A class of its own as far as flavor and complexity goes, but still subtle and not overpowering. That's how I would describe this outstanding Kombucha made with this particular Sheng Pu-erh tea.
But let's start from the beginning.
The tea of choice is Pu-erh (Pu'er), which is the tea produced in Yunnan, China.
This tea is fermented with the process called microbial oxidation, and that comes in addition to the traditional oxidation.
The right temperatures and humidity + time play an important role in this process. That gives the additional, and characteristic flavor complexity to this tea.
This tea starts traditionally as "Maocha" (毛茶, literally "fuzzy/furry tea" ), and can be aged, and sold like that, or it can be pressed into so called cakes and sold as "Sheng" or Raw Pu-erh.
The cakes are then aged (and fermented in the same process) for a number of years, resulting in a quite complex flavor.
Alternatively, there's also another type of Pu-erh - "Shou" Pu-erh (熟茶, literally "ripe tea") in which the tea leaves undergo an accelerated fermentation process before they are shaped into cakes.
We have also made Kombucha with this type of Pu-erh. But only as a special.
Now, back to our tea.
Our Pu-erh is Sheng Maocha (not pressed into cakes), and it's from 2017, so quite young for these type of teas.
But the leaves are picked from trees that are over hundred years old.
This tea's location is Mangfei village, near Licang city, in Yunnan Province.
The trees are also EU organic certified, and since they are over 100 yo, they have deep roots, which enable them to pull even more minerals from the soil.
Those minerals give the complexity, and characteristic flavor to this tea, and subsequently to our Kombucha.
The tea plantation is also run by a woman, who is known for her small empire of amazing tea facilities
Here's another shot of this amazing tea.
Let's take a look how our Pu-erh Kombucha gets created.
As with all teas, the water quality is crucial, and we are always aware of that. So we start with filtered and revitalized water, at the proper temperature, ideal for this tea.
And this is how this amazing tea looks like after steeping.
And also this.
Since this tea is still young, the "broth" is not as dark as with some other Pu-erh teas.
The fermentation process will make it even lighter in color.
After steeping, we add our unrefined sugar and the lucky Kombucha culture.
Then the usual seven or so days of fermentation, and then, it's bottling day.
As you can see below, now as a Kombucha, our Pu-erh is much lighter.
And the Scoby has a beautiful new growth on top. That is always a good sign.
Next, comes our little helper - the Elonmaster bottling machine.
And our small batch is almost ready for second fermentation.
When it's all done, it's almost ready. But not quite.
We still give our Kombucha at least one more week, for ageing and conditioning.
We've tried this Kombucha after 4-5 months and it was equally good, as at the beginning, if not better.
Here's another shot, our Pu-erh Kombucha..
Ingredients: Filtered and Revitalized Water, Live Kombucha Cultures, Unrefined Brown Sugar, and Sheng Pu-erh
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