Green tea is delicious, but an acquired taste. While it's usually served hot, some people like it cold. Iced, actually. Is it good though ? Is it okay to drink cold green tea ?
Depending on what part of the world you're from, the question might sound either silly, or very serious.
So can you drink green tea cold ?
Yes, you can drink green tea when it's cold. Iced, even. The taste of freshly brewed green tea is a bit different than cold green tea, but the health benefits and overall effect are the same.
Some parts of the world (particularly Asia) only drink green tea hot, as it was originally meant to. But the Western countries have started loving the cold green tea, and they're not wrong for doing so.
It all depends on your individual taste, and how much you like cold tea in general. But let's go through the hot and the cold, shall we ?
Hot green tea seems to have more benefits
Apparently the antioxidants green tea is famous for happen to be more potent in their hot form. So if that's what you're after when drinking green tea, then it would be wise to drink it hot.
If green tea health benefits is what you're after, you'll also need to consume it regularly, about 3-5 cups a day.
Caffeine seems to be stronger when the tea is hot too, so that's another bonus for hot green tea.
As for the fat-burning properties of green tea ? Again, stronger when the tea is hot.
These properties are still there in a cold green tea. They're just not as effective.
This is mostly because the way the tea is brewed. You see, green tea is a very sensitive tea. It's meant to be extracted by water of 80 C/176 F temperature, for about 3 minutes. Depending on the tea quality, it might need more time.
But, more time or a higher temperature can result in a very bitter green tea. Which won't end up in your stomach too often.
So you can brew your green tea hot, and then just drink it iced. It's just that you'll lose some of its potency when the tea cools down. The taste isn't affected too much, though.
Cold green tea seems to be the preferred drink, though
It just so happens that cold green tea is the preferred drink in some parts of the world. Especially in places like the U.S. iced green tea is a summer favorite, with fruits added into it for additional flavor.
While that's not wrong, it's a different end-product from the cup of hot green tea most other people know.
If you do end up drinking cold brewed green tea, you should know that iced green tea has significantly less caffeine than hot green tea. This is mostly because caffeine is temperature-dependent, and most iced green teas are not home-made.
Always make your own green tea, at home
You can work around this by making your own green tea at home, which I strongly recommend. As long as you know how to boil water, you know how to make tea.
Remember to stop your water just before it boils, and let it sit for a minute or two. You can be sure it's about 80 C then, or you can use a thermometer to read the water.
Eyeballing it will be enough though. All you have to be careful for is that they water is not boiling hot, since that will give you a bitter tea.
And be sure to only leave the tea in for 3-5 minutes. Some teas might need a bit less than 5 minutes for a hot brew, or they might go bitter as well. If you're unsure, you can always taste the tea with a teaspoon.
Once you're happy with the tea you've made, you can either drink it on the spot or store it in the fridge. I recommend you read up on how long tea lasts in the fridge.
If you're opting for a cold-brew method, you're going to have a slightly different story. And end-product. For a cold brew you're going to need cold or room-temp water, and 10-12 hours. The way cold brewing works is that you're letting the tea steep for much longer than usual, but at a much slower rate.
This is usually done to obtain a slightly different flavor from the tea leaves, and to preserve some of the health benefits of the tea. What's that, I just said you lose them if the tea cools down ?
You do, but only the ones that have been extracted by the high temperature. Some properties are better when extracted cold. Funny how tea works.
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Can you drink any other tea cold ?
You can drink pretty much any other tea cold. It's a matter of taste more than one of health benefits. When it comes to tea, keep in mind that it's always a light extract of whatever properties you're trying to obtain.
To get the full benefits of green tea (or any other tea) you'd need to drink 3-5 cups of strong tea every day for weeks to feel any effects. So do not worry about that one cup of tea, if it should be cold or hot. It's just one cup, it won't do you much harm, or save you from an illness.
What does matter, however is whether you add sugar or any other sweetener to your tea. This is coming from someone who does put sugar in her coffee and tea, mind you.
If you're looking for the antioxidants in green tea, adding sugar won't help at all. It'll almost neutralize the effects, actually. This is another reason I recommend only drinking home brewed tea.
Commercial bottled tea has a ridiculous amount of sugar, almost as much as soda. While this is easier for some people to enjoy the taste, it robs the tea of its properties. Not to mention how potent the mixture really is (spoiler, it's often not).
Just stick to your own pot of tea at home and brew it as strong or light as you like.
Cold tea is just fine, as well as is hot tea. To each their own. This is something that you'll find everyone has an opinion on. Some people will think you're a monster for suggesting such a drink. Some people will nod knowingly and ask what's your favorite flavor.
I for one drink my tea hot, I always have. I used to drink bottled green tea from various brands in college, as an alternative to soda. And it actually helped me quit soda, so yay ! But that's about the only good it did me.
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