In this episode, Cary and Brendan give a review their first time cold brewing tea in one of the Cold Brew Avenue cold brew systems. Historically brewing coffee in their systems, they found the results in cold brewing tea to be very pleasing.
Highlights & Takeaways
Easy to cold brew tea
Uses a lot less product than when cold brewing coffee
The Cold Brew Avenue Cold Brew System drains quickly and cleanly
Episode 33 Transcript
Brendan Hanson: Today on Drips & Draughts, Cold-brewed tea.
Welcome to the Drips & Draughts Podcast where we help you bring your craft to draught. From soda to beer and from coffee to kombucha, we’ll discuss making your favorite craft beverage in small or large batches and how to best serve it on draught.
Brendan: All right. Welcome back to the Drips & Draughts Podcast. As always, I’m Brendan Hanson joined by Cary in the studio today here.
Cary: I’m back.
Brendan: Back, back, back. Before we get into today’s episode about cold brewing tea, just a quick takeaway from our previous episode, episode 32, dripsanddraughts.com/32 with Klatch coffee. One thing I really took away from that was the fact that they brewed nine different batches of cold brew and compared them. They basically had a competition before they even submitted one cold brew to the America’s Best Cold Brew Challenge.
Cary: That’s crazy. They deserve to win that. I wonder how many other companies actually brewed more than one type of bean or something.
Brendan: Yes. I actually asked them that, and they said, I’m assuming, they assumed that other companies did more than one, but-
Cary: Did a little bit of research.
Brendan: -they said they were pretty safe to say that nobody else did nine.
Brendan: They absolutely deserve to win by doing that. I made a couple notes here. We get a lot of questions about people calling in, “Hey, I’m starting a cold brew company. What ratio should I use?” I tell everybody, “Here’s a base, but you’re going to want to adjust it up or down based on the water you’re using, the temperature that you’re brewing out.” There’s so many variables.
Cary: Everyone’s different, yes.
Brendan: Yes. The beans–
Cary: What ratio, what roasts.
Cary: I was just on the phone for about a half an hour with a guy going through that-
Brendan: Talking to somebody on the phone?
Cary: Yes. It’s just– it’s crazy how different each one is.
Brendan: It’s the same as brewing beer. If you have, with coffee especially, if you have hard water that you’re brewing with that’s full of minerals, you’re not going to extract as much coffee flavor, I don’t think. I don’t know for certain, but–
Cary: Where did you hear that? [laughs]
Brendan: I’m making this up on the fly. But I mean if you’ve got a very pure water, you’re probably going to get a lot more coffee flavoring too. There’s more room for absorption.
Brendan: There’s so many variables that come into play. If you’re wondering, “What ratio should I start with?” Just look online and start with– There’s no golden ratio, I don’t think.
Cary: Yes. At least we haven’t heard from anyone.
Brendan: This works every time. It’s perfect.
Cary: A lot of people think theirs is the best of course, but–
Brendan: As they should.
Brendan: What’s going on here? All right. There we go. Getting into cold brew– Actually, before we get into cold brewing tea, our iTunes reviews are lacking.
Cary: Get on it, people.
Brendan: It really doesn’t take long. Just hop onto iTunes next time you’re downloading an episode and–
Cary: To jump back to the Klatch thing real quick. Was it nine different beans they used or the same bean at different roast levels or did they?–
Brendan: They used all different coffee beans.
Cary: All different beans so probably different levels-
Brendan: They did a couple blends, couple single origins. Yes.
Cary: Did they all do the same temperature for everyone so it’s a consistent extraction across the board?
Brendan: I think it was the same. You know we didn’t really get into that, but I think based on talking to them before and after the show, I think it was more or less the same process for each one.
Cary: Seems like it would have to be to be a fair comparison or extraction from each bean to compare to the other.
Brendan: Yes. We actually got into talking about the competition itself. Nitro coffee versus Flat coffee versus–
Cary: Right, because we were hounding that in a sense.
Brendan: We talked about that. They thought it was cool because it was like, “Do whatever’s best for your cold brew. Serve me the best cold brew, whether it’s nitro or whether it’s not. Do what makes it taste best.” That changed my mind on what we were saying. We were saying do nitro category, do a flat category.
Brendan: It’s interesting hearing that side as well.
Cary: That is interesting. I still feel like it’s unbalanced though, doing that.
Brendan: Yes. I guess as somebody like myself, I’m not a huge– I’ve never tasted or cupped coffee to where I know what I’m looking for. They were talking about, “Bring out the essences of the coffee and show me what makes that coffee great.”
Brendan: Jury still out there, I suppose.
