To make a simple tea garden at home is surprisingly easy. It’s easy in a way that you don’t need fancy materials and equipment. There are certain factors to consider though such as the regular climate in your area, the type of soil, and your patience. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can still plant tea or herbs on patios, windowsills, and planters in your balcony.
Growing Camellia sinensis a.k.a Real Tea Plant
At the minimum, tea plant is “hardy to zone 8” while other resources say anywhere between zone 7-9 as weather and climate changes can vary largely in different places. Zone 8 has a typical temperate climate with mild winters. The average temperatures range from 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12.2 degrees Celsius) to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.7 degrees Celsius). If you live in zone 8, summers are generally warm but nights are cooler. This zone is usually ideal for gardening. Find more about zones here.
The tea plant grows to about 1-2 meters in height but may be taller when not pruned. When you are ready to plant, you have to choose well-drained and sandy acidic soil. Note that it takes around three years before you can finally harvest your tea leaves. This is where patience comes in.
When it’s time to harvest, you still have to process the leaves based on your desired type of tea. During the fall season, small white flowers also appear, and you can harvest and dry them to add more flavor to your tea. The processing can make a huge difference because it determines when a tea plant becomes black, green, or oolong tea.
For black tea
1. Pluck the youngest leaves and buds
2. Roll the leaves; crush them until they become dark and red.
3. Spread the leaves on a tray. Leave the tray in a cool place for 2-3 days.
4. Dry the leaves in the oven at 250 F. Wait for 20 minutes.
5. Store in an air-tight container.
6. Enjoy your tea!
For green tea
1. Pluck the youngest leaves and buds.
2. Steam the leaves on your stove for about 1-2 minutes and run cold water immediately to stop the heating process. You can also try roasting them in a skillet for 2 minutes to achieve a different flavor.
3. Roll the leaves into tubes using your hands.
4. Spread the leaves in a dish then place in an oven preheated to 212-230 F for 10-12 minutes (or heat them at 250 F for 20 minutes).
5. When the leaves are dry and crispy, store in an air-tight container.
For oolong tea
1. Pluck the youngest leaves and buds.
2. Spread the leaves on a towel and let them wilt under the sun for 45 minutes.
3. Once done, let the leaves sit at room temperature for a few hours.
4. Stir the leaves up every hour.
5. Spread the leaves on a baking sheet.
6. Dry the leaves in the oven at 250 F for 20 minutes.
7. Store in air-tight container.
If you can’t get hold of real tea plant seedlings, you can also try growing herbal teas or tisanes such as chamomile, lavender, and peppermint. This is also great if you want to harvest tea faster or no longer want to wait for three years anymore. Come to think of it, when you buy from the store, you don’t exactly know how long the dried leaves have been there. But when you plant and harvest your own, you know you have something fresh that will create a stronger brew.
Take a look at this cool infographic from Fix.com.
Source: Fix.com Blog
Ready to make your own tea garden? Good luck and enjoy it!
Coffee is one of the healthiest beverages in the planet. There’s a bunch of benefits that made coffee the drink of choice for a lot of people. It is known to help with mental health, weight loss, heart and liver diseases, diabetes, and even some types of cancer. Aside from coffee’s health benefits, many people also love coffee because of its ability to keep them awake and alert.
Nowadays, there are already so many variations of coffee coming out in stores. A lot of these varieties have also gone the do-it-yourself or DIY route, and have been published in so many blogs or websites. Although you are definitely free to experiment whatever you want to do with your coffee, it’s best always to remember the fundamentals if you’re going to reap the potential health benefits of coffee.
There are ways to avoid (or even stop) ruining your coffee’s health benefits. Here are the most common things to consider. They’re actually very basic but are still often overlooked.
1. Go for coffee with natural sweeteners.
Not a lot of people are willing to drink their coffee black. Some might find it too strong for their taste, while others really just have sweet tooth. As a result, so many stores have come up with sweet coffee variants which have a boatload of sugar. A little sweetness won’t hurt, but make sure to stay within your recommended sugar intake.
Even if you put just a teaspoon of sugar to your cup, but then you drink coffee at least five times a day, all those sugars can definitely add up. If you don’t want to drink pure black coffee, consider adding natural sweeteners instead. Some examples are cinnamon, coconut creamer, honey, and cardamom (for a more exotic flavor).
As with everything, even natural sweeteners should be taken in moderation. For more information, you can read our previous post about five extras you shouldn’t add to your coffee.
2. Drink coffee in moderation.
Since we’re talking about moderation, you have to realize that it applies to coffee too. There’s always this misconception to drink lots and lots of coffee to stay alert. But drinking way too much coffee doesn’t help anymore because it just makes you queasy and likely sick. According to a nutritionist and author of Eating in Color, Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, coffee’s health benefits are generally capped off at five to six 8-ounce cups which are basically 400 mg of caffeine. Source: RodalesOrganicLife
Like what people always say, everything should be done in moderation, and coffee is no exception.
