Which Tea should you use for brewing kombucha?
Kombucha is made from just 3 ingredients: sugar, tea, and SCOBY with starter liquid. For this reason the quality of these ingredients is so important. At Kombucha by Laurent we use some very nice looking Scoby.. Organic cane sugar is easy to find at your local grocery store and can be very inexpensive to buy, so we think its worth selecting over refined (often GMO) sugar. Tea is the ingredient that comes with the most options. Experimenting with your tea selection can be a fun way to experiment with your brew, but it can also cause problems like mold. Before you select tea for home brewing kombucha, consider these 3 important things:
The history. Traditionally, kombucha tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant, which includes black, green, oolong, pu-erh and white. The differences in these teas are based on which stage of growth they were picked at and how they were processed. We recommend black tea for regular brewing, however brewing 1/2 black and 1/2 green on occasion can be beneficial for rebalancing your brew and helping your SCOBYs grow thick.
Caffeine matters. The tea used in your home brew must be caffeinated, even though the final kombucha drink ends up with very little caffeine in it. Caffeine is necessary because it provides nitrogen that is used to build cells and stimulate fermentation in the bacteria and yeast. When it comes to kombucha, caffeine is necessary for the fermentation process, and it is not to give the drinker an energy boost.
Organic is a non-negotiable (we also think fair trade and sustainability are equally important to consider). Unfortunately, many of the most popular tea brands on shelves today have been found to contain levels of pesticides on their tea leaves that exceed the legal limit. We are talking about known carcinogens and are very high. At Kombucha by Laurent we use only Organic Tea off course.
Finding organic, fair-trade, sustainable, loose leaf tea, is not very difficult.
Our tea comes from China and Japan. At Kombucha by Laurent we have a mix of 2 different Organic Oolong Tea with Organic Sencha.