Cary: Right. Two world champion baristas, they know what they’re talking about.
Brendan: Tons of knowledge. They were awesome, man. They were so down-to-earth and never looked at me like I was an idiot.
Brendan: I got to appreciate that [laughs].
Cary: That happens all the time too.
Brendan: All day, man, working with you [laughs].
Cary: The heck are you talking about? [laughs]
Brendan: All the eye rolls. Today, cold brewing tea. We’re just getting into this.
Cary: Yes. This has been fun, because we knew our system would be great for this. We just haven’t really done it. We have people doing it all the time. This is one of the first times we’ve actually tried it and it was really cool.
Brendan: Yes. We’ve sold quite a few of these to tea companies and most of them just take them and run. They’re happy with them, happy of the results. We thought we’d try. We thought we’d do a little batch cold brew tea. We did little batch, 10 gallons.
Cary: Little batch, yes.
Brendan: [laughs] Small batch.
Cary: We have two five young kegs worth of tea on draught now. One we’re keeping flat, or obviously just pouring over ice. It’s been 70, 80, 90 degrees out here in the Southern California for the last month.
Brendan: Yes, finally cooling down though.
Cary: Gosh. Yes. It sounded nice to have on tap and then another five gallons of nitro tea we’re trying, because we got a lot of clients saying nitro tea is the new thing now, too.
Brendan: Yes. I think tea is a little more versatile because tea, depending on the type of tea, I think you could actually carbonate and serve sparkling tea as well, which we’ll have to try that. But right now, everything’s on nitrogen. We’ve got a flat one and we’ve got a nitro.
Cary: I wonder how that affects the flavor of tea like coffee. When you introduce any type of CO2 to coffee, it bitters the coffee, it sours it. We still have people calling us, saying, “I’m getting my beer gas,” which is typically at 25% CO2 to 75% nitro blend. We made that mistake early on. We tried that and we’re like, “What the heck is going on here? Your mouth–”
Brendan: It’s good for a day or two.
Cary: Yes, and then your mouth feels all sticky. It gets weird bubbles in your mouth. It’s just not right. Yes, that will be interesting to try too.
Brendan: With tea, you could always put a little simple syrup in the bottom of the glass and then pour the sparkling tea over it.
Brendan: We will definitely have to try that, probably not until spring time though.
Cary: Yes. We did a black tea, passion fruit flavored black tea.
Brendan: Smelled like snozzberries in here for a day.
Cary: It did. We opened the stuff up and we’re just like, “Holy cow”. We bought two pounds of it because we knew we had to use less, but we didn’t realize how much less we had to use versus coffee. A 10-gallon batch of ready-to-drink coffee, what would we do, seven pounds or-
Brendan: Anywhere from six to eight pounds of coffee. Yes. Just depending on our mood.
Cary: -and 11 to 12 gallons of water for the ground absorption are lost there. We did– what is it–
Brendan: We did 10 gallons of water and we put less than a pound of tea in there.
Cary: Yes. 11.3 ounces. That equates to two grams per eight ounce cup of water. It just seems like nothing is in there, but it was amazing how– because we were pulling off and cycling through our system every hour just to see the color change and see how quickly it was absorbing.
Brendan: It’s almost immediate.
Cary: It really was. Within two hours, I poured myself a little glass of tea. It was a little light but, man, it was good already. I was like, “Wow.” There’s no heat here. I think it was reading at about 72 degrees in here.
Brendan: Yes, we keep it cool.
Cary: Yes [laughs].
Brendan: We keep it cool on the office [laughs].
Cary: But yes. It was just really amazing.
Brendan: Yes. Compared to coffee, a lot less product.
Cary: Right, a lot less. Cheap to produce compared to coffee, cold brewed coffee in a sense.
Brendan: It’s turned out pretty good and then draining the system, coffee, depending on how many coffee grounds, how heavier concentrate is could take anywhere from five to 15 minutes to 20 depending on what system size you’re using all the way from 15 to 50. But this, I have a video. It took us about three and a half minutes to empty 10 gallons out of it.
Cary: Yes. Virtually no loss, like loss of water absorbing into the grinds or here the tea leaves.
Cary: What you get in is literally what you get out. Maybe you might be talking about a few cups or something.
Brendan: Yes. 16, 32 ounces at the most.
Cary: I would say, yes.
Brendan: Yes. Gosh, like I said before, I made the office smell pretty amazing for– [crosstalk]
Cary: It did.
Brendan: It helps get rid of that burnt coffee smell that we had here [laughs] from episode 29.
Cary: [laughs] My clothes smelled like that forever. I think I showered, woke up the next day, my nose hairs were singed. Man, that was brutal.
