I tried that famous Russian ivan chai first time couple of years ago and thought I had found another one to call my favorite tea. I used to(still do) love Greek shepherd’s tea(Sideritis) but it isn´t always that easy to find it in fresh quality. I don´t mind classical fermented eastern teas but as I´m sensitive to caffeine I can´t enjoy them in the evening unless I want to stay up until morning. I tryed to ferment raspberry leaves and I totally adore the taste of that tea now.
We have always gathered wild raspberry leaves and sometimes even the whole braches in springtime to make a detoxing and energizing tea. Raspberries are one of the first ones here to open it´s leaves and as it´s growing so rapidly everywhere around the island´s sandy pasture lands and on natural hugelbeds (et. sakla vallid).
Red raspberry(Rubus idaeus) and if you live in south another plants in Rubus genus, can be used for raspberry chai. Also black and red currant and goose-or raspberry leaves can be used. The best time for gathering is when the leaves are just about to open until the blossoming period.
Fermenting is a naturally occuring process which involves enzymes and microorganisms living everywhere in the nature. They do most of the work for you and hence short fermenting is not a difficult process. Raspberry chai has distinctive full and sweet taste which doesn´t go away if stored in a dark airtight jar.
YOU NEED: a glass jar with a lid, transparent plastic bag, raspberry (or another Rubus plant leaves)
- Use a basket or a bag and pick the leaves with cloves or just washed hands.
- Pick out any insects who might´ve crawled inbetween the leaves or any other unknown objects that might not be good for fermentation process.
- Don´t wash the leaves because it flushes away the necessary microorganisms for fermenting.
- Rub the leaves with hands to release the moisture so that speeds up the withering of the leaves. Press the leaves tightly into the jar and put on the lid but don´t close the lid too tightly to keep some air flowing.
- Put the jar into a transparent plastic bag to keep the jar constantly warm to accelerate fermentation.
- Place the jar in a warm place and keep there for 12-48 hours. Check the leaves once or twice a day to make sure there is no mold growing on the leaves.
- Leaves are ready if they aren´t bright green any more and smell sweet and earthy. There should be no unpleasant odours or mold coming from the jar.
- Sprinkle the leaves on a tray and let them dry. Then store the tea in an airtight dark jar.
- For 1 cup of tea take 1- 1,5 TSP of herb and pour hot water on. I let it brew for max. 5 minutes because I like it light. I prefer to drink raspberry chai with a dash of oat milk.
- Enjoy the tea hot or as ice tea! 🙂
Check out the video here: