Hard Tea Beverages: Working With Core Ingredients

H a r d T e a B e v e r a g e s : W o r k i n g W i t h C o r e I n g r e d i e n t s

Of all the wonderful things that teas can do for hard beverages, the most valuable impact is the layers of character they provide. The importance of layers extends beyond onions, ogres, and parfait; layers invite beverage enthusiasts to appreciate the nuanced pleasures of new hard teas, hard kombucha, and tea-beers.


Berliner Weisse with Firsd Tea jasmine green tea. Courtesy: Icarus Brewing

Blacks, and greens are the broadest, most popular categories, but there can be significant nuance within even these 2 groups. Keemun black teas from China are known to be sweeter and more floral in aroma compared to a low-grown Ceylon black tea that yields a sharper astringency and brisker bite. Similarly, Chinese senchas are usually smoother than many Japanese senchas that can have stronger marine and vegetal qualities.

Brewers are also branching out with new core teas, including:


Core ingredients are responsible for one or more of the dominant characteristics of the beverage. Core ingredients can contribute to:

  1. Color.  In addition to making the beverage lighter or darker, teas affect the clarity of the beverage
  2. Aroma. Popular hard tea beverages and tea-beers often carry subtle and layered tea aromas that enhance the complexity of the drinking experience
  3. Character: The right tea can deliver desirable notes of bitterness, sharpness, or earthiness. They can also create smooth, clean textures

Core tea ingredients are selected and added according to a master plan based on the intended final beverage profile. Incorporation of core ingredients is done in conjunction with the selection of malts, hops, yeasts, and the brewing processes chosen.


While the possible combinations are myriad, there are a few standard practices currently in use. Many hard kombucha brewers, for example, build on a blend of basic green and black teas that yields a lighter color that full-on black tea and allows for a more neutral canvas for other flavors.

Work with your experienced tea supplier to find teas that will enhance your brew and control your costs. Firsd Tea is the North American office of one of the world’s largest tea exporters. We are able to offer teas directly from the farms and packing facilities we own. We service international, national, and local beverage developers in finding the right tea ingredients for their tea-related projects.