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Top 5 Best Teas for Kombucha in 2022

Would you like to start making your own Kombucha tea at home? Well, here are the best recommendations for the type of tea to use.

The best teas for Kombucha

Tasty…right?

If you’ve already been introduced to the Kombucha craze, then you know how quickly you can get addicted to this delicious tea. For those unfamiliar with this drink, it’s a type of tea that’s fermented and sweetened. Its flavor falls somewhere in between that of champagne and vinegar.

What’s intriguing though is the wide range of benefits that it offers. From easing the digestion process to minimizing risk of heart disease and diabetes, Kombucha tea packs a nutritional punch.

But to get the most out of it, you should be careful when deciding what tea to use in its preparation. To make your selection easy, here are some of the best teas for Kombucha.

Best black tea

Twinings of London English Breakfast Black Tea

Recommended
97 %

Twinings of London English Breakfast Black Tea

Its robustness and deep red-orange color will undoubtedly give your kombucha tea a great punch. What’s more, this tea has a low acidity which means you hardly develop tummy problems after taking kombucha tea.

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Black tea is the most preferred tea for making kombucha, and the English Breakfast from Twinnings Store is a win.

Twinnings of London is a brand that’s been producing high-quality tea for more than 300 years. And, this black tea that we’re recommending here is a good case in point of their exceptional quality.

Important to note is that this tea is on the higher side of medium-strong teas. That’s because it’s sourced from regions known for producing the best tea. This aspect makes it perfect for those who love full-bodied kombucha tea.

It is evident in this tea’s caffeine punch that gives you that energy boost you need and the strong aroma that doesn’t taper off after days of use. If you’re not a caffeine fan, Twinnings of London offers a decaf option that you can also use to make kombucha tea.

The tea bag sweetens right up with the sugar kickstarting the fermentation process immediately. It releases a rich amber color with mild bitterness, giving kombucha tea robustness only tea lovers would understand.

The tea also blends well with any sweetener, so you can easily add honey or sugar without interrupting the fermentation process.

This English Breakfast tea is a great value option as it contains up to 100 tea bags for the price. Most brands pack 50 tea bags for the same price. And the fact that the tea bags are wrapped in an aroma-tight foil means they remain fresh for a long time.

Best oolong tea

Twinings of London Pure Oolong Tea

Recommended
94 %

Twinings of London Pure Oolong Tea

This Oolong tea is made from natural ingredients only. This means it doesn’t have artificial ingredients or preservatives that can interfere with the fermentation process.

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If you’re not a fan of the dark, malty taste of black tea, buy Oolong tea. It is an excellent alternative, and you can still use it to make kombucha tea.

While good growing conditions are essential, the quality of Oolong tea largely depends on the level of skill employed when preparing and processing the tea.

If done right, you get a sweet and complex tea variety; get it wrong and develop an unpleasant, bitter taste. Twinnings explains that it uses a unique technique to oxidize the tea leaves, partially giving it a distinct flavor.

 After the withering stage, the tea is placed in muslin snacks and rolled gently to bruise the leaves and allow partial oxidation. The process is repeated several times until the leaves turn dark green.

The result is a pure Oolong tea with a mild, tasty flavor that isn’t overpowering. This Oolong tea is also perfect for people on a caffeine detox or those who want to prefer Kombucha that doesn’t pack too much caffeine. In fact, the caffeine content is so low that you can take a cup before bed and fall asleep just fine.

Best green tea

Taylors of Harrogate Pure Green Tea

Recommended
95 %

Taylors of Harrogate Pure Green Tea

The packaging is simple but functional. Taylors of Harrogate packs each tea bag individually in packets larger than regular tea bag packets and includes descriptions about the tea’s flavor, recommended additions, and how to prepare it. What’s more, you’re not restricted to one flavor as other tea brands; you can choose from a whopping 48 flavors.

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Taylors of Harrogate is a family-based business that produces specialty teas and premium coffees using the finest and most flavorful ingredients.

