What causes green tea to ferment?!


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What causes green tea to ferment?!

Postby FairTaxGuy » Feb 18th, '06, 17:47

I wasn't able to find this topic but has anyone else had this problem of the tea tasting like it has become fermented? I'll outline the occasions when I can remember it happening:

-Brewing with "sun tea" method (would always occur)
-Refrigerating the green tea and drinking it the next day
-Not refrigerating the gree tea and drinking it 1-2 days later

I don't really use the sun tea method anymore but this happened a couple of times.

When I make a larger quantity of green tea and then refrigerate, it usually becomes bitter but once in a while has the beer taste like it has fermented.

I'm not sure if green tea must be refrigerated but if I save some tea for the next day it usually is not bitter if I do not refrigerate it, but I've had the fermented taste too before when leaving it out.

I usually just use grocery store type brands like Lipton, Salada, Celestial Seaonings, etc. I also sweeten with honey and demerara sugar to keep consistent with the health benefits (and certainly not contaminant it with those chemicals or bleached sugar!) of the green tea.

So I'm just curious if anybody here knows of what causes this fermentation, and perhaps I'm brewing it wrong or use too cheap of tea or sweetening when it's too hot or too cold? I just want to be able to make enough tea at once to save for later and not have it taste like beer (do not drink alcohol).
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Postby Joe » Feb 18th, '06, 18:35

I don't know what would cause tea to ferment like that, but once I made Iced white tea, and it tasted like whiskey. That was almost a year ago, and I still can't drink that particular type of white tea. :( Too bad and all because it was the kind that really sparked my love for tea. So if nothing else, I feel your pain.
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Postby Warden Andy » Feb 18th, '06, 20:50

First, are you making iced green tea? If you are, maybe the tea just goes bad. When I made iced tea with black tea, after a while it would go sour. If that's not the case, then I don't know what causes it. I used to make iced green tea a while ago for my dad, and it was fine after being in the fridge for a couple days.

If you are making hot green tea, and putting leftover green tea in the fridge, just make less green tea. I only make one cup at a time.
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Postby FairTaxGuy » Feb 20th, '06, 21:55

Thanks for the replies guys.

No I'm not really making iced tea. Just when I have some leftover I will put it in the fridge to drink later like iced tea (no ice though, if that makes a difference?).

You said your black tea goes sour after a while? I used to make 3 quarts of iced black tea at a time and never had an issue with the fermentation and it was sit days in the fridge. Though maybe I did not use honey, I wonder if this is part of the cause?

Yes making less has been the only solution, but I'd rather use my iced tea maker just the same and make 3 quarts at a time. I drink too much to make a few cups at a time ;) Thanks.

Joe did you sweeten your white tea with anything and how long after you made it did it taste like whiskey? Did you steep for the right amount of time (don't think this is the issue as I've accidently steeped for 30 minutes before and it actually tasted fine!) and in not in metal? I've steeped in metal before back when I was ignorant and it would just taste really bitter, but not like alcohol. Making good tea actually seems very scientific, I bet chemists made the best tea back in the day ;).
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Postby garden gal » Feb 20th, '06, 23:16

I thought it was mold that tea started to grow where it would get slimy on the sides of the container and some cloudiness at the bottom. Usually it takes several days though for that to happen and longer if in the fridge. I've gotten bad tea (gone bad I mean not just bad tasting) at diners even. I've never had it go bad overnight though except sitting out in very, very warm temps.
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Postby Joe » Feb 22nd, '06, 00:46

I didn't sweeten it with anything. I steeped it for the proper amount of time like i'd do when making hot tea. then i added cold water after brewing the tea twice as long. It was still warm, so i put it in the freezer for about an hour, and it was fairly cold, so i took it out, had a sip and spit it out. Ugh, i can still kinda taste it. I wanted it to be good, so i tried it a few more times. It wasn't the first time I made iced tea either. So I don't know.
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