Brendan: Yes. We’ve got a lot of comments on email, social media. People saying I had a laugh at you guys for firing that thing up like you did in your office.
Cary: Yes, and doing a dark roast.
Brendan: You got to come to our office and see the area that this was in, and you’ll probably laugh even harder.
Brendan: Before we get into talking about cold brew versus hot brewed tea, I’m going to open this beer that we got here. This is–
Cary: Yes, we got this at the little tap room down the street, McGregor’s.
Brendan: Shout-out to McGregor’s. That’s where we got the Garage Project beer or Garish Project from New Zealand.
Brendan: Shout-out to Crocky’s Cold Brew as well, tag them in this. They’re just getting going. It’s just going to be summer down there. They’re just starting to go big. Yes, 51/50 by Ironfire Brewing.
Cary: Temecula, got some other friends down in Temecula. Yes, this is a good beer. It’s, man, 95 IBUs in this. I wouldn’t say it necessarily-
Brendan: It’s a lot of hot.
Cary: -feels that way. IBUs, for most of our coffee people, are International Bittering Units. It’s how they measure how much or how bitter the beer is.
Brendan: How much acidity you’re getting out of the hops.
Cary: Right. Typically, with really strong IPAs you’re going to have a lot of them, and 95 is a pretty high number.
Brendan: This can could go right up there with that Train Wreck Red Ale that we got from Matty.
Cary: I know, yes, it’s very similar to that, like that hand-sketched artwork.
Brendan: Yes, the skeleton.
Cary: Cool, the top on this thing. This is completely black. It’s like powder-coated black–
Brendan: Black top.
Cary: Yes, It’s really cool.
Brendan: Yes, good beer, Ironfire. Thanks. Have to have you guys on. I think season two of this show should be dedicated to beers and breweries. We should start getting brewers on the show.
Cary: That’d be fun.
Brendan: Let us know what you think of that idea.
Cary: All the coffee people are like–
Brendan: “I’ll stop listening.”
Brendan: All right. Cold brewed tea versus hot brewed tea. I’ve got to think that hot brewed tea is what pretty much all of us drink.
Brendan: I think almost all tea is probably hot brewed and then served cold. Then you could probably throw a lot of “Cold brewed coffee” into that same category where there’s still a lot of people that are brewing coffee hot and just serving it over ice, calling it cold brew.
Cary: Yes, or iced coffee, iced tea.
Brendan: Right, iced coffee. Iced tea is, I guess, historically when I’ve made it, I don’t make tea a lot, but it was always brewed hot and then chilled, put in the fridge, poured over ice.
Brendan: Cold brew tea, I don’t think that’s something that’s really caught on yet. It’s out there. People do it. I know that we’ve got a few people using the system that are doing it. We’ve now done it. It’s turned out good. It’s smooth. Compared to hot brewed tea, we didn’t — we should have brewed some of this hot or maybe in the future episode.
Cary: We can still do it. We bought two pounds and we used what? A third of it? About a third of it.
Brendan: Yes, we got plenty left.
Car: We can still compare though what we have on draught.
Brendan: Exactly. Just like cold brewed coffee, cold brewed tea is brewed at room temperature or below, and it’s done for an extended period of time. Noticeably different taste is what I’ve read from a lot of people. I’ve only tried our cold brew. I haven’t compared it to the hot brew, but it’s smooth. I like it a lot.
Cary: Right. When you say extended period of time, like I was saying, we put that in and after an hour or two, we were like, “Wow. There’s so much flavor out of this.” Versus coffee, you’re not getting that.
Brendan: No, it’s still just going to be dirty water.
Cary: Yes, cold brewed tea, I think, you’re pretty much done in, I would say, 12 hours-ish. We let ours set for a little bit longer than that. We just weren’t ready with our kegs and stuff.
Brendan: It was almost 24 hours.
Cary: But regardless, good, ready to go.
Brendan: Yes. What’d you read? You looked up a little bit of as far as the process of like the steeping time for cold brewing?
Cary: I did. I didn’t find too much definitive answers out there. There’s people saying, “When I do it, I just throw it in a glass, in the fridge overnight, I leave mine on the countertop overnight. It’s good in the morning.” It leads me to believe most people are just doing like 12 hour-ish. But from what I was gathering, from everything I was reading, it was like eight to 12 hours for cold brewed tea.
Brendan: Yes. I read some that said as low as six hours. Like all you need is six hours. A lot of people said in the fridge. It’s got to be in the fridge. I’ve talked to coffee clients who were saying, “You’ve got to do it at 38 degrees.” I was happy with the room temperature one. We’ll have to empty out the kegerator sometime and– Right, we’re never going to be empty all those beers out of there and do a cold batch. [chuckles]
Car: Going up.