Having started operations in 1886, the brand still upholds the highest production standards evident in this green tea variety. It has a light but full taste that gives your kombucha tea a characteristic aromatic note.

The flavor is balanced, providing a smooth, well-rounded sip that leaves a fresh, bright finish on the tongue.

Its unique features result from the timely harvest times and the company’s meticulous processing. Green tea is harvested during spring when the yields are sweetest, and tea is most aromatic.

This green tea variety is called Sencha prepared using Japanese processors. The processors steam freshly picked leaves to stop oxidation, giving the tea a flavorful, saline character with subtle bitterness.

The tea develops a sweet, grassy flavor and piny, melon fragrances evident in kombucha tea when processed further.

Best hibiscus tea

Maui Natural Dried Hibiscus Flowers

Recommended
97 %

Maui Natural Dried Hibiscus Flowers

The tea is so potent that you only need to add a small amount to taste; 10-11 grams should be enough to brew the first kombucha tea. But keep in mind that you can only use hibiscus tea in the first ferment, not as a starter liquid to regular SCOBY cultures. This is because the tea loses flavor over time due to a lack of caffeine from real tea.

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If you’re a fan of flavored or caffeine-free kombucha tea, this hibiscus tea is a great addition.

Hibiscus tea is known for its numerous health benefits, including reducing blood pressure and blood sugar, but you can use it to make kombucha too. It has a rich nutrient profile, color, and flavor that adds some playfulness to the SCOBY culture.

This particular one from Maui is made from hibiscus flower- giving your kombucha tea that raw hibiscus taste.

It’s 100% organic because the hibiscus flowers are sun-dried after harvesting to retain their potency, nutrients, and characteristic tart flavor. This hibiscus tea can be used in part or entirely in the first fermentation of kombucha tea.

To enhance flavor, you may add ingredients like lavender, cranberry, strawberry, and rosehip. Rosehips are particularly interesting because they add tartness and fragrance to your Kombucha brew.

On the other hand, strawberries are sweet, and when paired with hibiscus, they underscore the crisp hibiscus flavor.

Best white tea

VAHDAM Imperial Himalayan White Tea

Recommended
94 %

VAHDAM Imperial Himalayan White Tea

This Himalayan tea is 100% organic. The fact that it’s handpicked and sun-dried without further processing means it’s free of additives and preservatives. While it’s pretty potent, you need to add a bag or two to taste; you may need even more to prepare kombucha.

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VAHDAM is an Indian tea company known for making the most nutritious tea blends. The Earl Grey blend is the most popular of them all.

It’s revered for its superior flavor characterized by a citrusy aroma of premium bergamot oil. This Himalayan tea is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids; hence dubbed the world’s healthiest tea.

VAHDAM gets these flavorful blends from India’s tea gardens where they’re hand-picked before processing. When used to make kombucha, it produces a mildly sour brew with a subtle herbal taste that’s quite refreshing.

It doesn’t have the spicy cinnamon flavors in other tea varieties or the earthy taste in black tea. Rather, it produces a light, pleasant citrusy scent that hits your nose every time a new bag is covered in boiling water.

White tea has many health benefits which you can enjoy even without preparing kombucha. It has high phytochemical levels because it undergoes minimal processing, reducing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and cancer.

Also, the high levels of antioxidants help minimize inflammation and improve immunity. Combining the benefits of white tea with kombucha’s intestinal regulating effects creates a strong powerhouse.

What to look for in a good tea for Kombucha

Tea is an essential ingredient in making Kombucha. It contains nutrients (caffeine, nitrogen, theanine) that facilitate the fermentation process. Essentially, Kombucha is a fermented tea made from water, yeast, sugar/honey, and tea.

Bacteria and yeast form the symbiotic colony that jumpstarts fermentation while sugar enhances the process.

On the other hand, tea enhances the growth and health of the symbiotic colony, and when combined with sugar, it feeds it, so it continues to thrive. The result is a fizzy, sweet-sour beverage low in sugar and calories that boosts your health.

