Using Herbal Teas, Flavored Teas and or Wild-Crafted Plants – A Quick Word
Traditionally, brewing and maintaining kombucha mushroom culture required black tea and a sugar source. There are reasons for using black tea that aid in the longevity of the cultures vitality by working as a nutrient solution.
When using herbal teas or plants to brew kombucha tea mushroom cultures the concern lays is the amount of volatile oils contained within the plant in question. Using herbs, plants, or flavored traditional teas with high amounts of volatile oils may affect the growth of the Kombucha culture. An example of a tea not to use would be peppermint tea. Also, avoid herbal or flavored teas that contain high amount of bitters. The benefits of using medicinal herbs when preparing kombucha tea can greatly enhance the beneficial properties of the kombucha tea tonic.
A great old time Kombucha recipe, from Russia, is an alternative to traditional black tea is dried rose hips, dried elderberries, and a sugar source. This is a very old traditional recipe as both ingredients could be gathered in most areas with very low cost, if any, compared to imported tea, which only the wealthy could afford.
Teas NOT recommended for brewing kombucha tea, include but are not limited to: Sage, peppermint, St. John’s Wort, chamomile flower, ginger root, or plants
within the pepper family.
Herbs Safe to Use for Brewing:
Aniseed, young blackberry or raspberry leaf and berry, chicory root, club moss, dandelion, elder flowers and berries, fennel, hibiscus flower, nettle leaf, oat straw. In addition, Rooibos tea (red bush tea), plantain leaf, rose hips common, yerba maté leaf, and valerian root.
NOTES on Fresh Plant/Herbs: First, use low oil teas, Google herbal sites for complete listing. One draw back to using herbal tea is that they contain more wild yeast spores over green or black tea. This may contaminate the kombucha cultures; on the other hand, the wild yeast may assist in producing a fizzier beverage. This happens by introducing more yeast into the brewing vessel. The draw back is that you have no control over what type of yeast you introduce. In short, there may be a higher chance of contaminating your kombucha mushroom cultures by using herbal teas or plants. Use a backup culture for experiments! To prevent contamination, make sure your pH readings are within the proper range.