Food - Drink
Why You Shouldn't Use Herbal Teas For Kombucha
Kombucha originated in 220 B.C. in northeast China, and the drink was given its name by the Japanese Emperor Inkyo. At its core, kombucha consists of fermented tea that is commonly mixed with fruit juices or sweetener for flavor; this sounds simple enough, but if you want to make your own kombucha, stay away from herbal tea.
Kombucha production starts by brewing tea with sugar, then mixing it with a SCOBY, which stands for "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast." This culture comes in the form of a gelatinous disk made up of multiple yeast species, which produce alcohol, and bacteria that convert that alcohol into acid, creating the vinegar-like flavor of the drink.
For the fermentation process to take place, the yeast in a SCOBY requires something to feed on, which is why sugar is added, plus nutrients from tea leaves, such as nitrogen, theanine, and caffeine. These nutrients are abundant in "true" tea that comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, but most herbal teas usually contain no tea leaves at all.
Black, green, or oolong tea is best for a successful batch of home-brewed kombucha, and you can even create a blend consisting of any of these teas. Avoid teas such as chamomile, peppermint, or others that contain oil for flavoring, since these natural oils can harm the SCOBY — another reason why herbal tea just doesn't work.