If you love the delicate taste of your favourite tea, you'll love the process of cold infusion. Imagine the same tea, but smoother, sweeter and with a sudden clarity of flavour.
A cold infusion releases the true taste of the herbs through a slower infusion, preserving their unique qualities. The resulting brew tends to contain less caffeine and reduced tannins, without a hint of bitterness.
Herbalists often use cold infusions when they want to specifically pull out the gut-healing, demulcent properties from the herbs.
Demulcent is an herbal action that means sticky-slimy-ooey-gooey. If you don’t know whether your herb has this action, or could have it, look for constituents like mucilages, polysaccharides, glycosides, and pectin. Marshmallow Root for example.
Cold infusions are the best tea method for pulling out these properties because the length of time these take allow the slow-release of the healing properties within the herb. Using extended heat here could break down the other healing properties.
The process of cold infusion works better with some herbs/teas than others. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the chunks, the harder it'll be to cold infuse. I'm thinking any type of root as they usually require a process called decoction (which is basically a herbal preparation created by boiling herbs in liquid, usually water).
All of this said, it doesn't mean you cannot do it, it just means you might have to let it infuse overnight.
You'll experiment and learn what you like and you don't. Chamomile, for instance, will quickly release bitter notes - which is great for digestion but not to everyone's taste so bear that in mind. Mints are pretty safe. I wouldn't infuse (cold or hot) lemon or orange peels for too long either.
Here I've used Floral Cup. It's such a wonderful blend to use. I love it's vibrant red colour (which is a great indicator of its strength) and its intense taste. It looks so pretty on picture so it's my go-to blend when I went a cool cocktail picture.
1 Tablespoon of herb to 1 Cup water.
You may want to make quite a bit of this at one time to save yourself time and energy so extrapolate this recipe as needed. I usually always make a bottle full. This way you can take it anywhere you go - walk, shopping, work, gym...
- Put your herbs into a tea pot or large jar
- Pour room temperature water over the herbs
- Let sit for at least 4 hours. 8 hours or overnight is better.
- Strain and drink
You can drink it plain, add other flavours to it, or use it in another herbal recipe you like. I'd add some fresh lemon juice or lemongrass. A few mint leaves is always a winner too.
I'd really like to see how your experiment with herbs, whether it's as part of a DIY cream, added to your bath water or even baking...I'm always keen for new ideas so share with #myherbalalchemy @alchimethe