Cold-Brewed Tisanes: Boricha and Beyond
July 13, 2014 2:58 PM   Subscribe

So this summer I have been loving the ease of cold-brewed, noncaffeinated herbal beverages, mixing up blends of hibiscus, rose petals, rooibos, mint, and other odds and ends. I'd like to expand my formulary by learning which herbals cold-brew well, and how they'd differ from hot-brew.

In particular, I have a lot of things I haven't even tried in a cold-brew yet, specifically:
* roasted barley. I adore boricha, but I get the impression that it doesn't cold-brew at all (and that cold-brew mugicha bags are "prepared" somehow). Is there a way to get my barley fix without mucking around heating water up and cooling it down?
* licorice root. In a fit of overoptimism, I bought a pound of licorice root, and I figure I ought to try it out to add a different flavor/aftertaste to my brews. I want to be wary of the potential ill health effects of glycyrrhizin, so clearly such use would be sparing.
* spices. How well would cloves, cinnamon sticks, ginger, or star anise flavor a cold-brewed tea? I know all of them can extract effectively in hot water, and if I need to do a simple-syrup-like extraction from them to put in with my tea, I could get behind that, but I do like the whole "put stuff in the fridge and relax" approach to making beverages by the gallon.
posted by jackbishop to Food & Drink (2 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
The only cold-brew spices I have tried are cinnamon stick and ginger (separately) and my results were very average. I much preferred slow simmering on the stove with water and either cinnamon or ginger (and sometimes a bit of sugar) and then letting cool down and then adding to whatever I had going on in the refrigerator. It just wasn't as tasty cold-brewed, sorry. Though if you do it without the sugar it is super easy, can be ignored while you are doing other chores, and just rinses out at the end very quickly, so don't be too discouraged!
posted by dawg-proud at 5:12 PM on July 13, 2014

I'm currently going through vast amounts of TeaSource's Red Berries, which is hibiscus and rose hips and various red berries - bilberries and elderberries both do very nicely cold-brewed.

Their other tisanes may give you some ideas for other things to try mixing together. A little licorice goes a *long* way - I drink TeaSource's Margaret's Soother regularly, which is mint and clove and licorice, and it's much more of the first two and not so much of the last.
posted by modernhypatia at 6:14 PM on July 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

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