3. Drink coffee during appropriate times of the day.
In an article published in Forbes, it cited a study related to the best time to drink coffee according to science. And guess what? It’s not right after you wake up. That’s right. The human body works with a hormone called cortisol that’s responsible for making people feel alert and awake.
According to the study, the peak production of cortisol is between 8-9 AM, 12-1 PM, and 5:30-6:30 PM in ideal circumstances. When you wake up, your body is also naturally caffeinating so having additional levels of caffeine in the form of coffee will no longer be effective. It’s just like taking caffeine when your body doesn’t need it yet. When you keep doing this, you will have a faster tolerance to caffeine, and it will likely reduce the good effect it has on your body.
To sum up, the ideal appropriate coffee break times are 9:30-11:30 AM and 1:30-5 PM. These are the usual dips of cortisol levels for most people. As you may have noticed, these are usually the times when you’ve entered a state of tiredness. Unfortunately, it’s all throughout the day when most people are working! No wonder why people love coffee so much.
As for people who wake up a lot earlier than 8 AM or those who totally have different work and sleep schedules, the key point to remember is that you don’t need to consume caffeine or drink coffee right after you wake up. Late mornings and early afternoons are a good enough basis.
4. Get whole coffee beans.
If you are serious about your coffee-drinking, definitely invest in quality coffee beans. Look for a quality coffee roaster in your area. Although you need to spend a little more time with grinding, it’s all worth it because you know that you have it freshly ground, and freshly ground coffee right before brewing is just the best.
Getting whole coffee beans and grinding them at home will produce greater-tasting coffee with a very delicious aroma. If you want to learn some tips in grinding your coffee beans, you can read our previous post – Tips in Grinding Coffee Beans.
5. Store your coffee beans properly.
This is probably one of the most common coffee crimes. True enough because it becomes a waste if you’ve invested in proper coffee beans and coffee accessories only to store your precious beans inappropriately.
Knowing how to store your coffee beans properly will yield better coffee, which in turn gives you more out of it such as its antioxidants that help fight free radicals. To know more about proper coffee storage, read our post about it from this link: How to Store Coffee Beans Properly.
So are you ready to get the best potential health benefits of your coffee? Come to think of it; it’s not rocket science. You just need to invest a little more, but it’s going to be worth it.
The many health benefits of tea are undeniable. If you’re an avid tea drinker, you have probably already witnessed firsthand the goodness of tea. From white, green, black, and oolong tea to different types of herbal teas or tisanes, there’s never a shortage of advantages to you. There’s even a tea for different moods!
Tea has even more to offer, and one of the most exciting is its beauty benefits or uses. Oftentimes, you surround yourself with beauty products to achieve what you need in the beauty department (and there’s nothing wrong with that). But sometimes, when you just want to keep things simple, and not spend too much, you can hit two birds with one stone by getting to drink your favorite beverage and achieve some of the beauty fixes you need.
Here we will outline 5 ways tea can help you stay beautiful so that you too can enjoy your cup of tea more than you usually would.
1. Tea improves skin complexion.
Green tea has long been known to improve skin complexion and elasticity. With its high content of anti-oxidants, enzymes, and amino acids, it helps remove toxins and impurities from your skin which then helps heal blemishes and scars, as well as reduce inflammation. You can either use green tea for your face mask, or drink a cup with honey or lemon daily.
For face mask, you just need used green tea bags, raw honey, and lemon. Mix the green tea contents in 1-2 teaspoon of raw honey. Add some lemon juice, and then apply the mixture to your face. After 5-10 minutes, rinse your face with lukewarm water. Let it help you achieve a clearer skin and enhanced complexion. Use the green tea mask once or twice a week.
2. Tea helps with hair growth.
Green tea helps promote hair growth. Aside from that, it can also prevent usual problems like dandruff and dry scalp. It also adds shine and color to dull hair. The catechins contained in green tea help block the key causes of hair loss making it ideal for those who are concerned about hair growth.
You can enjoy two options:
1) After washing your hair, rinse it with freshly brewed cool green tea. Leave it on for 10 minutes, and then rinse with cool water. Best to do this twice or thrice a week.
2) Drink 2-3 cups of green tea every day.
Enjoy your strong and beautiful hair!
3. Tea helps reduce puffy eyes and dark circles.
If you struggle with puffy eyes and dark circles, then worry no more because the antioxidants and tannins in green tea help shrink the blood vessels underneath the skin around the eyes, thus reducing the swelling and puffiness. The vitamins contained in green tea also help to lighten dark circles around the eyes.
To achieve healthy under eyes:
1) Refrigerate 2 used green tea bags for 30 minutes.
2) Position the cold tea bags on your closed eyelids.
3) Let it stay for 15 minutes.
Do the process twice a day until you see progress and desired results.
