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ice brewed tea + help for Houston & South Asia

As muggy days fade into cooler nights, I wanted to share a new-to-me tea brewing method that I've been loving lately. In New York City, the days are still warm, but a current of turning inward runs under the surface, and I've been trying to set aside a bit of time to contemplate and plan for the days ahead. Ice brewing was made for this moment.

Kouridashi is a traditional Japanese brewing method similar to cold brewing, which extracts the most delicate and volatile aromatics of the tea leaves, without a trace of bitterness. It can be a lovely way to explore different facets of a tea you already know in its hot-brewed form. Because of the subtlety of the flavors revealed (floral, buttery, sweet notes), I find that it's best to use a single-note tea (like an oolong, white tea or a Japanese green tea), or a very simple blend. I've been using our Green Glow Elixir, which is a simple blend of organic Japanese sencha, matcha and wild mint. Because there are so many variables (size of ice cubes, type of tea, room temperature, etc.) the instructions below are more of a general guide, feel free to adapt it according to your tastes. Part of the pleasure of the process is learning to see your tea leaves in a new way and paying close attention to the messages they might reveal to you.

To try it yourself:

Place your tea leaves in a small teapot or a bowl. A tablespoon of tea leaves works well for Japanese green teas, use a touch more for white tea or oolong.

Place ice cubes on top (I used two large cubes from this mold). The speed of melting and brewing will be determined by the size of your ice cubes, but ideally you'd use enough ice cubes to melt into about 8oz of water. Feel free to experiment with your water/ice to tea ratio to suit your preferences.

Some like to jumpstart the brewing process with a splash of hot water over the ice cubes and tea. I prefer to just let the ice melt on its own, adding more if it seems necessary to create enough tea.

While your tea is steeping: read, resist, garden, meditate, go for a walk, brainstorm, organize, sing, strategize, nap, send resources to help Houston, if you can. Go take a peek at the vintage treasures I'm donating 100% of sales from this week for Harvey relief, too! I'd also like to mention that in solidarity with the people of Bangladesh, who are also experiencing devastating flooding right now, 100% of sales from The Rains botanical perfume until Tuesday, September 5th will go to OxFam's emergency response team currently working in South Asia.

Steep until the ice is melted, and strain thoroughly. Sip with love.


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