Iced tea - brewing for concentrate or brewing in large quantities. Help?

Our shop is high volume and we're currently brewing 3 gallons per tea at a time. We need to upgrade to 5 gallons to keep up with volume.

 

We'd like to brew a concentrate and then dilute it to order. I've never had to do this on such a large scale.

 

Our raspberry hibiscus recipe is solid, as is our black tea. However, we also serve iced mint mate and green tea (gunpowder). We're having the hardest time getting these two to taste good.  We cold brew both. We've tried steeping the green tea for about 3 hours, but it tastes too sharp for what we want.

 

Does anyone have some recipes or advice?  

 

Thanks BX!

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My system is to brew the tea at the recommended dose, time and temperature then refrigerate. I've tried brewing concentrates with mixed results. I suggest trying a 3-5 minute hot brew then chill it.

It's been my experience with green teas cold brewing at a ratio of 1 lb to 3 gallons of water for a period of about 12 hours creates a nice concentrate of 1 part tea to 3 parts water (in most cases) Sometimes i need to adjust the water ratio to 2 parts water depending on the tea and how it extracted. Always tinker with the ratios because I have found that certain teas extract with inconsistant results depending on the teas, although I have found that more so with herbals. Anyway, that's what I have found. We also have been cold brewing for the past 5 years with excellent customer feedback.

 

Good luck!!

 

Nick

For black tea, our shop has great success with Lipton Cold Brew.  It's soooooo easy, we don't have to heat the water at all, you just leave 4 teabags per gallon in the water for like 5 minutes and you're set.  It tastes pretty good too.  As for the concentrate, I've heard boiling it down after making it, but that seems kind of counterproductive.  I made some at home once, using twice the number of teabags as cups of water, adding a couple cups of sugar, get the water to boiling, remove it and put the teabags in right away. Then do 4 parts water to one part concentrate.
Our shop tried the Toddy system for concentrate (2lbs of tea) to 2.5 gal for 8 hours, but it was far too overextracted. So now we make a toddy in the morning at .5lbs of tea to 5 gal of water and let it sit for 5 hours. It's delicious!
Our shop brew assam loose leaf tea. Boil water, turn off stove then pour the loose leaf tea and let it steep for 12mins. Strain. 60grams makes 6liters of Assam Red Tea. The tea mix well and taste good with soy and fruit flavors like mango, strawberry. Mix using a shaker.

Lisa, the shop I just left was very high volume in downtown Boston. We went through quite a bit of iced tea. Our tea supplier, Mem Tea, set us up with a "machine" that we would stick half gallon jugs of tea concentrates (black, green & herbal). It was plumbed into a cold water line split from the coffee machine line running next to it. I am no longer at the shop, or I would give you the name of the equipment. It would mix fresh water in at the pour spout set to the desired dilution. We would brew back up half gallons of the concentrates so we could swap them out as they ran out. It was a great system that allowed us to brew fairly infrequently, kept up with volume, and served a great product. All we did was fill a cup with ice and pull the lever for the correct tea and it worked very well. Service time or an iced tea was less than 10 seconds. It takes about 30 seconds to swap out the empty container for a fresh one, so it doesn't slow you down in the middle of a rush.

 

Good luck, hope this helps!

-Phil

 

*I did not link the tea supplier as an add for the company, just so you could inquire if you are interested.

I should add that we used our Fetco 2052 coffee brewer to brew the tea. We had an extra brew basket with a tea filter insert just for brewing tea, so we didn't ruin the baskets we used for coffee.

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