View Full Version : Mead Tea, or Tea Mead ?

04-11-2006, 04:24 AM

04-11-2006, 08:53 AM
If it were me, I'd step the tea back to around 4-5 bags max. And a suggestion: consider making a pot of tea to add to your must, rather than fermenting on the bags. Tea has a lot of tannins, and that becomes more pronounced the longer they soak. (I drink a lot of tea) Boil up a kettleful of water, and steep the teabags in around 4-5 cups of the boiled water for around 10-15 minutes, or until the tea reaches a flavor and intensity you like. Then, you have a benchmark to work with, *and* you can duplicate it to add more later, if you need to.

Me, I'm going to use some of Auntie Arwens Sunshine Chai to make a tea mead, next batch (now to free up a gallon container to test it in!).

Vicky - chai addict

04-11-2006, 01:38 PM

Vicky's right about the quantity of tea bags vs. tannin. I made a Lapsang Souchong metheglin in Feb. of last year - should be ready about now. Previous tastings showed it to be harsh, just like any other too-young mead. Plenty of tea flavor and character, and the caffeine came right through. As I found out after an evening glass of this metheglin, which prevented me from sleeping till 'way too late that night. ::) I used no fresh fruit, just tea, honey, and some white peppercorns. The yeast was Pasteur Red. I think it'll turn out well. Another tea wine (not mead) I made was based on rose chai, and it was good too.

I would be curious to know if you can indeed make a tea metheglin that's ready in a short time. Maybe the lemons will help? Or the whizzy fermentation created by bread yeast? Anyway, please let us know.


04-11-2006, 10:27 PM
Ah. Sorry about that!

I'd still recommend using less tea bags, unless you want a really strong tea mead. Tea comes through pretty well in mead. *And* if you start with less, you can *always* add more. But if you get a mead too strong, it's harder to back it off.

As long as you don't steep too long, the tea will be ok on tannins. I'd steep to your personal tea taste, and add then.

As for the raisins, they add taste, sort of a smoky-sweet, and also provide more food for the yeasties. I use them in place of yeast nutrient sometimes. I'm not sure how much tannin they add, I've not seen anything that details that. If I use raisins, I'll add a handful to a 5-gallon batch, so if I were doing a 1-gal batch, I'd keep my raisins to around 10-12, max.

04-11-2006, 11:06 PM
I would guess that raisins *do* have tannin, but how much is left after the preserving, I couldn't say.

As far as what raisins to use, as with any stuff you add to mead, the higher the quality, the better the mead. Consider avoiding grocery store raisins, they are often prepared using sulfur-products, not a flavor you necessarily want in your mead. If you've a Whole Foods or other natural foods store, check there. You'll be able to get naturally-dried non-chemically preserved raisins that will give your mead a better chance of avoiding off flavors. This is just my experience after using store-bought raisins (your mileage may vary, LOL).

04-12-2006, 04:13 AM
Hey Fwee,

Everything Vicky and Miriam have suggested is spot on. They're giving you great advice from years of experience so I'd just be restating the same stuff in a different way.

The raisins have tannin just as grapes do, it will be a bit more concentrated in the skin since it has been dried. The rasins will also add a more vinous character to your mead and give it a "rounder" mouthfeel with a bit more volume. The tannin you get from the raisins has a different character than the tannin from tea so you'll get a blend. Taste your must when you're mixing it up and see where everything is balancewise, and then figure it will all be backed off after fermentation. You can always add more tannin at the end of fermentation as well.

Hope that helps,


04-12-2006, 11:14 PM
With the old books they had me adding malic,tartaric,citric acids, and tannin. So eventually I decided I needed to know what these things were really contributing to my mead. So I dipped my finger in each one and tasted. Wow what a learning experience.
I am guessing you have no tannin, but it is cheap. So I challenge you to take the test!
E.C. Kraus has got free shipping on orders over $25 if you have no near by suppliers. Its not hard to rack up $25 any where. Be careful some of their products are a little overpriced but when you figure out shipping its not to bad. I would stay away from bottles and carboys from there, if memory serves me right they are way overpriced on those items.
Take the Pepsi challenge! >:D
Have a glass of water handy!

Freedom Foundry
04-12-2006, 11:46 PM
I have no clue as to what tannin tastes like

It tastes a lot like that tea you're over-steeping. You probably wouldn't have to add sugar if you only did it for a couple minutes--there's a noticable amount of sweetness in good tea that's not too tannic. I get some of that from Irish Breakfast. Some people just like sugar in their tea even so, and that's fine--but my advice is to experiment.

I'll leave the recipe and process advice to the more experienced members, but please consider using something other than bags of Lipton. It will provide more than adequate tannin, but I'm sure I wouldn't like the taste it would add to a mead. Go to one of your local coffee shops, and ask them about what black teas they like. Try some different kinds.

The tea's one of three ingredients, so try to find the perfect one. When I first got into tea, it took me a few months after finding the right tea to be able to brew a pot I was really satisfied with almost every time. It's a really simple thing, but the few variables really matter.

More leaves and less time work for me. A heaping teaspoon for one mug, and none of my black teas take longer than three minutes.

Good luck on this batch :)

04-13-2006, 01:07 AM
Hey FF,

Those are good points about tea. I'm not a good resource on tea because I mostly despise the stuff in just about all forms except for Japanese green tea.

Kace and Fwee, I'd suggest that for an accurate representation of what to look for in the acids, tannins etc. you'll need to mix them up into a solution that is at the same approximate concentration as you would have in your must/mead. I've seen a lot of people that take a teaspoon and mix it into a glass of water and say "oooh this stuff is terrible" but when you mix that same teaspoon into a 5 gallon batch or 2.5 gallon batch you'll find that both the taste and concentration are much less objectionable. I wouldn't say that you'll want to whip up this mixture as a refreshing drink in the afternoon, but it will be a better guide to what to look for in the must/mead. Also when you taste something in an undiluted form, it will have a much different flavor than when it is diluted.

Hope that helps,


04-19-2006, 11:39 PM
Fwee, did you take any initial gravity readings when you pitched the batch? Also, what type of yeast did you use? I didn't see it mentioned.

Depending on the yeast used, if it were me, I'd leave it in the primary ferment until you get close to a gravity you want. However, if you're looking to keep it sweet and give the yeast less chance to lessen the sugar, then rack. You'll reduce the yeasties that way, at least somewhat.

But, I'd check your gravity first, see where you're at (this is where the wee thing comes in handy).

vicky - planning to raid the grocery budget for more vodka and brandy money to do a couple more cordials......

04-19-2006, 11:56 PM
What type of airlock activity are you getting?


04-20-2006, 08:19 AM
LOL...my dad used balloons too, it works well. I've a bottle of his rhubarb wine that was still yummy after being in the basement for 25 years....

Yeah, the lees residue is the dead yeasties, but that shouldn't hurt any. 'Leaving on the lees' is measured in months, not weeks, at least in all the stuff I've read about it.

OK, as to racking: You could rack now, but if you've an active ferment, and had planned to let it ferment out to the end, I'd suggest letting it finish. Yeah, many of the yeasties would go with the rack, but if its working, why mess with it? If it were my batch, thats what I would do. But then, ::) I'm lazy and use the least number of rackings to achieve my meads...

06-11-2006, 08:16 PM
whats in the bottles to the left?