4. Tea helps treat acne and pimples.
Green tea extracts have good antibacterial agents. There have been a good number of researches showing that tea, most especially green tea, helps with fighting the causes of acne and pimples such as inflammation, hormones, or insulin resistance.
It is important to note that there has been no solid evidence that green tea indeed treats acne, but there are studies that showed it improves the condition. This means that the researches may show that green tea can help treat acne; however, it may not be true for everyone who drinks green tea.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to try as green tea truly has positive effects on your skin and body. Drinking 3-6 cups of fresh green tea daily is definitely a good start.
5. Tea fights skin aging.
A lot of changes can happen to your body and skin especially when you are not getting any younger. Everybody wants to age gracefully, and one of the ways to do just that is to look your best still. Signs of aging are mostly evident in your skin, so taking care of it is necessary to help you navigate the years ahead.
Green tea’s antioxidants are powerful in fighting the signs of skin aging. The catechins in green tea are also known to reactivate drying skin cells. They also help fight other signs of damage such as age spots and wrinkles.
Along with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, there’s no doubt you can kick-start your beauty routine with your daily consumption of tea. Remember that tea is not a miracle cure or a magic ingredient that will just immediately fix your beauty concerns. You also need to work hard in taking care of your skin and your overall well-being to stay beautiful.
A lot of you tea enthusiasts are probably already investing in different kinds of tea. Whether you constantly keep fresh and quality tea leaves or hoard a variety of packed herbal teas, it’s imperative that you learn the proper tea storage. It is not rocket science, but there are times it is overlooked.
Storing your tea properly is tantamount to keeping your stash fresh every time. Tea is delicious, and you can only fully appreciate that if you consume it fresh. Nobody wants a stale tea because it alters the natural flavors and it is not enjoyable to drink at all.
To keep things simple, remember that the main culprits are air, humidity, temperature, sunlight/heat, and odors. Here are the most important things you should consider. Keep your tea away from the following.
With exposure to oxygen, tea leaves become oxidized more and more. This affects the flavor profile and freshness of the tea, especially for green tea and white tea where oxidation is deliberately stopped during production. The most common piece of advice is to store your tea in air-tight containers. However, this doesn’t mean that the containers are air-free.
Even though you store your tea in air-tight containers, some air is still circulating between the leaves, and between the leaves and the top of the container. Manufacturers have different ways of addressing that concern. Some of them have nitrogen-flushing techniques when they seal the tea with a vacuum. This prevents tea from getting exposed to oxygen during storage.
Now for you in your household who don’t have access to advanced methods, the best thing to do is to invest in quality air-tight containers or re-sealable zipper pouches that keep oxygen or air away from your tea as much as possible. It also helps to be mindful of when you open the container.
Sometimes, there’s the habit of opening and closing the container even though you’re actually not going to drink tea. As a best practice, only open the container when you are already going to brew your tea, or when it’s really necessary.
2. Direct sunlight
Exposing tea to light is a sure-fire way to degrade its flavor and appearance. You don’t want your tea to taste metallic. So aside from storing tea leaves in air-tight containers, make sure the containers are not transparent. If you don’t have any non-transparent containers or jars, then at least ensure that they are kept away from light.
Near the gas burner or oven is not the right place to store your tea. Yup, you got that right! Any proximity to heat will significantly affect the appearance and flavor of the tea. In short, store your tea in a cool, dark place.
Some green and white teas are best stored in the freezer or refrigerator because of their delicate nature. Keeping them in really cool storage areas will slow down oxidation reactions, but this should be done with utmost care. If this is what you want to do, it’s best to pack the tea in small carefully-sealed packets that you will only be using throughout the week. This keeps your overall supply fresh.
Remember to clear out or squeeze out as much air as you can from the special tea packets to prevent moisture from developing on the leaf surface. The most important step is for you to open the packet only at room temperature. When you first remove the packet from the freezer or refrigerator, obviously it will still be cold and moist. Let it sit for a few hours before use until it reaches room temperature.
If you feel that the packets cannot be sealed enough, then you don’t have to store your tea leaves in the refrigerator. Just get yourself an opaque, airtight container.
About storing your tea in a cool, dry place, it is also advisable to keep your tea away from humidity or moisture. Moisture is the worst culprit in tea storage. Since tea leaves are dry, they can absorb moisture quickly and easily. This results in unpleasant odor and taste, as well as molding and caking.
Some sources of moisture are boiling water, above a dishwasher vent, near the sink, or inside the refrigerator – which is why as explained in the previous item (heat), use carefully-sealed packets and only open them at room temperature if ever you decide to keep delicate teas in the freezer or refrigerator.
5. Strong Odor
Tea absorbs moisture as much as it absorbs strong odor. This means that you should carefully choose where you put your tea. It should be away from spices, cheese, soap, or anything that has a strong odor. It’s not just the smell or scent that will put you off but also the flavor. Your tea will develop an unpleasant taste when in contact with a strong odor that often, it tastes like the item with that odor. You don’t want a tea that tastes like soap, so keep your container in a safe spot.
