Sticking to plain green and black teas is the best to brew kombucha. While delicious and tasty, flavored and herbal teas are better for sipping, not booching.
It sounds so plain and boring, but it’s true! And, this is good news for your pocketbook.
Kombucha is made with four simple, yet key ingredients:
- A healthy scoby set (including plenty of starter liquid)
Why is plain, organic green or black tea best?
In order to keep your scoby as healthy as possible, kombucha needs simple, plain, unflavored tea for the proper brewing process. Soooo picky, huh? 😉
Real, true tea comes from the camellia sinesis plant, which when processed makes either black, green, white, oolong, and pu-erh tea from it’s dried leaves.
When steeped, these leaves produce compounds. The yeasts and bacteria included in our scoby set and sweet tea love to feast on these compounds during the brewing process.
Why flavored teas don’t work in kombucha.
Flavored teas and herbs contain oils that are harmful to your scoby and brewing process. When oils enter your sweet tea and fermentation cycle, they choke off your scoby’s life by blocking vital nutrients for the brewing culture and cycle.
This can result in mold growing on top of your scoby and in your brew.
So, this is why I recommend loose-leaf organic green or black tea from home-brew kombucha. Clean and pure plant leaves give your brew the nutrients needed to survive and no oily residue to damage your brew.
Always Room for Exceptions!
Kombucha can be cautiously made with jasmine tea, hibiscus tea, and unflavored white teas.
I rotate a few jasmine balls into my normal green tea mixture a few times a year. Admittedly, I have a bag of white tea ready to try; I just haven’t gotten to it yet 😀
My hibiscus experiments have ended up too sour for my taste. Some brewers have also had success with chamomile, rooibos, rosehip teas for producing kombucha.
However, for the strongest and healthiest home-brew, I only recommend black or green tea.
Want to Experiment?
If you are regularly producing strong and regularly fizzy brews, and are looking for something on the side 😉, you could be ready to experiment with some of the exceptions listed above.
Make sure you have back-up scobys if things go south (i.e. moldy).
You will also be wise to ensure you start fresh with a healthy scoby in a separate and clean jar, covered with plenty of filters to mitigate pesky fruit flies.
Don’t feel like jumping in head-first? Try an experimental blend with an added bag of black tea.
And as always, keep me posted 😀