View Full Version : Tea in mead?

11-07-2015, 07:11 PM
I've been trying to think of what I want to make next while my meads are fermenting. At some point I want to use tea in a recipe. The ones I am most excited about using are a chocolate chai (http://www.adagio.com/chai/chocolate_chai.html) (made with black tea) and an herbal called foxtrot (http://www.adagio.com/herbal/foxtrot.html) (mint, vanilla, chamomile). These ones are both loose leaf teas and I got them from Adagio Teas.

My question is for anyone who has experiance using tea in mead/metheglins. Is it better to add the tea in primary or secondary, and what sort of difference would this make? Is it better to add the dried tea leaves straight? Brew it first? Should some sort of bag be used (I haven't looked into these much yet)? How much tea should be added per gal for a good balanced flavor? Anything else to note?

I have another idea for a mojito-like mead, and would like to do some melomels in the future. I may also use a less flavorful tea (simple black or green) with fruit mead. Right now I have a pyment and pear cyser fermenting.

11-07-2015, 09:22 PM
The few times I have used tea in my mead, I have brewed it prior to primary fermentation along with spices, strained it and just added the liquid to the must. I do not have enough experience to know if this is the best way.

11-07-2015, 09:28 PM
I had some Black Tea that I bought to use. Not sure how I'll use it yet, so mainly tagging this thread for interest. My thought is something that's tart and take it dry. Cranberries? Keep us posted what you do!

11-08-2015, 12:00 AM
Currently brewing a Chai Metheglin (Ginger root, Ceylon Cinnamon bark, Darjeeling Tea, Cardamom, Cloves, Nutmeg, and Vanilla bean)
I feel it may be best to brew the tea beforehand and then add honey and ferment in primary. Then again, I am always learning and trying new things.
I boiled the tea mixture for 2 minutes, steeped for over 10 minutes then allowed to cool well under 100F as to not degrade the honey in any way.
Had to pitch yeast twice. Not sure if first pack was bad or what not but second took off like a rocket.

11-08-2015, 01:09 AM
I routinely use a cup or two of brewed loose leaf black tea per gallon. It imparts a little depth to the finished product.

Imagine adding 2 cups of strong black tea to your must. Yes, it turns it quite dark. But then a mysterious, wonderful thing happens: It lightens quickly and, after 3 or 4 days, you would never know the tea was there.

In order to end up with the flavors and aromas you're looking for in the finished product, I would recommend adding, incrementally, the dry tea to your mead after fermentation has finished. Think about it: how much does wine taste like grapes? How much does mead actually taste like honey? Most of the taste/aroma you end up with is from the unfermented portion of what you started out with. That is incredibly difficult to control. That's why I recommend adding your flavored teas and such after fermentation and tasting every couple of days.

11-08-2015, 11:20 AM
I have used tea only once in a mead, and it was the Sweet and Spicy tea, can't remember who makes it. I steeped eight bags in about four cups of hot water for about an hour, then added the cooled tea to my secondary and allowed it to merge and clear. I know this "weakens" or dilutes the final product a bit but I was not at all displeased with the outcome. Tons of aromatics from the tea, and the flavor is bold, which is what I wanted. Perhaps I could have used my tea as part of my water addition up front so as not to dilute, but I wonder how much of the aromatics I would have lost during primary ferment.

11-09-2015, 10:14 PM
Thanks for the input. I will probably just add the leaves in secondary for these more complex teas so that I don't blow off flavors or dilute the batch. Any idea what will happen if I leave the tea leaves in too long? I should probably taste often and then rack it once I get a good strength, right? I don't want it to get too bitter.

I may add some black tea to my cyser when I rack it to experiment with it a bit, but I want to see what it tastes like beforehand to see if it might be a good idea or if it has enough complexity already.

I'll keep you posted what I do, but this may not happen for a while.

11-09-2015, 10:43 PM
Yeah, tea left in too long will probably go bitter.

Also remember that ethanol is a solvent. It may not end up not tasting as you'd like, so I would recommend going small. Start with maybe 1/4 of what you think you want to use. Taste (and smell) early and often. Often, the subtler, delicate hint is preferable to a punch-in-the-face style. I made an "Iced Tea" mead once. My second batch, actually. I put 8 tsp (if I remember correctly) of loose leaf black tea in primary, along with extra honey and the zest of one lemon, hoping for a hint of tea (For a gallon of tea, being 16 8 oz cups, normally I would use 16 tsp) and a hint of lemon with a dominant honey finish. It turned out exactly the opposite, with the tea and lemon being quite strong and the honey present only as "something sweet". It was also quite bitter for a year or year and a half. It did eventually mellow, but not enough... well, at least not before I drank every last drop of it. ;)

The storal of my morey is "it is easier to add than to subtract".

ps: Adding loose tea to primary was a stupid-a$$ idea. The fermenting sent almost 1/3 of the tea leaves up into and through the airlock. What a mess!

11-10-2015, 12:17 AM
Good to know, thanks.

11-10-2015, 01:49 AM
Also, with fruit additions, they say anything past about two weeks and you risk the vegetal qualities of the fruit leeching into the flavor. I would imagine the same might apply to tea. I would adopt the approach you stated, but use enough quantity that you won't have to go past the two week mark to get the flavor strength you want.