YeasTea Recipe




About: I'm a microbiology "research specialist" (i.e. lab tech) and grad school hopeful trying (among other things) to make stuff with microbes.

"YeasTea", get it? It's tea fermented by yeast!

Now I am aware that kombucha is also a yeast fermented tea drink too; kombucha is actually what made me think about throwing some yeast into a pitcher of tea to start with. While both drinks do involve yeast and tea, YeasTea differs from kombucha because the kombucha culture is a symbiotic mass of multiple yeast strains and species of acetic acid bacteria, which results in the final drink having little to no alcohol (the bacteria gobble it up) but potentially all sorts of acids, and the YeasTea culture is nothing more than our good friend Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which (despite the fact that I'm using baker's yeast) results in a tea drink that's alcoholic but lacks (for the most part) the same variety of acids found in kombucha. 

To make a yourself a batch of YeasTea you'll need the following:

Kitchen Tools:

A sanitary glass vessel that can be sealed (I use a boiled mason jar)
A wooden spoon
A candy thermometer
Measuring Spoons:
 -1/8th tsp
-1 tbsp
A kettle or other means to boil water
A measuring cup
A 1/2 end volume container to brew tea in (you could just brew the tea in the same glass vessel the drink will ferment in, but I find it easier to use a separate vessel) 


1 tea bag/cup
1 tbsp sugar/cup
~1/8th tsp baker's yeast/4 cups

Step 1: Brew the Tea

Boil water and make a batch of tea half the volume of your final intended batch size using 1 tea bag per final batch size cup. So, for example, if you want to make 4 cups of YeasTea, brew a batch of tea using 2 cups of water with 4 tea bags. Let the tea bags steep for between 10-20 minutes.

Step 2: Hydrate Your Yeast (If You Need To)

If you're using dried yeast, while your tea bags still have at least 5 minutes left of steeping to do measure out 1 cup of warm water (I just run faucet water over my hand until it reaches a comfortable temperature to figure out how warm to make it) and mix in your yeast so that there aren't any floating specks left over.

I generally use around 1/8th of a tsp of yeast to make a 4 cup batch of YeasTea, and though I'm sure this volume of yeast will probably be good for larger or smaller batches assuming that the yeast only won't reproduce more than their environment can handle I'm just going to say to use around 1/8th of a tsp of baker's yeast per 4 cups just to be safe.

Step 3: Mix the Ingredients

Once the tea is done steeping (if it's in another vessel) pour it into the vessel you intend to ferment your YeasTea in and then add cool water to it until you reach a volume 1 cup less than your final intended volume. So, for example, if you're making a final batch size of 8 cups take the 4 cups of tea that you now have and add 3 cups of cool water. Now stick your thermometer into the tea and wait until it reads between 98 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit (or between 36 and 43 degrees Celsius) to add your 1 cup of yeast.

Now add the sugar, stir it in with your chosen spoon, and seal the lid on your vessel

Step 4: Ferment!

Stick your vessel someplace warmish and somewhat dark to let it ferment for at a minimum of 3 days, though I generally let it go for between 4-6. If you're using baker's yeast like I did, for the first two to three days the yeast will produce massive amounts of CO2, and though a bit of carbonation in the final product is pleasing I'd advise that you crack the seal of your vessel's lid at least once over the course of these first few days to ensure that too much CO2 doesn't build up in your vessel and dissolve into your drink. 

Step 5: Enjoy!

Once your tea is done fermenting place it in the fridge until you're ready to drink it. While (I at least think) it tastes pretty good straight, I generally prefer to flavor  my YeasTea  with some sugar and some lemon juice or vanilla soy milk as I would a regular glass of tea.

As the second and third picture show, however, adding soy milk to YeasTea causes its fluid components to settle out. While I was a bit unnerved to see my drink do this, the fact that a concoction of vodka, soy milk, and soda I like to drink does a similar separation act makes me pretty sure that this is due to the presence of a minute amount of alcohol in my drink rather than some scary, inadvertently brewed up toxin. Furthermore, I think the fact that I'm still here to write this after drinking several batches solo should support the idea that it isn't poison.

