Cold brew tea in 6 easy steps!
Use our Darjeeling black tea for the best results!
- Place tea leaves or teabags in a large pitcher
- Pour cold, filtered water
- Set aside in the refrigerator for 3 hours
- Prepare a sweetener
- Strain the tea
- Top it off with garnishes and serve!
The short answer is “it depends”. Depending on the type of teas and the storage condition, the shelf life of tea can be from a few months to 2-3 years. The more fermented and intact the dried leaves are, the longer they will last. Black tea leaves are more fermented than green or white, and oolong is somewhere in between. Measures of intactness vary from whole leaf, to broken leaf, to fannings and dust. Those rich in top notes (floral or other aromatic varieties) deteriorate more rapidly than the more opulent teas where base notes predominate (woody). The right storage conditions are also essential to preserve the freshness. Tea leaves acts as a sponge, absorbing moisture and odors easily from the atmosphere. Additionally, tea is susceptible to light and high temperatures. Hence, airtight opaque containers stored in dark temperature-controlled places are preferable. As a rule of thumb, tea should not be stored at home for more than a year. Keep it in a clean, away from the direct sunlight and atmospheric odors and after opening the sealed packet try to consume it within a month.
Classifying aromas and odors are not easy and it comes with practice. Our memories retain traces of smells and every other form of sensation. When we smell something, our brain can easily replay whatever is associated with that sensation but fails to prompt us a name – that’s why it is better to associate with the vocabularies to express ourselves properly. There are two major forms of vocabulary. The vocabulary of Organic Chemistry, which is difficult to understand and convey if you or your audience has not studied it. The second one, a more common image-based approach, is inspired by nature. Floral, Fruity, Spicy, Earthy are the common types. Each of these can be further broken down to several levels e.g. Floral can be “fresh floral” like roses, lily, hyacinth or “white flowers” like jasmine, daisy, wisteria or “exotic flowers” like magnolia and orchid. Similarly, Fruity can be classified further into “orchard fruits” like pear, apple, grape, plum or “berries” like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries or citrus fruits like lemon, orange, mandarins or “tropical fruits” like mango, lychee, pineapple.
Words describing texture is another aspect of the vocabulary. “Astringency” is the bitterness in the mouth of various degrees, causes by the tannin in the tea. It could also be a sensation of dryness. “Body” refers to the characteristic of a liquor with a certain structure and thickness. Robust often describes a full-bodied tea. “Mouth-filling” or “Roundness” is another characteristic of a liquor that fills the mouth in a rounded way, a sensation of fullness in the mouth. “Smooth” often describes a tea lacking harsh tannins and therefore without the asperity. Other common tasting terms are “Balanced”, which describes a liquor in which the aromas succeed each other smoothly, well highlighted by the flavors and texture. “Finesse” refers to a liquor with subtle and precise aromas. “Bouquet” is the sensation of the aromatic characteristics while “Harmony” is commonly used when the flavor, texture and aromas are well balanced, with a fine succession of notes. Although I became aware of these vocabularies through reading but I have experienced first-hand during multiple tea tasting sessions while selecting our tea at Kolkata or tea estates in the Hills.
Puttabong Tea estate, formerly known as Tukvar Tea Estate, is located in the northern most district of the Darjeeling hills, around 9 kilometers towards north-east of Darjeeling town. The tea garden stretches in an area of approx. 20-22 sq.km at an altitude between 600 to 2300 meters. Puttabong produces 1st flush black teas, 2nd flush black teas, autumn flush black teas and green teas. The garden was acquired by Jayshree Group in 1967. It has received ISO 9002:2008 certificate in Manufacturing, Plantation and Marketing.
Makaibari was the first tea factory in the world built by the pioneering Banerjee, the founding father of Makaibari Tea Estates in 1859. Located in Kurseong subdivision, in Darjeeling district, Makaibari sustains seven villages and 1,587 people. Three rivers flow through Makaibari and empty into the Balason (the primary river of the region). One of the signature products of Makaibari is “Silver Tips Imperial” – Darjeeling Fullmoon Handmade Tea is the Jewel in the Crown. It is a handmade semi-fermented light liquoring Oolong Tea. Relaxing and anti-aging liquor ideally sipped at bed time. Plucked only on full moon days and nights during the plucking season. Makaibari was the first tea garden to receive organic
Mim Tea Estate is in the Darjeeling area of Northern India. It is located in Sukhiapokhri of Darjeeling district in Eastern India at an elevation from 600 to 2000 meters. The fragrance and taste is a complex bouquet that reaches right out of the cup. Some would describe the taste as nutty, but most often it is described as similar to the taste and fragrance of muscat grapes. The flavor also displays a tinge of astringent tannic characteristic and a musky spiciness often referred to by tea connoisseurs as "muscatel". The genus of the Darjeeling tea bush is the Chinese Jat, which gives it the distinctive muscatel character. Because the tea is grown at such high altitudes and in relatively cool weather the bushes do not grow quickly, and as such the production is limited (about 254,000 lbs annually). The town of Mim Tea Estate has a total population of 1,842 peoples.
Castleton Tea Estate is near the town of Kurseong in the Darjeeling district of North-East India. Castleton is one of the top estates in Darjeeling and consistently produces top teas. It is located at an altitude ranging from 980 to 2300 meters spanning the hilly slopes of Kurseong and Pankhabari. It has a planted area of around 420 acres which produces one of the world’s best muscatels. The annual production stands around 31,000 kgs. This tea has a remarkably mellow flavor with a splendid bouquet of fruits and fresh spring blossoms - a bright tasting, full-bodied tea that is as satiating as it gets. The clean notes of citrus and sweet greens dominate the top of the palate as the brisk tea fills the sense with wonder. From citrus blossom, fresh nuts and apricot in the subtle notes to ripe stone fruits and a gentle floral undertone all merged into a consistent profile.