Tea fungus

George W. Chang changlab at nature.berkeley.edu
Thu Aug 18 21:55:40 EST 1994


In article <32scb2$ba5 at hermes.uni-konstanz.de>,
Andreas.Brune at uni-konstanz.de (Andreas Brune) wrote:

> Somebody approached me on information regarding the 
> 'tea fungus' used to ferment cold sweetened black tea 
> to a supposedly extraordinary beverage.
> 
> All I can recall is that it is not a fungus but a mixture of
> acetic acid bacteria and yeasts. Acetobacter xylinum apparently
> contributes the cellulose matrix forming a fungus-like lump
> (similar to the 'mycoderma aceti' on old vinegar)
.....................(deleted)..................................

      This sounds pretty interesting.  Has anyone tasted such tea?  I know
that ordinary black tea (or red tea or orange tea) is made with the tea
plant's own polyphenol oxidases, and is not dependent on microbes at all.
      However the cake-like "Puh Er" or "Poo Nay" tea has a decided
actinomycete taste.  Does anyone know what is responsible for that flavor?

Best regards,
George



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