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Choosing Ingredients for Making Kombucha
Making kombucha tea requires five ingredients: water, tea, sugar, starter tea, and a kombucha starter culture (scoby). While a number of options exist for each ingredient, choosing the right ingredients creates a healthier environment for the scoby. Using different tea and sugar can change the flavor of the final product, as well.
Choosing Water for Kombucha
Kombucha cultures best using water that is as free from contaminants as possible. A high mineral content is not important for kombucha and may be harmful to the scoby.
Use filtered water to remove as many additives, chemicals and contaminants as possible. If filtering is not possible, aerating or boiling the water for 20 minutes may remove at least the chlorine. Letting the water stand for 24 hours will also allow the chlorine to evaporate. Chloramines must be filtered. Fluoride must be removed by special filters.
Water that is structured, alkalized, or pH-adjusted is not appropriate for making kombucha.
Learn more about choosing the right water for culturing.
Choosing Tea for Kombucha
Brewing kombucha requires real tea (camellia sinensis) for both minerals and nitrogen. We recommend using organic tea whenever possible, to avoid chemical contaminants. The type of tea used to brew kombucha can affect the health of the scoby as well as the taste of your finished brew.
Note about Caffeine: While it was previously believed that most of the caffeine is released in the first few minutes of steeping tea, this idea has proved false. If caffeine is a concern, use decaffeinated tea for making kombucha.
Choosing Sugar for Kombucha
While it can be tempting to try to find ways not to use sugar in recipes, sugar is required for the fermentation process and cannot be bypassed or substituted. Using less sugar than required may starve the scoby. Keep in mind that the longer the kombucha is fermented, the less sugar remains. Brew from 7-30 days, tasting along the way, to find the best balance between sugar and flavor.
Choosing Starter Tea and Vinegar for Kombucha
The addition of an acidic liquid is critical to the health of the scoby and the safety of the batch of kombucha. The most desirable acidic liquid to use when brewing a batch of kombucha is properly brewed kombucha tea from a previous batch.
If starter tea is not available, there are two options:
Obtaining a Kombucha Scoby
A healthy kombucha scoby is important to making a good batch of kombucha tea. If you do not have a healthy scoby, try our Kombucha Tea Starter Culture or check our our information on obtaining or growing a kombucha scoby.