With this being said, it’s also essential that you choose a container that’s already free from impurities. Remember to wash and dry it very well before storing your tea leaves inside. The recommended types of containers are those that are made of non-reactive metals, glazed ceramics, and plastic containers that do not absorb smells or flavors.
Need to know!
• Green and white teas (less oxidized) deteriorate more quickly than black and oolong teas (more oxidized).
Did you know? The herbal tea you’ve been drinking is not really tea. It’s called a tisane (pronounced ti-zahn). Herbal teas or tisanes do not come from Camellia sinensis or tea plant. “Real teas” or those that come from the tea plant are white, black, green, and oolong tea. Tisanes, on the other hand, are infusions from leaves, barks, roots, flowers, seeds, fruits, and spices.
There are many different types of tisanes which are usually derived from the parts of the plant they come from. Some of the few examples are the following.
• Leaves – lemongrass, peppermint, rooibos
• Roots – ginger, turmeric, echinacea
• Fruits – peach, apples, berries
• Seeds/spices – anise, cardamom, fennel
• Flowers – hibiscus, chamomile, rose, lavender
• Barks – cinnamon, black cherry
At this point, it’s already established that a tisane is not tea, although you’ll most likely hear everyone call it a tea. Don’t worry, that doesn’t make tisane any less worthy because it actually tastes good when steeped properly. A lot of tisanes are known to have amazing health benefits too! There’s probably a herbal tea for every ailment. Just be sure to check with your doctor if you are taking any medications that might react negatively with the tisanes.
Here are some benefits of tisanes.
Peppermint – decongestant, anti-inflammatory, helps suppress appetite
Dried Ginger – has antihistamine properties, anti-inflammatory, eases motion sickness, flavor booster
Lemon balm – has calming effects, alleviates digestive problems, helps ease common colds, helps treat headaches and toothaches
Chamomile – helps treat sleep and stomach troubles, antibacterial
Hibiscus – helps lower blood pressure, high in vitamins, diuretic
Cinnamon – lowers cholesterol, fights viruses, increases antioxidants,
Rooibos – helps with skin irritations, contains cancer-fighting properties
Fennel – relieves indigestion, soothes stomach
Lavender – promotes calmness
Echinacea – improves cold, flu, and sinusitis symptoms
Lemongrass – relieves indigestion, bloating, flatulence, headaches, nervous exhaustion
There are also significant differences between tea and tisane. For one, all teas have caffeine while tisanes don’t. The preparations are also something to take note of. The steeping time for tea is generally shorter than that of tisane.
How to Prepare Tisanes
For lightweight plant materials like leaves, flowers, and fruits, infusion is usually done. The preparation can be done in a variety of tools such as using a French press, ceramic or glass teapot, stainless steel pot, or bamboo infuser. Using an aluminum pot is never recommended because aluminum is a reactive metal. It can react with some types of plants, and may produce toxins in your drink.
To start the infusion, bring water to a boil then pour it into the herbs or tisanes. Let it sit covered for twenty minutes. Strain the herb, and choose to drink tea immediately or let it cool to room temperature or refrigerate. It’s pretty much the same with how you steep tea but with tisanes, it will take longer.
For thick or hard plant materials such as barks and roots, decoction is the process. In this case, the tisanes are simmered (not steeped) in longer periods of time. The method is to place the plant materials in boiling water for 15-20 minutes to release more essential oils and flavors. Sometimes the barks and roots are smashed into pieces first to make it quicker and easier to simmer.
After infusion or decoction, you can still do the process again given that the plant materials still give off strong tasting tea. The brewing times and proportion vary because plants have different surfaces and densities. A general rule of thumb is: 1 teaspoon of dried, cut, and sifted herb, or 2 tablespoons of fresh herb per 8 ounces of water. If you’re keen in using the weight method, you can have .5-5 grams of dried herb, or herbal combination for every 1 cup of water.
Source: Preparing Medicinal Teas | Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine
Tisanes have several variety and types that the choices can be overwhelming. If you don’t know where to start, you can look at the most common types listed above. If you decide to purchase, most manufacturers include instructions for infusion or decoction.
A word of caution – Although there are so many claims about the health benefits of herbal teas, be proactive in doing your own research and asking the experts especially if you are trying to treat an ailment. It’s best to avoid teas with artificial flavorings. Organic ones are still better.
There’s a bunch of super creative uses for matcha green tea. Yup, we hear matcha lovers rejoice! The popular powdered green tea has entered the mainstream for all good reasons. It’s been loved by many because of its earthy sweet taste, as well as the good things it does for the body.
