I frequent a tea house in Burlington Vermont called Dobra Tea. It’s a great place, with a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere – perfect for sipping fine tea and writing blog posts. They have an extensive menu of many different styles of tea from all over the world. One I always come back to is the “Rize Cay.” This is a black tea from a North-Eastern region of Turkey. The Rize Cay leaves produce a strongly aromatic tea with a slightly sweet scent. The tea has a great, robust earthy flavor and pours a beautiful mahogany color.
Equally as intriguing as the taste is the ritual of the preparation. The dry leaves are first roasted in a pot before being steeped in hot water. The tea is made into a really strong concentrate, then hot water is added to dilute it according to each person’s taste. It is served in a traditional tulip glass instead of a teacup and sweetened with sugar. The unique flavor, aroma, color and tannic properties of this tea lend themselves to creating a truly original mead.
The recipe yields about 2 gallons of semi-sweet metheglin. It was created to keep some residual sugar to balance to robust, earthy tones of the tea. I recommend serving it in a turkish tea glass for a nod to the cay tradition. The tulip shape of the glass is also the perfect shape to enhance the mysterious aromatics of the tea infused mead.
- 2 gal water
- 7 lbs Clover Honey(~9.25 cups)
- 1 oz Rize Cay
- 2 tsp Yeast Nutrient
- 2.5 g Red Star Cote des Blancs
- Roast the Rize Cay leaves in a small pan over medium heat for about 2 minutes – making sure not to burn.
- In a small pot, bring about 20 oz of water to 208 degrees F (just under boiling), and steep the roasted leaves for 10 minutes, then set aside.
- In a medium brew pot (4 gallon) bring 2 gallons of water to a simmer.
- Slowly add the honey while stirring continuously so the honey fully dissolves.
- Add the Yeast Nutrient to the brew pot.
- Add the must to a 3 gallon carboy and aerate extensively.
- Strain the tea concentrate through a filter and add to the carboy.
- With the must temperature below 80 degrees, add the Yeast, making sure you rehydrate dry yeast prior to pitching.
- Seal carboy with bung and airlock and store in a dark place at a temperature of about 70 degrees.
- After 3 weeks, with a siphon, re-rack the mead into two sanitized 1 gallon jugs.
- After 2 weeks, re-rack, then let age for 6 months.
- Serve at around 50 degrees in the traditional turkish tulip tea glass (if you can get past to extensive alliteration!)