Choosing the right tea is critical to making your Kombucha taste great. But with the array of tea varieties available, it can be challenging to find the right one. So here are tips to help you pick the correct one:

The tea variety

While tea comes from a plant called the Camellia Sinensis, the harvest time, processing, and preparation yield different varieties:

  • Black tea
  • White tea
  • Green tea
  • Oolong tea
  • Pu-erh tea

Each variety determines the taste, feel, and smell of your kombucha tea.

Although each harvest is from the same plant, it yields different types with varying tastes. That’s why you will find black tea giving your kombucha a better taste than green or oolong tea.

Black tea

Black tea is prepared from the plant’s mature leaves. After picking the leaves, they are left in the sun for 18 hours to allow them to release moisture and make them soft and pliable for the rolling process.

After rolling, the leaves are spread in large humid spaces to ferment and produce essential oils from their natural juices.

The oils are rich in alkaloids and give black tea the characteristic flavor and aroma. The more the alkaloids in a tea, the more active the fermentation process when making kombucha.

That’s why kombucha prepared from black tea develops a dark, golden color with a rich, earthy flavor. Black tea types like Ceylon and the English Breakfast are the best for making kombucha.

White tea

White tea is another variety that makes a milder-tasting kombucha. Unlike black tea, this variety is produced from the youngest and most delicate buds at the top of the tea plant.

They are then allowed to wither and dry in the sun for a short period to prevent enzymatic oxidation, protect the delicate flavor of the buds and retain a high amount of anti-oxidants in the final beverage. It also explains the low caffeine content in white tea depending on the variety.

There are four white tea varieties- tribute eyebrow, white peony, silver needle, and tribute eyebrow.

The white peony is the most potent in caffeine and taste, while the tribute eyebrow is the least potent because of the long processing time.

Green tea

Green tea, on the other hand, is unfermented tea produced from unoxidized tea leaves.

After picking the leaves, they are steamed and dried lightly hence the least processed of all teas. Green tea has the highest antioxidants and caffeine and produces a light-colored kombucha with a soft, mild flavor.

Oolong 

Oolong is the fourth tea variety that falls between the fully fermented black tea and unfermented green tea. The tea is made from partially oxidized leaves, stems, and buds of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The preparation process of this tea involves tightly managed recipes and variables as they determine its overall taste.

The leaves are carefully tossed, rolled, and compressed for several days to ensure water evaporates from the leaves and allows particular flavors to develop.

A specific temperature and humidity level are then set to ensure the leaves aren’t too oxidized. Oolong tea comes in different varieties based on its source and the manufacturer’s creativity. It gives your kombucha a mild flavor and a light hue.

Pu-erh tea

The last variety of the pu-erh tea is made from mature leaves compressed into a brick. The leaves are left to ferment, allowing them to attain a full flavor. As a result, kombucha made from this variety is smooth, fruity, earthy, and full of body.

Presence of caffeine

It’s best to use caffeinated tea when making kombucha. Caffeine contains the much-needed nitrogen used to stimulate fermentation in the SCOBY. It also works with an amino acid called L-theanine to produce calm energy in kombucha tea.

Some buyers are tempted to buy decaffeinated tea, but it might not yield the desired results. What’s more, kombucha contains a small amount of caffeine in tea (usually a third), depending on the variety.

If you’re using black tea, which includes 30-80mg of caffeine per cup, it will produce 10-25 mg of caffeine. Green tea has a lower amount of caffeine, usually 2-3 mg.

Organic tea

Organic tea is free of harmful chemicals. According to the USDA, certified organic foods are grown and processed without pest and weed control chemicals and additives. Organic farmers substitute them with natural substances and biological farming methods.

Unfortunately, most tea brands sell inorganic tea, which contains high pesticides levels that disrupt the fermentation process and compromise the final taste of your kombucha tea.

Some chemicals are extremely harmful and can kill the bacteria and yeast in the symbiotic colony.

When buying the tea leaves, look for the organic label, which indicates that the product doesn’t contain harmful chemicals, artificial colors, or preservatives. The only non-organic ingredients added to the kombucha tea are bacteria cultures.

