What Is Fermenting Tea?
For thousands of years, tea has remained to be the second most popular drink after water. Having been discovered at around 2700 B.C in China, this mood-changing and mind-stimulating drink have been processed and produced into different flavors to suit everybody's tea-drinking preference. One of the most notable types that have been made and refined over the years is fermented tea.
Whether you are a tea enthusiast or try something new to suit your dynamic drinking taste preference, read on as this article got you covered. We help you understand in detail what fermented tea drink is, how it came to existence, the types and potential health benefits you stand to gain if you take this wholesome drink.
What exactly is fermented tea?
Fermented tea, also known as post-fermentation tea, dark tea (NOT to be confused with black tea), or Hei cha, in the Chinese dialect, has been in existence for millennia. It is fermented through natural processes or accelerated, under controlled environments to produce beneficial microorganisms (bacteria, yeast, or fungi) that act as probiotics.
The fermentation process may take a couple of weeks to several decades, depending on what tea flavor is to be achieved. Fermented tea tastes better with age, just like wine; hence most of the manufacturers of fermented tea tend to ferment it for long periods.
After the fermentation process has been completed, the fermented tea is shaped into different shapes: Cakes, bricks, birds' nests, squares, or bamboo leaf logs are some of the common forms commonly used.
How was Chinese fermented tea discovered?
Legend has it that this drink came into existence by accident along with the Silk and Tea Road. After an extended heavy rainfall, merchants at the Silk Road and Tea Road decided to abandon tea leaves soaked in water for fear of contamination.
Years later, there was dysentery (infectious diarrhea normally blood-stained) outbreak in a nearby village where the tea leaves had been abandoned. Some of the locals tried consuming the left tea leaves, and almost immediately, most of them got cured. Thus, birthing this therapeutically beneficial drink.
Most common types of fermented tea
Pu'erh or Pu'er tea
This is a type of fermented Chinese tea that is made explicitly in Yunnan province. This fermented tea from China can be naturally fermented to produce Sheng pu'erh or accelerated to produce Shou Pu'er. Both forms of pu'erh reduce the bitterness of the tea leaves, thus making a sweeter flavor of fermented tea when brewed.
Kombucha dark tea
Famous for its detoxifying properties, this fermented tea was and is still being consumed in most parts of China and the world. It's typically made up of genuine tea leaves, sugar or alcohol, water, and Scoby(symbiotic culture bacteria and yeast). Unlike Pu'erh, dark kombucha tea is fizzy, and alcohol and other herbs may be added during its fermentation
Potential health benefits of Chinese fermented tea
·Contains probiotics (beneficial microorganisms) capable of boosting both your immune system and gut health
·Aids in digestion thus lessens the likelihood of you getting constipated
·Helps in weight loss by increasing your body's metabolic activities
·Has antioxidant properties that help your body keep of chronic ailments such as heart disease at bay
For a more wholesome and earthy taste, try brewing yourself a cup of fermented tea today. Remember that tea is not a medication; thus, you shouldn't substitute it with your prescribed drugs.