Brendan: Actually, we’ll get that glycol cooler going. We could do a cold batch in one of these systems. Yes, 24 hours turned out really tasty. I’m happy with it. I took a bunch home and, yes, the girls like it.
Cary: Yes, my wife came by with a bunch of cups of ice yesterday. Little–
Brendan: Filled them up.
Cary: – organic agave primed in the bottom of those, came and just poured herself all these draught iced teas, man. She was loving it.
Brendan: [laughs] Why don’t we do this real quick? Why don’t we pause this and pour a flat one and a nitro one?
Brendan: We’ll take a picture. We’ll put it with the show notes. We’ll see what these look like and how the taste differ, if at all. All right, so we’re back. We just poured two glasses of cold brew tea. Sitting there, being filmed right now. We’re doing a time-lapse of the still one versus the nitro pour.
Cary: Yes, it’s crazy. The still one or flat iced tea is like–
Brendan: Just looks darker.
Cary: Yes, much darker. It’s kind of like same effect of coffee, but you never see it this light. It’s like apple juice and then almost like–
Brendan: Looks almost like a brown– not a brown ale, but a darker like IPA or something a little more multi versus a blonde ale.
Cary: Yes, or like a whiskey almost. The flat one and then the other one is just kind of like an apple juice almost.
Brendan: The Nitro actually looks like a body intense.
Cary: It does. Yes, really light, really light color.
Brendan: That could fool somebody at a pub.
Cary: The white– [laughs] Yes, it could. It’s got about a half-inch head of just pure white foam on top of this thing. Looks so good.
Brendan: Yes, looks pretty.
Cary: Finally settling, it was getting some of that cascade like a typical nitro coffee does, but it’s not as prominent. You don’t see it as much, because there’s not as much contrast in there.
Brendan: Yes, not as much color. But, we didn’t use a quick cascade lid on that. It’s only been under pressure for about 24 hours, and it was cascading pretty good. We did shake the keg up a bit.
Cary: We shook it up a bit, yes. Even now, it’s almost settled and they seem like quite a bit different in color. It might be just the lighting from my position, but–
Brendan: That cup on the left is obviously different shape. It’s deeper across the body of it.
Cary: Pretty cool.
Brendan: It is. We’ll put this video on YouTube and we’ll upload it to the show notes. This will be– release is tomorrow, dripsanddraughts.com/33 for this episode about cold brewed tea. I’ll just crank this out when we’re done here and just put it up. Quickest release yet.
Cary: Nice. We should try this. Does it look like it’s settled?
Brendan: Yes, go ahead and stop that time-lapse and we will do a little taste test here. We did a ready-to-drink version of the tea. I suppose you could do a concentrated version of the tea, just like you do with coffee, but this one was ready to drink. We used right around an ounce of tea per gallon of water. If we were to do a concentrate, I don’t know how much more tea we would add whether we’d adjust the steeping time. We will definitely play around with it, because we got more tea. I think there are a lot of other tea flavors that we wanted to try.
Cary: This is crazy. I’m just smelling the two right now. I don’t know if it’s because we’ve had coffee in our draught lines. We cleaned them pretty well before we did this, but the flat one smells a little bit more–
Brendan: Yes, [unintelligible 00:18:41] in there for about 30-45 minutes yesterday.
Cary: Just a little more harsh. Then the Nitro one, I don’t know if it’s just that the bubbles aerating coming up, it’s so much more like tea and then the passion fruit tropical aroma.
Brendan: I’m so intrigued watching him taste these. [laughs]
Cary: That is good. Whoa.
Brendan: [unintelligible 00:19:04]
Cary: So different. So different.
Brendan: I’m going to have to swing the mic. Rearrange. All right. I got the nitro tea in my right hand. Wow, it is floral.
Cary: Try the flat one first.
Brendan: You really don’t get as much nose off of it.
Cary: No, that’s what I was saying, like the tropical and tea flavor. The smell seems a little more harsh, like you just don’t get as much aroma coming off.
Brendan: Yes, and the taste didn’t pop in my mouth. That’s tasty.
Cary: That’s good.
Brendan: It’s weird though, because it’s gotten to the point where it’s just about flat underneath, but that —
Cary: You’ve got a quarter inch of just milky cream on the top of this thing. You get a little bit of that every time you get a sip and it makes it like this creamy tea, ice cold.
