T'ej (pron. "TAI-j") is a traditional mead brewed in Ethiopia. It is mostly brewed in the home rather than produced commercially. It tends to be light in flavor and alcoholic strength. Its distinctive flavor comes from gesho, a tree native to Ethiopia. Homebrewers in other countries who wish to make t'ej often substitute hops if they're unable to find a source of gesho.
Tej (ጠጅ) Recipe
Mesfin, Daniel, “Exotic Ethiopian Cooking” (1993)
Kloman, Harry “All about Tej,” http://www.pitt.edu/~kloman/tej.html
1 Gallon Water (128 oz.)
4 Cups Honey (32 liquid water oz. by volume or 48 oz. by weight—honey is more dense than water)
3/2 Cups Woody Hops (Gesho Sticks or gesho inchet)
1. Mix 1 Gallon Water and 4 Cups Honey in a deep container (3 parts to 1).
2. Store 3 days.
3. Simmer 3/2 Cups Woody Hops with 6 Cups of the honey-water mixture for 15 min.
4. Cool and put the Woody Hops and honey-water back into the container.
5. Let stand 5 days.
6. When mixture ferments, remove hops.
7. Cover for 2-3 weeks.
8. Strain and store in a cool place or bottle.
• Skip steps 2 and 3 (waiting before introducing the Gesho and simmering the Gesho). Exotic Ethiopian Cooking says simmering makes the brew less bitter.
• If the drink is too bitter after step 8, add another cup of honey and cover for 20 more days.
• Add flavor: Between steps 6 and 7, wait one day, then add more hops, 4 ginger, 1lb. ground coffee, or 7 orange peels. Remove before bottling.
• Ferment for a much longer time after removing gesho.
• If the ambient temperature is too cold, fermentation slows. Some recommend wrapping your container in a blanket.
• You can strain the tej using a clean dishcloth.
• You may use unfiltered tej (especially the sediment in the bottom of the container) from your last batch to stoke fermentation in the next batch.
• Bottling while the yeast is still active can lead to a carbonated beverage that will explode. (However, a little carbonation from bottle fermentation is enjoyable).
• Wild yeast may not always work out. The batch could go bad.