Tag: fermented tea

The True Art of Fermented Tea

fermented tea

You may have heard that fermented tea is good for you and be wondering what it is all about. But there are some common misconceptions about which teas are actually fermented so we thought we would explore the subject in a little more detail.

What is Fermented Tea?

Fermented tea is a type of tea that undergoes a unique fermentation process after the leaves are harvested and dried. This fermentation process, which always involves microbial action, is what sets these teas apart and gives them their distinctive flavours and health benefits.

Contrary to popular belief, this process is more than just the oxidation that most teas undergo; it’s a true microbial fermentation that can last from a few days to several years.

The difference between true fermentation and oxidation

Some teas are mistakenly classified as fermented when in reality they are simply oxidised. Most black teas are oxidised as part of their transformation from fresh green to fragrant black. White teas and green teas are not oxidised, oolongs are partially oxidised, whilst black teas are fully oxidised.

Oxidation vs True Fermentation

The distinction between oxidation and true fermentation is a fundamental one in the world of tea. Oxidation is a natural process driven by the enzyme action that exposes the tea leaves to oxygen after they are plucked. This process transforms the green leaves into a darker hue, creating robust flavours typical of black and oolong teas.

In contrast, true fermentation involves the action of microorganisms and can extend over long periods, even years, altering the chemical composition of the tea. The end product is a uniquely flavoured, fermented tea, rich in probiotics and other compounds that contribute to its already considerable health benefits. The difference is significant: one is a short, enzymatic process changing colour and flavour, and the other is a long-term, microbial process offering a unique complexity of taste and health properties.

Popular Types of Fermented Tea

Some popular types of fermented teas include Kombucha, Pu-erh, and Jun Tea, each having its own unique taste, aroma, and health benefits. Of these, kombucha and jun are fermented drinks, whilst Pu-erh is in the form of dried tea. Let’s examine these in turn.

Kombucha Tea

Kombucha is a tangy and effervescent tea-based beverage that has been enjoyed for its unique taste and purported health benefits for thousands of years. Originally from East Asia, it is traditionally made by fermenting sweetened tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, referred to as a “SCOBY”. The fermentation process takes about one to two weeks, resulting in a drink rich in beneficial probiotics, antioxidants, and organic acids. These compounds are believed to contribute to improved digestion, enhanced immune function, and overall well-being. Its flavour, often described as tart and sweet, can be customized with additional infusions of fruits, herbs, or spices, making kombucha not only healthful but also versatile and delicious.

Our organic kombucha is made with green tea

Jun Tea

Jun tea, often called the “Champagne of Kombucha,” is a delicate fermented tea drink from Tibet. It is brewed using green tea and honey instead of the black tea and sugar used in kombucha. The fermentation process, lasting approximately one week, results in a slightly sweet and tart drink, with subtle notes of honey and floral undertones brought out by the green tea. Like Kombucha, Jun tea is rich in probiotics and organic acids, and it’s believed to aid digestion, boost immunity, and promote overall wellness. Its unique and refreshing taste, combined with its health properties, has made Jun tea a popular choice among fermented tea enthusiasts.

Pu’erh Tea

Pu’erh Tea is a specialized form of fermented tea from China’s Yunnan province. It is unique in that it undergoes a process of microbial fermentation and oxidation after the leaves have been dried and rolled, which can last anywhere from a few months to several years. This ageing process imparts a distinctive earthy flavour to the tea, making it a truly unique beverage. Pu’erh comes in two varieties, raw (Sheng) and cooked (Shu), with the raw variety being lighter and the cooked variety having a richer, more robust flavour. Often enjoyed as a digestif, Pu’erh tea is celebrated for its potential health benefits, including aiding in weight loss, reducing cholesterol, and supporting heart health.

Unlike the first two examples, Pu’erh tea comes in a block, ready to be brewed as a hot drink. It is worth noting that whilst kombucha, and its cousin Jun, are brewed as drinks in a similar way to beer (for instance) neither are classed as containing alcohol.

Does kombucha ferment into alcohol?

The fermentation process of kombucha does result in a minor amount of alcohol, typically below 0.5%, which allows it to be classified as a non-alcoholic beverage in most countries. This trace amount of alcohol is a byproduct of the action of yeast on the sugar present in the tea. However, it’s worth noting that if kombucha is brewed improperly or left to ferment for an extended period, the alcohol content may rise. Nonetheless, under standard preparation and brewing conditions, the alcohol content in kombucha remains negligible and does not contribute to intoxication.

Is Fermented Tea Good for You?

Fermented teas are noted for their numerous health benefits. Here are some that are particularly noteworthy:

  • Digestive Health: The probiotics produced during fermentation can enhance gut health, assisting in digestion and nutrient absorption. Find out more about fermented foods and their role in gut health in our article.
  • Boosts Immunity: Fermented teas are rich in antioxidants that can bolster your immune system, helping to fend off common colds and infections.
  • Heart Health: Some studies suggest that consuming fermented teas may reduce LDL cholesterol levels, thereby promoting heart health.
  • Weight Management: Fermented teas like Pu-erh are often recommended for weight loss due to their potential to boost metabolism and fat burning.
  • Mental Well-being: Some components in fermented teas may help reduce stress and improve mood, contributing to better mental health.
  • Detoxification: Certain fermented teas, such as kombucha, are believed to help detoxify the body, removing harmful toxins and free radicals.
  • Bone Health: Regular consumption of fermented tea may help improve bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Remember, while these benefits are impressive, it’s always crucial to consume in moderation and consult a healthcare professional, especially if you have specific dietary restrictions or medical conditions.

Find out more about our raw organic sugar free kombucha.

This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Organic Kombucha Tea Manufacturers”.
See original article:- The True Art of Fermented Tea