Brendan: I wonder if we’re to nitrogenate that longer or more, used in the lid–
Cary: Is that the correct term? Have we decided on that?
Brendan: That’s where everybody is going.
Cary: I would say nitrogenate.
Cary: [Laughs] Okay.
Brendan: You want one of these back?
Cary: No, I’ll finish my beer first and then–
Brendan: That’s tasty.
Cary: I know. More caffeine, I already had a couple coffees today.
Brendan: What do you think about doing a concentrate version of tea?
Cary: I think that’s a great idea. If you are going to do flat, I think the same rules apply for coffee, right?
Brendan: You’re not going to pour it over ice or mix it with–
Cary: Exactly. You can mix it with water. You can brew. Your keg will last longer if you’re going through that much more.
Cary: I think that’s what Starbucks does. They have a concentrated tea. You go in there, they’ll pour like a quarter of the cup of tea filled up with water, the rest of the way, top it with ice.
Brendan: Going back to the brewing method. I wonder if that’s hot brewed tea that’s–
Brendan: -just heavily brew.
Cary: They have been doing it that for how long? I don’t think-
Brendan: They just get 180 degree water, throwing a bunch of tea.
Cary: Throw it in the fridge and–
Brendan: Yes. Pour it out.
Cary: Overnight or whatever.
Brendan: Let it cool down and that’s what they serve. One thing we got to look into a lot more is the shelf life of cold-brewed tea.
Brendan: I was reading a few things about sun-brewed tea. How there is potential harmful bacteria-
Cary: That can be develop, right?
Brendan: -from the sun. I don’t know why that’s a lot different not exposing it to sun. I thought UV was able to help kill. We have to look into that or get somebody on the show who’s got some knowledge in that.
Cary: Call to any tea experts who’ve been cold brewing. Hit us up and come on the show.
Brendan: Yes, let us know. What’s our number? 888-620-2739, extension 6 for Drips & Draughts? I think so.
Cary: It’s a good question.
Brendan: Something like that. Just call that number. You’ll get one of us.
Cary: Push that button once you get there.
Brendan: Push the button.
Cary: What else?
Brendan: Not much. This process was simple. It was just like cold brewing coffee and filling the kegs.
Cary: Yes. Then the cleanup, we can talk about a little bit. We talked about how much you put in as far as tea versus coffee. They just fell out, the tea leaves or whatever. They’re dried already overnight. It just so little amount of material that you use to get such a large amount of product out of it. It’s really cool, really affordable.
Brendan: Yes, compared with coffee. We get some people who grind a lot finer than they should. It’s just like mud, trying to get that out of there. I scooped most it out with my hand. That was pretty much it. Just ready to hose out and do again.
Brendan: Got our UPS guy out here. He wants to pick up some cold brew systems for your people.
Cary: Circling in the building.
Brendan: All right. I think that’s it on the cold-brewed tea episode.
Cary: Yes, yes. Excited about it. Love to learn more about it. Especially shelf-life. Potential hazards or dangers. Things that can arise by cold brewing or shelf-life. Things like that. Let us know if you guys have experience with this and we’d love to have you on.
Brendan: Hit us up Twitter, Instagram or Drips & Draughts. Let us know, we’re going to be experimenting a lot more. I think we are going to try some other flavors of tea and we’ll definitely do a concentrate as well.
Cary: I’m bummed we didn’t get into this a few months ago when it was like 100 degrees out. It’s finally starting to cool down. It’s like iced tea.
Brendan: We saved ourselves some money, because we didn’t have to buy that ice machine we’re looking at yesterday.
Cary: That’s true.
Brendan: Get the ice machine for the office.
Cary: Ice machine in here now. Set up a whole filtration line to that.
Brendan: All right. Is that it?
Cary: I think so.
Brendan: All right. You’ve been listening to the Drips & Draughts podcast. Thanks to Cary Hanson for joining me. I’m Brendan. We’ll see you again next Friday.
Brendan: Are you looking to learn more about cold brew and draught coffee? Join us in the cold brew avenue private community to connect with and learn from other cold brew and draught coffee professionals. Plus, get access to exclusive content such as eBooks, how-to videos, buyer’s guides and more. You can learn more and apply for membership at forum.coldbrewavenue.com.
Thanks to Keg Outlet for sponsoring this podcast. Thank you to everyone who’s contributed questions and to you for tuning in. Thank you for listening. That does it for this week. But looking forward to seeing you again for the next episode of Drips & Draughts.
[00:25:53] [END OF AUDIO]
Mentioned in this Show
Cold Brew System
51/50 IPA by Ironfire Brewing
Trainwreck Red Ale
Crocky’s Cold Brew