Unsweetened matcha green tea drink is best because there’s no added sugar. Some people are put off by its grassy taste though, so if you want something sweeter, you can opt to use natural sweeteners and add moderate amounts only. That’s if you really want to reap the potential benefits of green tea.
Now if you are feeling a little more experimental or if you want to try something new, not to mention score an extra dose of anti-oxidants, there are several food recipes that make good use of matcha! You already know about matcha latte or smoothie. Take a look at these ideas. For sure, you will love at least one or two of these.
1. Seasoning for side dishes – If you are fond of side dishes, sprinkle matcha powder instead of salt, pepper, or other spices. You can also experiment and mix it with other spices and see if it comes out tasty for you.
2. Miso soup – This traditional Japanese soup can be prepared in many ways depending on the chef. Usually, there are vegetables and meat. The soup can be salty. Try adding matcha powder to counter the saltiness.
3. Chicken tenders – Mix matcha powder with panko (in Japanese cooking) or breadcrumbs that have light and flaky texture. Just do the usual routine of drenching the chicken tender in seasoned flour, then egg, then the matcha + panko mixture. Delicious when baked!
4. Chicken or pork curry – Easy! Just add matcha powder to your spices, and cook as usual.
5. Matcha Granola Bars – If you want a new kind of boost before doing your daily activities, start preparing your matcha granola bars. These will be a runner’s delight for sure.
6. Matcha Oatmeal – We mean yes! Matcha might have a strange taste for some, and you might not like it at all in your oatmeal but just try and see how it goes out. Add a sweetener if you must!
7. Matcha Chia Seeds Pudding – This one’s famous. No need for fancy equipment; just a little patience to wait it out while it’s sitting in the fridge to achieve its creamy and thick texture. This is perfect for breakfast or snacks.
8. Homemade Ice Cream & Ice Pops – This one’s even more famous! You will see matcha-flavored ice cream and ice pops in most stores nowadays. When you chance upon really good ones, you’re in for a never-ending adventure. You’d want to recreate and make your own for daily consumption. LOL
9. Sandwich Spread – So have you heard of this? This certainly exists! Think matcha milk jam, matcha milk peanut spread, and matcha cream cheese spread. Go ahead and google those!
10. Guacamole – Two very trendy foods today: matcha and avocado. What more can you ask for? Yup, quick and easy. Best for dips and salads. Holy guacamole!
11. Matcha Rice – Are you a rice person? This might interest you! It’s pretty much like adding matcha flavor to your rice. Go try it!
12. Matcha Jello – Perfect snacks for kids and kids at heart. Matcha Jello or jell-o makes a good dessert in your home.
13. Matcha Popcorn – Love popcorn? Now you can have a healthier version of your movie marathon snack. Add matcha powder instead of cheese for a change.
14. Ice cubes – Yes to matcha ice cubes! You’re probably familiar of coffee ice cubes, milk, or whatnot. Add matcha to the list. It’s a perfect addition to your cocktail drinks, lemonades, or juices.
15. Sweet treats & baked goods – There are a ton of these that you can make. Thanks to the ever versatile matcha. If you’re tired of your usual ingredients, spice up your baking life by having matcha as your new staple. Here are some ideas.
Ice cream sandwich
Yey, are you ready to make your own matcha-infused recipe? Now go and enjoy!
The health benefits and delicious taste of tea are undeniable. Tea is best when consumed on its own because that’s how you will get the most potential benefits. You probably already know that, but of course, you can also create a variety of easy tea drink recipes using other different ingredients.
We scoured these recipes from the world wide web so that when you’re feeling a little experimental, you can try them at home. The full recipes are linked below.
This sweet and creamy milk tea with a hint of cinnamon is perfect for relaxation.
This has been a favorite of several coffee lovers. The good thing is you don’t have to spend so much to make this. It’s homemade, and just as tasty as what you get from a coffee shop, or maybe even better.
You don’t have to wait for fall to taste a natural and tastier pumpkin spice. Just make your own!
If you love the natural sweetness of strawberries or fruits, you can try strawberry sweet tea.
Thai Iced Tea is a well-loved drink. This recipe has no pretensions. It’s simply natural, creamy, and very easy to do.
Craving for iced green tea? This recipe is fruit-flavored that’s packed with antioxidants and detoxifying benefits.
Matcha has garnered a solid fan base through the years, and it deserves such because of its unique taste, as well as health benefits. If you want to skip the caffeine jitters, you might want to try this matcha latte.
This soothing & immune-boosting tea helps with digestive issues, and promotes good quality sleep.
Here’s another fruity and refreshing tea with pineapple and cranberry. Have your dose of sweet fruits by re-creating this sun tea.
10. Ginger Root Tea
Not a lot may like ginger tea, but it is actually delicious! For added taste, you can put cinnamon, lemon, or honey. It also helps boost metabolism.
A touch of alcohol doesn’t hurt. This recipe can be the perfect party cocktail for you. Try it!
