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What Kind of Tea Can I Use to Make Kombucha?



The legend goes . . . in China, 2727 BC, the Emperor Shen Nong, who was known as “the divine healer,” was boiling his water to clean out impurities. The pot was underneath a tea bush and several leaves fell into the pot. The pot had such a wonderful fragrance, color, and taste that the emperor quickly told everyone of his findings. Tea soon became a daily drink throughout all of China.
IMG_6623Next to water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. Everybody seems to love it – including me. India serves chai tea on every street corner, and it has become their national drink. Japan loves their matcha tea which is green and powdered and quite revered. Morocco drinks gallons of mint tea, and it is considered to be an act of hospitality to serve mint tea to their guests. The British are famous for afternoon tea. They brought the tea from India when Britain was an empire so many years ago. Tea has exploded in America, and one of my favorite ways to have tea is in kombucha.

There are many different types of tea you can use in kombucha, but you shouldn’t substitute herbal teas to make kombucha as it needs the tannins in tea to culture properly and also to make it bubbly.  Tannins are compounds in tea, especially black tea, which give tea its refreshingly astringent, slightly bitter taste. Since herbal teas don’t contain as many tannins, it is best not to use them, lest your kombucha not ferment properly.

Teas You Can Use to Make Kombucha

No matter which tea or coffee you decide to use to make kombucha, make sure you use the correct amount of tea to ensure your kombucha ferments properly.

Brew your own kombucha – it will have your unique style and taste. We need more fermenters in this world to spread the good bacteria everywhere!Donna

32 Responses to "What Kind of Tea Can I Use to Make Kombucha?"
    • This is something we are working on. Some people have used it with success and others have killed their cultures, so we’re not entirely sure yet. We are working with it to see if it can be used again and again with out harming the culture. Stay tuned!

  1. When using loose tea leaves how do you measure the correct amount. I have been guessing that 1tablespoon of loose tea equals 1 teabag.

  2. I’ve been using decaffeinated “family” sized tea bags – the house brand ones from Walmart. I assumed they were black tea but didn’t check. Does the decaffeinated tea still have the same benefits? I get varying amounts of fizz with each batch and am not sure why. I couldn’t find any reference to it in the article or the comments. Thanks!

  3. Hi Donna, A friend directed me to your web site and started me on quite a journey with cultured foods!!! When making Jasmine Pearl Komboucha, how much/many of these pearls do I use in boiling the tea water for a normal recipe for Komboucha in your book?

  4. Thanks Donna, that’s such a great list of teas and alternatives. The tannins are the key to successful kombucha brewing so I’m assuming then that all of the alternatives you’ve listed contain differing amounts of tannins? I’ve tried to look up the Teeccino product for tannin content but couldn’t find any info – is it the carob that has them? Will the products that contain less just produce a thinner SCOBY or do they need longer brewing than black tea? thanks for your time 🙂

    • The barley that is in Teechino’s has lots of tannins. The Teeccino product has a large amount of prebiotics in it that the kombucha loves and thrives on also. Yes, your scoby will be thinner in products that don’t have as many tannins such as the rooibos tea, but they don’t usually require a longer brewing time.

  5. Is roobois and hibiscus herbal teas? I am so happy to hear I can use these teas as I thought I had to use green or black and I don’t drink those. Thank you!

  6. Hi Donna,
    Thank you for sharing all your experience with us. I’m new on your website and I just purchased the kefir grains after weeks of research. I suffer from yeast infection for over 4 years, and I started a new diet. Which do you think will work better, the kefir or the kombucha? Thank you

  7. I am new to making Kombucha and water Kefir soda. They are both wonderful tasting. If you could only make one which would be the healthiest choice?

  8. I have really enjoyed everything I have seen of yours.
    What happens to Caffeine when it is fermented? Does it still keep you awake if you drink it to late in the evening?

    • Some say it reduces the caffeine but other say it does not according to testing, however it has never affected me like regular caffeine, so something in the fermentation process does seem to affect it in a favorable way.

  9. I thought Rooibos did not have caffeine or tannins so how does it work? Thank you for putting all this info about tea in one article.

    • Rooibos does not have caffeine and you don’t need caffeine to make kombucha. It is lower in tannins but has enough to still make kombucha. However you scoby may not be as thick when you use rooibos tea as it would with regular teas.

  10. I read somewhere that caffeine was needed in order to make kombucha. Is that true. My mother loves it but has a caffeine allergy but thought it was the only way.

  11. Thank you for the education on teas. Much appreciated. Since reading your blog quite some time ago, we have been fermenting kombucha,kefir,sour dough,and cultured vegetables at home. I have directed people to you site on many occasions.

  12. Hi. Is it ok to use herbal tea if I also add in a few black tea bags? Or stay away from herbal all together? I would like to do 4 bags of Red Zinger tea with 2-3 bags of black tea. If there are no benefits then I guess I will not bother and go straight black.

  13. Do you know if kombucha is ok to drink if one has gout? My son in law tells me it is high in yeast and purines so he won’t drink it. I thought the good yeasts in kombucha would be different and I don’t know about purines.

  14. I have been using oolong tea for the past few months. I add ginger and lemon to my bottles .

    I like the taste of oolong and the kombacha turns out great. May try one of your suggestions in a later batch.

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