Skip to main content

Kombucha - fermented tea is not for me!

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage, its literally made using sweetened tea and a starter culture (called a SCOBY – Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast). Its a bit like kefir, except it forms a larger squishy solid mass that floats on top of the tea. And also like kefir, the origins and exact composition of kombucha are shrouded in mystery (more info here).

My herbal tea collection because I forgot to take a photo  of the kombucha

As kombucha is made from tea and as I don’t tolerate caffeine (it makes me shaky and keeps me awake, even one cup of tea has this effect, that’s why I only drink herbal tisanes), I haven’t been too interested in trying to make it, but I keep hearing about it and I was curious about the taste and I wasn’t sure if it would contain caffeine or not. I bought a commercial kombucha drink from my local vegan store so I could try it out. I would recommend that you do this, just to make sure you like it, before you go to the trouble of trying to source the starter SCOBY, either buy a commercial drink or find someone who makes kombucha and try their version. It tasted quite nice, just a little sweet, a little sour and a little bubbly, nothing too strong. I just tried a plain kombucha, but you can also add flavours after it has fermented.


The caffeine question was answered later that night as I lay awake around midnight contemplating the darkness. Yep, definitely a bit of caffeine remains! Apparently it is around 30% of the original caffeine content. If you don’t tolerate caffeine, then you can make your own kombucha with decaffeinated tea, or you can use a herbal tisane or roibus for most of your batches and do the occasional batch with black tea (apparently the SCOBY needs black tea occasionally, but I’m not clear why exactly). It just seems wrong and unnatural to use a decaffeinated tea, so I would rather go without and enjoy other fermented drinks instead.

Personally, I found it interesting to taste kombucha and do some research, but I think I have enough starters to look after at the moment (the kefir and Herman the cake starter), and I make non-caffeinated fermented drinks using whey, so I’m not going to launch into kombucha at the moment. Seeing as I did some reading, I thought I’d share it with you though, and if you are ok with caffeine and want to add some probiotics to your daily diet, maybe you could try kombucha. Just like other fermented foods (like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut for example) kombucha is said to balance the microbes in the gut and assist the immune system with fighting disease. As Pheonixhelix says “These living foods change from batch to batch, and since they can’t be patented or highly controlled, there’s no real incentive for the science community to spend resources in research”. That’s the problem for all fermented foods and the reason why the argument “there’s no proof that its good for you” really isn’t fair, the proof is all the people who use kombucha (and other fermented foods) daily and see either improved health or at least no adverse effects.

And here's my kefir (and some pickles)
It is at least quite a simple process of brewing tea, adding sugar, allowing it to cool and then adding the SCOBY, which is quicker than my fermented drinks, so that would be an advantage. If you want to try making it yourself, you will need to get a SCOBY, as the SCOBY grows with each ferment, people who make kombucha will have excess kombucha, so you just need to ask around and find someone, or try searching google (you will find that people sell all sorts of starters, commercially and privately, including kefir and kombucha).

What do you think? Have you tried kombucha? Do you make it? Would you like to? I would love to know if anyone has tried brewing kombucha with anything other than black tea.

Clever Chicks Blog Hop
Simple Saturdays Blog Hop
From the Farm Blog Hop
Homestead Barn Hop
The Homeacre Hop


Comments

  1. I have made Kombucha and am on the fence about it. Some flavors I don't mind, some I don't like. I generally prefer plain made from Orange Pekoe over the other black teas.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very interesting post Liz (as usual!) I've not tried Kombucha, mostly because kefir and sourdough keep me busy enough (especially in summer when our high heat make it more challenging). I didn't realize about the caffeine, but that makes sense.

    I do have to mention about the daily consumption of, well, kefir for me. It definitely makes a difference health wise! An amazingly good difference including a consistently high energy level (a definite plus for someone like me who is growing older). Interesting about the science communities lack of interest. But, live yeast products are not legal to sell in the US anyway, so it's just as well. Our scientific community only seems interested in profitable outcome research.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Leigh, I agree, I notice the difference if I miss out on my daily kefir! I assume that kombucha would have similar advantages :)

      Delete
  3. I only drink herbal tea, so I have never tried it, It doesn't sound like my cup of tea :)
    I have wanted to try Kefir, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, I only drink herbal tea too, you should get some kefir though!