Smoothies have become popular and trending drinks these past few years, which is why this list won’t be complete without at least one tea smoothie. This smoothie recipe is a refreshing fruit and creamy yogurt in a cold drink.
Hope you can try at least one of the recipes above. Tea is a very versatile drink so you can always add other ingredients that you think your taste buds will love.
Cold brew coffee is not new. It has been around for many years, and although its real origin is still unknown, there are already a lot of coffee companies or shops that have created their own version. If you remember from our previous post – Coffee Trends for 2017 – cold brew was rightfully included in the list. As many coffee experts and enthusiasts have predicted, it has become mainstream for all the good reasons!
Cold brew is not your usual iced coffee. Although the process is quite easy, it can get complicated because it involves a much longer or slower brewing time, and the resulting taste depends on several factors. The good thing is that it’s not limited to coffee shops or skilled baristas only. You can make your own cold brew coffee at home as long as you have the ingredients, and the tools.
Before learning how to make a DIY cold brew, take some time to know more about it first, and see if it is something you want to do.
Cold brew coffee is brewed with room temperature water or cold water for 12-24 hours.
You are free to choose how long you want to steep the coffee. The rule of thumb is that the longer you steep, the stronger and more flavorful the concentrate will be. With cold brew, coffee is not subjected to any type of heat at all. The water temperature impacts the extraction rate which is why cold brew takes a much longer time to steep.
Cold brew usually has more caffeine content.
Generally, cold brew is more caffeinated than a hot-brewed coffee. It is said to have 67% less acidity, but it also depends on so many factors such as the water temperature, ratio of grounds to water, brewing time, type of coffee beans, as well as its grind size.
Although not a guarantee that it’s always effective, it has been offered to people who have sensitive stomach or acid reflux. It may have worked for some people but it’s also not true for all cold brews. Since there are no heating elements involved during the cold brew process, the oils that contain acid in the coffee beans aren’t extracted as much as it is when the coffee is brewed hot.
If you badly need caffeine but find it hard to drink hot brew, then perhaps you can give cold brew a try to see if it fits your need.
Cold brew’s flavor profile depends on the brewing method.
As to whether it tastes better than hot brew or not is a matter of personal opinion. The general opinion of the drinking public is that cold brew tastes smoother and sweeter because of lower extraction rate. You may also hear others say that it’s dull, dead, and flat. But it is also important to note that the flavors of your cold brew depend on how you brew it.
There are two basic or common methods to cold brew, and each has its own impact to the resulting flavor.
With immersion method, you just need to combine water and course coffee grounds in a container or a jar, let it sit for 12 up to 24 hours, whichever you please. Once time’s up, you can start straining the grounds. Easy peasy, right?
Because it’s simple, a lot of coffee enthusiasts prefer the immersion process. Just set it, then forget it. Also, you don’t need fancy tools or materials for this process. So how’s the flavor? The immersion method gives you a balanced flavor, which means that it isn’t too bitter or acidic. It also produces a full-bodied flavor and great mouth feel.
Since the method saturates the coffee grounds for a long period of time, the result is a smooth and low acidity coffee with lower flavor notes. Just a note – if you’re looking for brighter notes, and more pleasant coffee flavor, the immersion method is not for you.
Ice Drip Method
This method requires special equipment which is an ice drip cold brew tower found oftentimes in coffee shops. Cold water just drips into the coffee and the grounds absorb it. The coffee then drips into a jar or container underneath. It’s pretty much like making a pour-over coffee but this one needs an equipment since you have to keep the drip going for the entire day or up to 24 hours as desired.
With the drip method, you get a wide range of flavors – clean, floral, and fruity notes. It has higher acidity than the cold brew that’s made from immersion, but if you are willing to give that up for a cleaner cup of brews, then this one’s for you.
One thing that might make this challenging for you is the equipment especially if you plan to do it at home. You may need to have your own dripper, or build one yourself. Also, if you are fond of making large batches, it can be time-consuming because you can only generate a small batch of cold brew at one time.
Save your fresh coffee beans for hot-brewed coffee.
Yes, you read that right! With cold brew, a lot of the solubles from the beans do not get extracted so there’s really no need to whip your fresh coffee beans at all. Your two-week old beans can still produce sweet and quality cold brew. Don’t get too far out though! Coffee beans that have been lying around for months or so won’t give you good cold brew anymore.
Also, cold brew uses course coffee grounds because the steeping process lasts longer. If the grounds are too fine, then over-extraction may occur which will result to bitter-tasting coffee.
Basic formula for DIY cold brew
Cold brew can be expensive in coffee shops so if you want to make your own, you can certainly do so. You can follow this basic formula: 1 pound of ground beans to one gallon of water. You can even reduce it to a quarter pound beans to 4 cups of water if you like.
If you just want to make your own at home, here are the basic steps you can follow for the immersion method.
