Can You Make Kombucha With Herbal Tea?

As the popularity of kombucha continues to grow, many people are interested in experimenting with different flavors and brewing methods. One common question that arises is whether it’s possible to make kombucha with herbal tea. 

This article will explore the possibilities of using herbal teas in kombucha brewing, discussing the benefits and potential drawbacks, and offering some suggestions for the best teas.

Homemade kombucha

Can You Make Kombucha With Herbal Tea?

The answer is yes, you can make kombucha with herbal tea, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind. The fermentation process of kombucha relies on certain nutrients, such as nitrogen, tannins, and polyphenols, which are commonly found in traditional black and green teas derived from the Camellia sinensis plant. On the other hand, herbal teas may lack some of these essential nutrients.

To increase the success of the fermentation process, you can mix herbal teas with black or green tea. The amount of black or green tea in the mix should be between 25-75%. The more, the better. This ensures that your kombucha SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) receives the necessary nutrients while still incorporating the flavors and benefits of the herbal tea.

What Herbal Teas Can Be Used for Kombucha?

Herbal teas that contain tannins are suitable for kombucha brewing. Some examples include:

Remember to mix these herbal teas with black or green tea for optimal fermentation results.

What Herbal Teas Should Be Avoided When Preparing Kombucha?

When brewing kombucha with herbal teas, it’s important to avoid teas that contain added oils, extracts, or synthetic flavorings, as these can negatively impact the health of your SCOBY and the overall quality of your kombucha. 

Always read the ingredients list on the packaging to ensure that your herbal tea is free from these additives.

Can You Make Kombucha With Non-Caffeinated Tea?

Yes, making kombucha with non-caffeinated tea, such as lemon balm, is possible. One study found that lemon balm is an acceptable decaffeinated replacement for Camellia sinensis during the first fermentation stage, even exhibiting higher antioxidant activities. 

However, it’s still important to mix non-caffeinated herbal teas with black or green tea to ensure the health of your SCOBY.

Can You Make Kombucha With Chamomile Tea?

Chamomile tea can be used in kombucha brewing, as it contains tannins supporting fermentation. As with other herbal teas, mix chamomile tea with black or green tea to provide your SCOBY with the necessary nutrients for successful fermentation.

What Are the Best Teas for Kombucha?

The best teas for kombucha brewing are those that contain the necessary nutrients for fermentation and provide the desired flavor profile. Some popular options include:

  • Black tea: A traditional choice, black tea offers a strong, robust flavor and provides essential nutrients for kombucha fermentation.
  • Green tea: Another popular choice, green tea results in a lighter, more delicate flavor and is rich in antioxidants.
  • Oolong tea: A middle ground between black and green tea, oolong tea offers a unique flavor and also contains the necessary nutrients for kombucha fermentation.
  • Herbal teas (combined with black or green tea): Herbal teas can add interesting flavors and health benefits to your kombucha, but remember to mix them with black or green tea for optimal fermentation results.

Final Thoughts

Brewing kombucha with herbal teas can be a fun and rewarding experiment, allowing you to explore new flavor combinations while still enjoying the health benefits of this popular fermented beverage. 

However, it’s important to remember that herbal teas may lack some of the essential nutrients required for kombucha fermentation. To ensure a successful fermentation process, mix herbal teas with black or green tea (at least 25%, but usually no more than 75%), providing your SCOBY with the necessary nutrients while incorporating the unique flavors of the herbal tea.

When choosing an herbal tea for kombucha brewing, opt for those that contain tannins, and avoid any teas with added oils, extracts, or synthetic flavorings. Some suitable herbal teas include lemon balm, chamomile, peppermint, and hibiscus. 

Ultimately, experimenting with different teas and flavors is part of the fun of kombucha brewing. By understanding the requirements for successful fermentation and selecting the appropriate tea blends, you can create unique and delicious kombucha flavors tailored to your personal tastes.


How Long to Steep Tea for Kombucha?

The steeping time for tea when making kombucha depends on the type of tea used: black tea should be steeped for 3 to 4 minutes, green tea for 2 minutes, oolong tea for 1 to 5 minutes, white tea for 4 to 5 minutes, and Pu-Erh tea for 3 to 4 minutes. These are general guidelines and can be adjusted based on personal flavor preferences.

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