      Delete
  4. I did try making it, based on this article at Milkwood: http://milkwood.net/2013/11/05/kombucha-round-one/

    I made it using green tea, and I got the SCOBY from the vinegar I was making. It did taste really nice, my husband liked it too. But I think I must have made it a little alcoholic (don't know how I achieved that) because I couldn't stop laughing after a few sips. That's why I don't drink alcohol, I laugh uncontrollably. My husband thought it very amusing. Even he said he got a buzz in the head after drinking it - a good buzz.

    Either it was mildly alcoholic or just really good that my brain seized-up in hysterical fits, lol.

    I didn't make it again because I couldn't be sure if it was alcoholic. I thought the flavour was really nice though. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's hilarious Chris! They do say that its "slightly" alcoholic! You are either really sensitive or you made a really strong brew!

      Delete
  5. Well SNAP! I was given a scoby just this week and I'm feeling a bit on the fence too and I'm feeling a bit like a juggler with my ferments and tinctures and infusions....I agree with Leigh about the keffir too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it is definitely possible to have too many ferments on the go at once....

      Delete
  6. I have the same problem with caffeine, I tried Kombucha with rooibos tea which naturally has no caffeine but the brews never worked out well, so I changed to trying green tea but soaking the tea for 1 minute first to supposably to remove the caffeine but this did not work either. I much prefer water keffir

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, water kefir is a good option too, lucky we have plenty of alternatives to try!

      Delete
  7. I love kombucha. I use black tea because green, even half and half, makes it too bitter. I don't notice alcohol or caffeine. I find it really refreshing and love some of the different flavours. I always do a 2nd ferment with fruit. Passion fruit and/or pineapple are great. As is ginger.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great Lucy, I know some people do love it, so thanks for your positive input :)

      Delete
  8. I love the flavour of kombucha but when I was given my own scoby I was grossed out by it! I tried to get passed it but couldn't. I made a couple of batches but didn't want to drink it. It's an ugly thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no Linda! It does look rather odd!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

Popular posts from this blog

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

Growing and eating chokos (chayotes)

Cooking chokos (not be confused with another post about cooking chooks) has been the subject of a few questions on my blog lately, so here's some more information for you.
Chokos - also known as Chayote, christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton, chuchu, Cidra, Guatila, Centinarja, Pipinola, pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, güisquil, Labu Siam, Ishkus or Chowchow, Pataste, Tayota, Sayote - is a vine belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with pumpkins, squash and melons, with the botanical name Sechium edule.


The choko contains a large seed, like a mango, but if you pick them small enough it is soft enough to eat.  If you leave the choko for long enough it will sprout from one end and start to grow a vine.  To grow the choko, just plant the sprouted choko and give the vine a structure to climb over.  In summer, the vine will produce tiny flowers that will eventually swell into choko fruit.  The vine doesn't like hot dry weather.  And it doesn&#…

Making tallow soap

For some reason I've always thought that making soap seemed too hard.  For a start the number of ingredients required was confusing and all the safety warnings about using the alkali put me off.  The worst part for me was that most of the ingredients had to be purchased, and some even imported (palm oil and coconut oil), which never seemed very self-sufficient.  I can definitely see the benefits of using homemade soap instead of mass produced soap (that often contains synthetic fragrance, colour, preservatives, and has had the glycerine removed), but it seemed to me that if I was going to buy all the ingredients I may as well just buy the soap and save myself all the hassle.  For the past several years I have bought homemade soap from various market stalls and websites, and that has suited me just fine.
Then we had the steer butchered at home and I saw just how much excess fat we had to dispose, it was nearly a wheel-barrow full, and that made me think about how we could use that…