All About Fermented Tea: A Guide to Kombucha and Other Drinks

All About Fermented Tea: A Guide to Kombucha and Other Drinks

Fermented tea is exactly what it sounds like: a tea that undergoes the fermentation process. These drinks are typically made by exposing black teas to yeast and good bacteria. The tea has a distinct flavor, very different from traditional tea. The fermentation leaves a smoother and earthy flavor rather than the bitterness of other types of tea.

Examining Fermented Tea

Fermented beverages are becoming more popular. Odds are you’ve heard of kombucha, but if you’ve never tried it before, you may know little about it. When it comes to fermented teas, the most common two are kombucha and pu-erh.

What Is Kombucha?

Kombucha’s history dates back to 2,000 years ago in China, but the use of this drink would spread to Korea, Japan, and eventually Russia and Eastern Europe. It only became widely popular in the early 20th century but has grown in popularity ever since.

Brewers make kombucha by mixing black tea, sugar and a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, or SCOBY. The mixture must then be set aside for at least one week, though two weeks to a month is more typical. During this time, the SCOBY breaks down the sugars in the tea, converting them into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The result is a fizzy fermented tea.

Instead of fermenting kombucha yourself, you can choose prepared or powdered kombucha. Powdered kombucha is shelf stable and gives you more control over your drink. Manufacturers cook high-quality black tea before adding sugar and SCOBY to create powdered kombucha. The fermentation process begins and lasts for 14 to 21 days. The fermentation process cannot end until the manufacturers confirm polyphenols, flavonoids and organic acids.

Following the first fermentation stage, a second fermentation with apple cider vinegar lasts for three days. Next, spray drying occurs, and the finished powder is ready to be packaged.

What Is Pu-erh Tea?

Pu-erh tea is less popular than kombucha in the West, but it has many of the same health benefits. It is a black tea, originally from China. Pu-erh tea has a rich, dark flavor that may appeal to those who love coffee and decadent-flavored desserts. Many people drink pu-erh tea after a heavy meal.

There are two different ways to process pu-erh fermented tea. Sheng pu-erh is aged and processed with slow fermentation that can take about 15 years. Shou processing, on the other hand, includes heat and moisture application. In addition, the tea leaves are inoculated with bacteria. After about a year, the harvested years become finished.

Pu-erh comes in compact bricks or cakes. When you unwrap the compressed tea, pry off about a teaspoon of the leaves and rinse them before steeping them for about 15 to 30 seconds.

Comparing Fermented Teas

Fermented teas have a variety of digestive health benefits, like most fermented foods. For example, when you think about yogurt, you probably have heard about all of the benefits to digestive health due to probiotics. The probiotics in fermented food help restore gut bacteria to aid digestive issues.

What Are the Benefits of Kombucha?

People drink fermented tea for a lot of reasons. On the one hand, kombucha has a unique flavor. Kombucha has a slightly fizzy taste for those who want to break away from drinking soda, giving soda drinkers a healthy alternative. In addition, there are other health benefits to kombucha.

Immune System Boost

You should ensure ample antioxidants in your diet to boost your immune system. Drinking kombucha is an easy way for you to increase your antioxidant consumption. About 70% to 80% of your immune system cells are found in your digestive system.

Microbiome Improvement

When your microbiome is off, your gut health suffers because of it. Sufferers of IBS and other digestive issues may find that their symptoms improve when they consume probiotics. Drinking kombucha tea regularly might help with gut health.

Blood Pressure Decrease

Lowering your blood pressure takes a multi-step effort. Changes in your diet and physical activity can lower your blood pressure. Reducing salt and eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables can decrease blood pressure, but drinking kombucha may also contribute to your blood pressure health. Those with the most positive effects consume kombucha regularly for eight weeks.

What Are the Benefits of Pu-erh Tea?

Like kombucha, there are a lot of reasons to drink pu-erh tea. In general, fermented tea has many similar benefits across the board. Both are good for digestive health.

Weight Loss

Animal studies show that pu-erh tea can help animals burn body fat while stopping the synthesis of new fat cells. If you want to lose weight, there is some evidence that tea could help you with your weight loss journey.

Cholesterol Benefits

More animal studies have shown that supplement pu-erh tea extract can help with levels of fat in the blood. Instead of absorbing fat in the blood, the pu-erh tea increases the amount of dietary-fat-bound bile acid that is excreted. Additionally, the weight loss associated with fermented tea can help with cholesterol.

Liver Health Boost

If pu-erh decreases fat accumulation, it may also be able to prevent fatty liver disease. It could even reverse the condition by reducing the excess fat in your liver. Additionally, for patients who use a chemotherapy drug called cisplatin, pu-erh may be able to prevent damage to the liver.

Preparing Convenient Fermented Tea

Given that kombucha and other fermented drinks offer a variety of health benefits, including boosting the gut biome and immune system, it's no wonder people are looking for easy ways to access this beverage at home.

At Superfoods Company, we provide a convenient way for you to prepare kombucha in your home and on the run. To craft powdered kombucha, all you need is water. Drink it warm or drink it cold; however you prefer your tea, you have options when it comes in a shelf-stable powder. You can also blend it into juices and smoothies. Check out our products to reap the benefits of fermented tea and make simple, healthy changes in your life.

Back to blog