How Long It Takes To Ferment Homemade Hard Tea

If the thought of handling SCOBY to make kombucha gives you pause yet you still are craving a light, fizzy, boozy drink to enjoy, consider hard tea. Before we travel down the path of making fermented tea, however, know that once you open this door, options are endless as you set out to brew bubbly concoctions from the comfort of your home. From choosing different kinds of teas to adjusting ratios of added ingredients, you have an entire landscape to explore before you serve a new kind of alcoholic refreshment at your next dinner party.

At its core, hard tea is made from water, sugar, brewing yeast like wine or mead yeast, and whatever kind of tea a brewer has chosen. Tea must first be brewed and left to cool before it is combined with sugar, yeast, and enough water to store and ferment. The more sugar that is added to the batch to be fermented, the higher the alcoholic content the finished beverage will pack as yeast added to the mixture will feed on the sugar and alcohol is the result of the interaction. In as few as two days, you'll be able to see fermentation taking place. The tricky part is leaving this batch alone to ferment — some home brewers recommend leaving the mixture for a couple of months or more before considering bottling, while others call it a day around the second-week mark.

A drinkable experiment

Once you have mastered the basic process of making fermented tea, you can begin to tinker with adding fresh and frozen fruits, botanicals, spices, and flavors to create uniquely flavored and smooth brews that could give cans of hard cider a serious run for their money. When assembling your batch of ingredients, remember that you can always adjust with sweeteners later on. The yeast you add to your brew will also impact the ABV levels of your finished tea, and any fruit you incorporate into the batch will add more sugars to the concoction, impacting both the taste and the alcoholic wallop of your final fermented drink.

Since there's no hard and fast rule when it comes to your hard tea, you'll need to decide what kinds of flavors and the amount of fizz you'd like to see in your cup. Keep in mind that your fermented teas are more punchy than a regular cup of tea, so you'll want to pour and sip accordingly.