I had first heard about throwing my leaves into a glass of cold water at the World Tea Expo I attended some weeks ago (at the start of the mercury retrograde phase, unsurprisingly). What I learned over the course of the several hours I was there, was mind boggling...but also, a sure sign that I needed just a bit more focus to become that tea sommelier or health expert, buying and tasting expert etc., in order to feel comfy professionally handling the leaf. And what drew my eye to the cold brewing practice was a company whose name I wished I could remember, that sold these wine bottle-shaped containers to steep tea in, for cold brewing only. The representative working the booth was kind enough to tell me about steeping the tea for several days. She let me taste a two day and a three day steep. This is where I first learned that the leaf would not become bitter as in a hot steep, where the brew would increase in flavor intensity at a much more rapid pace.
It was also believed that certain phytochemicals would not be manifest in a cold brew, but it seems to be that studies are showing otherwise. And what I found in flavor, was enough to help me make the switch to drinking cold greens for the major part of the summer.
I have been experimenting with all my flavors of Green tea in cold steeps. Cocomint green is rapidly winning my heart. Ten Ren's "403" green laced with ginseng, has an award-winning color and flavor when cold steeped. I love that I can package it in mason jars and walk away for days, and come back to a cold glass of it whenever my heart desires such relief. I was a little bit disappointed in the gyokuro, whose green color I wanted to enjoy more so. So far it seems to be the only green tea I still must enjoy hot, if I want the color. It really is part of the enjoyment for me, whether the tea has a distinctive green color and taste.
I was less interested in steeping black or white teas for the potency I attain when they are heated. Powerful medicine, these brews...