FAQ

Can herbal teas be used to make Kombucha?

Many people believe that herbal teas like chamomile and peppermint teas can’t be brewed as the tea base when making kombucha.

The misconception is that the teas don’t have the essential ingredients required to feed the symbiotic colony; instead they introduce natural oils that disrupt SCOBY’s chemical composition.

It couldn’t be further from the truth; herbal teas can also make kombucha. Teas like the hibiscus and Rooibos make tasty and healthy fermented tea like other types.

However, you must ensure their flavorings are natural and not extracted from synthetic sources that can kill bacteria.

You also need to add at least 25% of natural tea to maintain the health of the Kombucha culture.

How can you make Kombucha at home?

You need a handful of ingredients to make kombucha- water, sugar, black, green, or other tea, one scoby, and store-bought kombucha or two cups of starter tea from the last batch to start the process. You may add flavorings like honey, chopped fruit, or flavored tea.

Instructions

– Boil water and allow it to cool before adding a cup of sugar. Add 8 tea bags and allow it to steep until the water cools. You can dip the jar in an ice bath to hasten the cooling process

– Remove the tea bags and add 2 cups of starter tea or store-bought Kombucha. The tea makes the liquid acidic and prevents foreign bacteria from occupying the jar, which can disrupt the fermentation process

– Transfer the mixture to a one-gallon glass jar and add the SCOBY. Cover the pot with a tightly-woven cloth and secure it with a rubber band

– Allow the mixture to ferment for 7-10 days, checking it periodically. Ensure the jar isn’t jostled, remains at room temperature, and is away from direct sunlight

– Your kombucha should be ready after seven days. You can pour a little into a cup to taste. It should have a healthy balance of tartness and sweetness

– Pour the rest of the kombucha tea into bottles and add the desired flavorings. If you want to prepare another batch, set aside some of the finished kombuchas

– Allow the bottled kombucha to carbonate for 1-3 days. Then place the bottles in the refrigerator to stop the carbonation and fermentation process. The tea is now ready for consumption for up to a month

Does Kombucha smell when fermenting?

Naturally, the tea releases a neutral smell within the first few days. It then develops a vinegary smell as the brewing process continues.

If it begins to develop a rotten, unpleasant smell, it’s a tell-tale sign that something went wrong when mixing the ingredients. Also, if the SCOBY doesn’t show any signs of mold growth, the mixture isn’t brewing and should be disposed of. Start the process again with fresh tea.

Is it normal for a Scoby to float in the jar?

The SCOBY can float on the mixture or sink at the bottom. It’s also normal for the SCOBY to develop brown strings below its surface, bumps, a hole, dry or dark brown patches.

You can still use it. The changes result from environmental changes in your kitchen.

However, if it stays for a long time before using it may develop black or green mold or turn black. You can extend its life by sticking to the right tea, sugar, water, and starter tea ratios.
 
It would also help if you peeled the bottom layer after making a few batches. If in doubt about the health of your SCOBY, it’s best to discard the kombucha tea and make another batch.

Which type of tea should you use between tea bags and loose-leaf tea?

Loose-leaf tea is the best for preparing kombucha tea. This is because it’s still in its raw form as it hasn’t been broken down as the tea in teabags.

Typically, the quality of tea in tea bags is compromised because the tea is processed to a fine, dust-like form that makes it easy to brew a cup of tea. This means the brewing time reduces significantly.

However, kombucha tea needs a long brewing time to achieve the desired taste, and it’s only possible using loose-leaf tea.

Final verdict

Overall, black tea is the best tea for kombucha. However, your needs and taste preferences determine the type of tea you use when preparing kombucha.

Are you looking for the anti-inflammatory benefits of white tea, the aromatic notes in green tea? Or, do you want a flavored SCOBY by adding a hibiscus tea?

You should also consider how long you want the kombucha to last. If making many batches to last a month or longer, it’s best to use black tea. The flavor lasts longer, allowing you to enjoy all the medicinal benefits of the tea and kombucha.

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