Find out what makes this weird-sounding tea so delicious…
When most people hear the word “fermented“, they get a bit creeped out. The thought of putting anything “rotten” into their body sounds unappealing. We’ve all seen what happens to fruits and veggies when they spoil, and that’s the last thing we want to eat.
But “fermented” doesn’t mean “rotten”–it just means that bacteria has been allowed to grow in the food or drink. A lot of the food you eat is fermented, such as:
- Yoghurt is fermented milk
- Wine is fermented grape juice
- Kimchi is fermented cabbage
- Sauerkraut is also fermented cabbage
These fermented foods don’t just taste good, but they’re also incredibly healthy! The fermentation process fills the foods and drinks with bacteria. These bacteria, when consumed, find a home in your intestines, where they multiply along with the bacteria already living in your gut. They actually help to make you healthier and increase digestive function.
Fermented tea has become a highly popular drink in the last few years, but it has been around for centuries! Before you get all weirded out, take a moment to understand what fermented tea really is…
For food to ferment, there has to be some sort of sugar present. Black tea doesn’t contain any sugar, so in order to make fermented tea, sugar has to be added. First of all, the tea leaves themselves are exposed to humidity and oxygen, causing a form of oxidation that increases the amount of enzymes produced by the tea. Sugar is added to the brewed tea leaves and left to sit, and that’s when the fermentation begins.
Just like with fermented grape juice (wine), the fermented tea contains a bit of alcohol. Many people in China and Japan drink this fermented tea as an alcoholic beverage, but the alcohol content of the fermented tea is fairly low.
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Instead, the fermented tea is consumed more as a remedy or tonic than a cocktail. There are a number of types of fermented teas popular in Asia, including:
- Chinese Pu-Erh tea
- Chinese Anhua Black Tea
- Chinese Sichuan Border Tea
- Japanese Toyama Kurocha
- Korean Ddok Cha
- Thai/Laotian Miang kham
All of these teas are made using a variety of fermentation processes, resulting in a wide range of flavors, alcohol contents, and health benefits.
So why drink fermented tea?
First off, you get all the health benefits that come from drinking tea. Tea (black and green tea in particular) is packed with antioxidants, which will help to reduce free radical damage to your body. Green tea contains fat-burning properties, and black tea can help to stimulate energy production without stimulating the central nervous system (one of the primary side effects of coffee).
Second, you get the benefits of the fermentation process. This means that you get a lot of healthy bacteria, which will improve digestive function. Your body will have an easier time breaking down and absorbing food and drinks. The bacteria will also help to boost your immunity, making you more resistant to harmful bacteria, viruses, and pathogens in the food you eat and the liquids you drink. All in all, the bacteria in the fermented tea are AMAZING for your health.
Of course, the fermented teas also contain a lot of healthy acids, enzymes, and compounds that will play a role in your overall health and wellbeing. Fermented tea can help to reduce inflammation in your body, flush toxins from your liver, aid in body detoxification, and even improve cardiovascular health. Basically, this fermented tea is a health remedy that is definitely worth trying!