On a final note, I hope it should go without saying that you shouldn't drink the layer of yeast cake at the bottom of the vessel; not only will pouring the yeast cake into your cup probably give your drink a strong, "yeastie" flavor, but in consuming the little guys you won't be able to reuse the yeasties left over to brew another batch of YeasTea. 



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    16 Discussions

    hey so i made this last night and added about 6 tbsp of sugar to make four cups and about a half tsp of bakers yeast, it is going crazy bubbling so i know it worked but i have a question, when should i stop the fermentation to have it be the most alcoholic?

    1 reply

    Because I lack a hydrometer I don't actually know the points at which it's maximally alcoholic or the maximum alcohol content for certain. If I ever acquire one though and check I'll be sure to update this. Sorry for the lack of a response and late reply.


    Because I lack the proper tools to actually check (since this is, largely, the only thing like this I've ever successfully made) I don't actually know for sure.

    If I start looking at this again and get the proper tools to check these this I'll let you know though. Sorry for the lack of a response and late reply.


    7 years ago on Step 5

    .......i have a bottle of bakers wine in basement that i am scared to consume...its been aging for 6 months........I'm sure its vinegar by now

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    just made my first batch. Think i used too much yeast at the beginning, though it may have increased the speed of fermentation. Not sure on alcohol level (though it is there). I added sugar when i bottled it and it has a nice light bubbly flavor, not too strong. I did filter through a coffee filter to get rid of most of the yeast when bottling, still have sediment however. Tasty and refreshing is my final word! Thanks for the idea

    1 reply

    Thanks, I'm glad it worked out well. You're also definitely right about the alcohol content thing; though I still haven't been able to get the stuff I need to actually figure it out, after doing some calculations using how much sugar I suggested to use the highest alcohol content possible would only be something like 3.4% by volume. Sorry about that.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hey there... I'm a homebrewer... And the worst idea you can have is taking sugar, adding yeast, and cap it off. You need to allow the co2 put off by the yeast somewhere to go.

    The danger of bottling beer is "beer grenades", which is terrifying when you open your cabinet and there is glass and beer every where.

    Its an awesome idea, and I'm going to try it, but sanitize some tin foil and rubber band it onto your mason jar. That way you don't lose a hand.

    1 reply

    Though generally I try to crack the cap a bit every once in awhile to prevent the pressure from the CO2 from building up too much I'll try out your tin foil suggestion in future batches. I've actually used tin foil before in capping off flasks in a micro lab and in some other yeastie experiments I briefly tried out, but for some reason it didn't occur to me to do that for this project. So thanks for pointing this out; not only will your suggestion likely save my hands but it'll also let me use a few large, lidless jars I have sitting around to try fermenting other stuff.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    The yeast flavor your talking about could be diacetyl or sulfur, which is a by product of yeast produced by fermenting too high. I'd say allowing your tea to cool down to about 70 degrees before pitching your yeast :)

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    awesome idea, any thoughts on final alcohol content as well as the possibility of using a champagne yeast? How does it taste?

    3 replies

    From what I gathered about baker's yeast while working on this, baker's yeast only has a normal alcohol tolerance of something between 5% and 10%, so if I had to guess I'd probably put it somewhere in that range at best. I do intend to eventually get a better guess about how much alcohol it has by comparing changes in a batch's density under varying conditions that should alter alcohol content, but at present I can't do this because I'm away on vacation I lack the tools I need to do what I plan right now.

    Having only just recently gotten into brewing and what not, I also don't really know what influence on the flavor using champagne yeast instead of baker's would have, but based on what I know so far I'd have to guess that using champagne yeast would likely yield a product that contains more alcohol and less of a "yeastie" hint to it.

    Overall it kind of tastes tea, but the yeast imparts this hard to describe flavor to it. I mean there might be a bit of a "yeastie" taste to it, sure, but there's something else to it that I can't really put my finger on. Again, if I had to guess, I'd say the extra flavor is from some of the yeast spilling out their insides after undergoing a bit of autolysis. Though it tastes pretty good straight, personally my favorite way to drink it is to mix in some vanilla soy milk (or plain milk) and sugar. I'm sorry for being a bit vague about the taste right now, but I'm going to be opening up a fresh batch tomorrow night most likely so maybe I'll be able to describe it better then.

    Sorry for being so vague and so wordy; if you have any other questions please feel free to ask away.