1. Put the course ground coffee beans in the jar or container, add cold or room temperature water, and then stir. Some people go against stirring because it oxidizes the coffee. They just let the coffee grounds absorb the water. Other people tried stirring, and didn’t have complaints.
2. Stir the mixture properly using a wooden spoon until it looks like mud. Again, you can skip this if you don’t feel like stirring.
3. Let the mixture steep for 12-24 hours. It’s up to you how long you want it.
4. Once done with steeping, line a sieve with cheesecloth or paper towel, and strain the coffee grounds. Have another jar or container ready for your brew. Just wait for 1-2 minutes to complete.
5. Discard the coffee grounds and keep your coffee concentrate – a.k.a. cold brew – in the fridge, or pour right away to a glass. You can dilute it with water if you want to mellow down the strong flavor. Use one part brew, one part water.
You can even add milk, cream, or sweetener to counter the bitter flavor. The coffee concentrate can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Here’s a video of the immersion method from The Protein Chef. In this case, you will see that the coffee grounds were strained twice.
So, you ready now to make your own cold brew?
Coffee drinkers are in for a healthy treat because coffee itself is one of the healthiest beverages in the world, but that’s until people start adding unhealthy stuff into it. True, the add-ons are exciting, and they taste great too! But we’re going to be a little bit of the devil’s advocate here, and lure you into the healthier direction.
Whether you’re making your own coffee at home, or you’re ordering one from a coffee shop of your choice, there’s always a chance that you ask for add-ons. Coffee in itself is already healthy, but we know for sure that not everyone goes for pure black.
So if you’re not into black coffee, it’s best to make an effort to avoid the unhealthy add-ons because they can add up real quick. Here are 5 extras you should avoid adding to your coffee.
Sugar is up there on the list. Ironically, it’s also one of the most common things that people add to their coffee. Understandably, it’s the most accessible, and could be the cheapest.
Of course, a little sugar won’t hurt but if you’re the type who drinks coffee thrice a day or even more, then those bits of sugar and empty calories can easily pile up! Let’s say you drink three cups of coffee daily – 2 teaspoons of sugar per cup is about 48 grams in total. It’s more than the sugar content in most sodas. Double or triple that if you drink more than 3 cups a day, and if you usually add more than 2 teaspoons per cup.
Instead of sugar, you can add natural sweeteners such as a few dashes of cinnamon, a tablespoon of honey, or cardamom. Cardamom is a spice that’s common in the Middle East, and it gives more exotic flavor to your drink.
2. Non-Dairy Creamers
These are mostly corn syrup solids, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Corn syrup solids (and even liquids) are an added sugar and they contribute to obesity and heart diseases.
Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils have trans fats which can be the worst type of fats you can ever consume. Trans fats are artificial fatty acids created in an industrial setting process. Basically, hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.
Trans fats, along with corn syrup solids, are strongly linked to heart disease and diabetes.
To avoid non-dairy creamers, you can use coconut milk creamer instead. This contains organic coconut milk and is better for your health.
3. Skim Milk
For many years, you are probably going for skim milk or low-fat milk in favor of whole or full-fat milk. Skim milk isn’t at all bad but it does retain all the sugar. Research suggests that there’s no enough evidence backing the superior effects of skim milk.
Studies even showed that because people reduce the amount of fats they consume, they also tend to increase their sugar or carbohydrates intake which can have bad effects on insulin, and can eventually lead to diabetes.
In a separate study, respondents who consumed the most high-fat dairy products lowered their risk of obesity.
4. Flavor Shots or Syrups
Of course you love flavor! Syrups add taste to your beverage but consuming a lot of these doesn’t do any good to your health. Flavor shots such as caramel, vanilla, hazelnut, and even pumpkin spice contain lots of sugar!
Avoid these flavored syrups and opt for natural sugar-free add-ons. A few drops of vanilla, peppermint, or nut extracts such as that of hazelnut or almonds are good alternatives.
5. Other sugar substitutes / Artificial Sweeteners
Whipped cream is a common add-on to coffee but is one of the unhealthiest food items out there. Worse, using whipped cream in a can gives no nutritional value. It’s only loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.
A lot of the fats contained in cream are saturated fats which is associated with high cholesterol. So when you usually go overboard with your cream, it can have a negative impact to your waistline.
Now it might be hard for you to completely avoid these flavory add-ons especially when you’ve been ingesting them for quite some time, and you are already used to them. You can start by reducing the amounts before entirely eliminating them from your coffee.
If you really cannot eliminate them, then at least make sure that you are taking them in very modest amounts, and carefully take note of how much of those you include in your diet.
You know you’re a coffee lover, enthusiast, or even a die-hard coffee drinker when almost “everything” in your life is associated with coffee. You can’t survive your morning or your entire day without coffee. You can’t think creatively without coffee in your system. And everything just doesn’t seem right without your favorite beverage. Even your social media posts are all about coffee!
