very dense, but the strong sweetness of Saemidori ‘s umami is highlighted by the grassy aromas of this cultivar. This sencha is not shaded, one does not find the nori seaweed aromas that in my opinion are a bit annoying on a cold tea.
Finally, given the potential of “iced tea”, it would be a pity to enjoy it during the summer only …