Kombucha is made from just 3 ingredients: sugar, tea, and SCOBY with starter liquid. For this reason the quality of these ingredients is so important. At YEABUCHA we have got you covered with SCOBYs. We pride ourselves on growing the highest quality, organic SCOBYs without ever dehydrating or refrigerating them, which can be harmful. Organic cane sugar is easy to find at your local grocery store and can be very inexpensive to buy, so we think its worth selecting over refined (often GMO) sugar. Tea is the ingredient that comes with the most options. Experimenting with your tea selection can be a fun way to experiment with your brew, but it can also cause problems like mold. Before you select tea for home brewing kombucha, consider these 3 important things:
The history. Traditionally, kombucha tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant, which includes black, green, oolong, pu-ehr and white. The differences in these teas are based on which stage of growth they were picked at and how they were processed. We recommend black tea for regular brewing, however brewing 1/2 black and 1/2 green on occasion can be beneficial for rebalancing your brew and helping your SCOBYs grow thick.
Caffeine matters. The tea used in your home brew must be caffeinated, even though the final kombucha drink ends up with very little caffeine in it. Caffeine is necessary because it provides nitrogen that is used to build cells and stimulate fermentation in the bacteria and yeast. The caffeine in tea is paired with an amino acid called L-theanine, which brings about focused, calm energy without a crash. When it comes to kombucha, caffeine is necessary for the fermentation process, not to give the drinker an energy boost.
Organic is a non-negotiable (we also think fair trade and sustainability are equally important to consider). Unfortunately, many of the most popular tea brands on shelves today have been found to contain levels of pesticides on their tea leaves that exceed the legal limit. We are talking about known carcinogens in levels the FDA considers too high. You can also help reduce waste buy purchasing loose leaf tea instead of tea bags, which generally cost most and have lower quality tea.
Finding organic, fair-trade, sustainable, loose leaf tea, that doesn’t cost an arm and leg isn’t always easy. We are happy to offer affordable, loose leaf tea with black and green tea options in our store. We source our tea from a sustainable, organic farm in Colombia, learn more about them here.
If you want to experiment with different flavors and types of tea, we recommend doing this in a second batch of home brew. Flavored teas like Ooolong and Rubios can be fun to try in your brew, but the oils used to flavor the tea may lead to mold or interfere with SCOBY growth over time. It is easy to start a second brew, get another brewing vessel, brew your sweet tea and simply use two cups of starter liquid and an extra SCOBY.