This is my recipe for a perfect summer drink! The idea behind this beverage, for those of you that enjoy something to drink with a slight “kick” to it, lies in the successfully combining the follow ingredients.
Our goal is to make carbon dioxide, aka CO2, through a simple process. This is done by combining sugar with active yeast and water. Since the yeast is wild and totally natural, we could say the CO2 is natural and wild too. To understand how we get our started you need to refer to my first tea experiment to see how we make our own active natural yeast to act as a starter. That can be found at this link. (URL location. http://www.grandtea.com/tea-reviews/archives/583 )
Things You need:
100 ml Yeast Starter
Tea Leafs 10 gram White Down Silver Needle
Splash of lemon juice or vinegar
900 ml Water
125 gram white sugar
Plastic Soft Drink Bottle
Once all the ingredients and equipment are on hand, we proceed as follows. Clean the plastic bottle and utensil carefully, hygiene is very important here, contamination of harmful microbes will make you sick. So if your final product smell strange and moldy, throw it away. Don’t take any chances.
We first cook the tea leaves in a solution of the water and sugar. Cooking being a rather nebulous word, let us say we simmer the leaves of tea for approximately 20 minutes.
The next step is where many people make a mistake. We must let the now sweet tea solution to cool down to room’s temperature, before adding the starter. If we add the yeast starter too soon the yeast will die.
Once the sweet tea solution is near room temperature, we add the active yeast starter. You may purchase wine making yeast or literally catch your own yeast from White tea, as done in our first experiment.
Next, filter out the tea leafs and fill a plastic bottle with the sweet tea plus starter combination (never use a bottle made of glass, due to risk of explosion). Don’t forget to add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar, it keep away the unwanted mold and bad bacterial.
First fill the bottle to 2/3 and Shake the sweet tea very actively and firmly. This aerates the solution and helps provide the yeast to get the oxygen it needs to be very active. After you have aerated the tea, fill the bottle to the top and close the lid tightly.
Then we allow the entire concoction to sit and ferment at a constant room temperature. After 24 hours, there should already be bubbles of CO2 visible in the solution.
After the 4-5 days of fermentation at room temperature, place the beverage in the refrigerator for two more days.
After those two days, the fermented tea beverage is ready to serve, over ice. Be careful when you open the plastic bottle because it should be under pressure. You should be able to enjoy the tea for several days, but keep it in the refrigerator. If the bottle feel hard and expanded, then it is time to open the bottle to release CO2 pressure build up. If you forget, you might find bubbly tea exploded all over the inside of your refrigerator.
In summary, my sparkling white tea tastes somewhat like champagne or a cider. Serve it with ice cubes, very refreshing and just perfect for summer! 100% natural and healthy. Younger people love it but for adults it may be too sweet. This can be taken care of by using less sugar. To make it more dry in taste, let it ferment longer. The longer you ferment the tea, the more sugar convert to gas and alcohol by the yeast. How long depends on how dry and alcoholic you prefer.
I would like to experiment with sparkling Green tea, Black tea, Oolong tea and why not try some unusual like sparkling black pu-erh! If you have a sparkling idea, please send it to me, I would like to try it! .
Next time you start a new batch, you don’t need to make a starter again, keep some of your sparkling white tea and it contains the yeast you need to start a new batch.