* Please note that this blog remains up as a resource. However, this blog is currently on hiatus until further notice. For more information, please read this blog post. Thank you and happy kombucha brewing, drinking, and SCOBY trading! Lots of love. ~Annabelle *

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Different Teas for Your Kombucha Brew

I have finally been able to start reading the book Kombucha - Healthy beverage and natural remedy from the Far East by Gunther W. Frank. Wondering which tea(s) to use to brew your kombucha? Here's the quick and dirty about the main varieties of tea and how they relate to your brew.

Black Tea
  • Examples: Russian and Ceylon tea
  • Fermented
  • High caffeine content
  • Produces the more typical apple cider vinegar taste of kt
  • Using more of it increases the ratio of yeast to bacteria in your brew (3)
  • What Kombucha tea is "typically" brewed with
Oolong Tea
  • Semi-fermented (1, p. 20)
  • Inbetween green and black tea in taste and appearance (1, p. 20)
Green Tea
  • Examples: Gunpowder, Jasmine, and white tea
  • Comes from the same plant as black tea, but is unfermented (1, p. 19)
  • Can contribute an astringent quality to kt
  • Lower caffeine content than black tea
  • Using more of it decreases the ratio of yeast to bacteria in your brew (3)
  • Often used because of its numerous health benefits
Yerba Mate (2)

Yerba Mate

Herbal Teas
  • Avoid teas with too many volatile oils (ex. sage, peppermint, chamomile, and St.-John's-Wort), which can alter the microorganism balance in the Kombucha culture over time (1, p. 25)
  • Used for their medicinal properties and for individuals who want to avoid caffeine (1, p. 25)
  • The Kombucha culture feeds on the nitrogen in herbal teas (2)
Herbal Tea Possibilities with Kombucha Tea:
  • Rooibos (2)
  • Recommended by Pastor Hermann-Josef Wendinger: Equal parts bilberry leaves, raspberry leaves, blackberry leaves, and blackcurrent leaves (1, p. 25)
Recommendations Regarding Herbal Teas
  • Include at least some green or black tea in your herbal brews to "[make] the best nutrient solution for the Kombucha culture" (1, p. 25)
  • According to Happy Herbalist, brew with 25% "real" tea and 75% herbal tea. OR, ferment 3 brews with herbal teas and every fourth batch use "real" tea (2)
  • Add herbal teas in the bottling process
Advantages of Black Tea vs. Herbals
  • Produces the highest concentrations of lactic and gluconic acid (1, p. 28)
  • Provides the "best conditions" "as a source of mineral nutriments for the culture" (1, p. 28)
  • Bing (1928) "describes the Kombucha culture as a community of living things which are particularly adapted to a nutrient milieu rich in purine, and which need this rich supply of purine to maintain their metabolism." (1, p. 28). Black tea contains this necessary purine (1, p. 29).
  • According to Bing, the tannin content of the tea also affects the formation of the zoogloea (the new baby mushroom that form at the surface) (1, p. 28)
  • Herbal teas contain higher amounts of volatile oils and phenol than black tea. And because the volatile oils float to the surface where the new baby mushrooms grow, they can destroy/inhibit bacteria in the Kombucha culture and change the culture's composition (1, p. 29)
  • Herbal teas contain more germinal spores than black teas, which can "germinate in the warm nutrient solution" (1, p. 30)
Which teas do I brew with?
  • I typically enjoy using a combination of green and black teas in ratios of around 3:1 or 3:2. I also do brews using only black tea, such as only Ceylon, Darjeeling, or Assam tea.
Read more about different tea types for your kombucha brew at Happy Herbalist and Seeds of Health UK.

1. Frank, Gunther W. Kombucha - Healthy beverage and natural remedy from the Far East. 4th ed. Austria: Wilhelm Ennsthaler, 1994.
2. http://www.happyherbalist.com/differentteas.aspx
3. http://geocities.com/kombucha_balance/

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Kombucha Brewing Workshop

I am happy to announce that my next Kombucha Brewing Workshop will be in collaboration with Slow Food BU, a club that I am involved with.
Date: Tuesday, October 27
7:45 pm - 9 pmLocation: Sargent College (635 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215), Room 220Cost: Free
Open to the public
ATTN: Due to demand, this workshop will also be a potluck so we can enjoy some good food while drinking kombucha tea! Bring a dish to share if you can, and we will supply the beverages. :) You are still encouraged to come even if you cannot bring any food. But do remember to bring your own plates and utensils if you would like to eat, so we can reduce our waste!

Traced back t
o Chinese origins to around 220 B.C., numerous health promoting and detoxifying effects have been attributed to Kombucha Tea, also referred to as the "elixir of life."

While Kombucha can cost $3+ a bottle, it is very inexpensive to brew your own! The workshop will include a demonstration on how to brew kombucha tea, and topics covered will include:

  • Required materials
  • The traditional brewing method
  • Bottling
  • Where to obtain SCOBYs
  • Growing your own kombucha mushroom
  • The continuous brewing method
Several flavors of home-brewed kombucha tea will be available for sampling, and a few SCOBYs may also be up for adoption at this skillshare!

*PLEASE NOTE* Although it's not required, if you think you would like a kombucha mushroom from this workshop, bringing an old glass jar (such as an applesauce jar, around 24-32 oz., or any jar of similar size) to exchange for the mushroom would be greatly appreciated.
Already brew your own kombucha tea? Please consider coming and bringing some of your own kombucha so we can have a taste test, or bringing any extra SCOBYs you have to spare!

Please join us and hope to see you there!

Any questions or comments? Contact me!