Of course we know it – you are already awesome! Given that you love coffee so much, it would also be nice to level up your coffee drinking game by taking part in little yet meaningful ways to make this world a better place. Here are some more ways to become an awesome coffee lover!
1. Support organic coffee.
A lot of the toxins, pesticides, and chemicals from conventional farming are harmful to the environment. Although these chemicals don’t necessarily get into your cup of coffee, they had such a huge impact during farming. They can pollute the waterways and can be hazardous to the farmers, workers, and animals.
It is also a great idea to support shade-grown coffee whenever you can. This kind of coffee comes from coffee plants that are grown under a canopy of trees. According to this article from Serious Eats, there is no significant difference in taste between shade-grown coffee and one that is not. This may not be the point-of-view of everyone as there are probably others who swear by the taste of organic coffee or of another variety.
Whatever the case is though and as long as coffee beans are cultivated and processed properly, shade-grown coffee plants will not only taste great but also positively impact the biodiversity of a landscape.
Fruit trees such as avocado, banana, orange, and lemon, as well as cedars, and some forest trees can provide a canopy or shade for coffee plants. Together, they all create a harmonious nitrogen balance. This kind of setup also promotes sustainability of more species.
In short, although shade-grown coffee may have little to no effect on the taste of the coffee you drink, it does have an important impact on the environment. And it is more fulfilling for you as a coffee lover if you are able to help in that kind of way.
2. Use a compostable coffee cup.
Using styrofoam coffee cups are common. In fact, almost all coffee shops employ this method because styrofoam is more sturdy, and such a great insulator. It helps keep the coffee warm for longer. However, it doesn’t help the environment at all. These coffee cups just fill up landfills, never degrade, and will forever be wastes.
Whenever you can, consider using compostable or biodegradable coffee cups, or choose coffee shops that support this environment-friendly cause. There are already coffee shops that are making a move to support positive change by replacing their plastic or styrofoam cups with compostable ones.
When hosting gatherings at home, you can serve your coffee or drinks using compostable cups too. Try looking for a set online that can also give value for your money.
This article mentioned that there’s a new packaging idea to support an environmental project. The company called Reuse, Reduce, Grow created coffee cups that have flowers and seeds embedded in the lining. These cups will degrade in less than 200 days and allow the seeds to grow. The idea is that they can plant the cups in the appropriate area in their community or give the cups to any coffee shop that supports this project.
3. Invest in a travel mug.
In relation to the second item, investing in a travel mug is also a meaningful way to help the environment because this avoids the use of disposable non-compostable coffee cups. If you order coffee frequently, or if your office serves free coffee, then bringing your own mug or cup is a great idea! For one, you eliminate waste, and also, you get to bring your favorite mug.
As a bonus, you might want to look for coffee shops near you that sell their own travel mug. Perhaps they give a discount or some sort of a reward if you use it when ordering your coffee. It’s a win-win situation.
4. Consider using a reusable filter.
If you love pour-over coffee, then it’s well worth it if you consider using a reusable filter. A lot of people invest in one-time use paper filters because they’re easy to dispose of and mess-free plus they might like the brighter, sweeter taste as a result.
However, in some cases, paper filters can also leave behind residues that can affect your coffee’s flavor. Also, although they are generally cheaper per piece, the costs can add up real quick especially if you brew coffee several times a day.
Stainless steel or metal coffee drip filters can be expensive depending on the type and brand, but it can save you money in the long run because you don’t have to purchase again and again. Metal filters usually result to a visually darker coffee and more robust or full-bodied taste.
Also, you might be thinking that metal filters are a pain to clean. That may be true in some instances which is why it’s important to look for filters that are easy to clean. Kitchables Pour-Over Coffee Drip Filter is a great option because it has dual filter micro-mesh technology that’s very easy to clean. This ensures absolutely no clogging as the mesh feels like silk to the touch. It’s also dishwasher safe.
Aside from that, its stainless steel material ensures permanence unlike glass or stoneware filters that easily break or paper filters that are for one-time use only. This can reduce your carbon footprint and help save the environment one coffee cup at a time.
5. Support local coffee shops.
There are several reasons why you should. First of all, it’s not guilt-tripping over you choosing the corporate businesses over the local ones. It’s just saying that local shops are worth visiting and knowing more.
As soon as these local shops put up their businesses, they know the need of the community, and they most likely have a vision. They choose to open their business despite the risks involved. They also most likely employ people from the locality, and so this gives way to more jobs in the community.
The profits stay local so it provides significant growth of revenue to the community too. Aside from that, it’s easier to reach out to the owners because they’re most likely locals. There’s a bigger chance that they will act upon your needs right away because they are reachable.
Thus, it creates a more harmonious relationship among the people in the community. Isn’t that a great way to build genuine connections? That certainly makes the world a better place!
Now, here’s to hoping you give these 5 meaningful ways a try, and help promote positive change in the society.