Goji Kombucha: Guide To Drinking And Making
Goji kombucha is a variety of kombucha which relies on goji fruit to increase the nutritional value to the final brew while also providing a rich flavor. This results in a fruity kombucha brew with noticeable hints of goji flavor.
Goji Can Be Added In The First or Second Ferment:
First ferment: Goji tea can be used either with or in place of black tea, which is then fermented. Or whole berries can be added before normal fermentation begins.
Second ferment: Alternatively, the fruits can be added during a second ferment whereby the dried and crushed goji berries are used as a secondary flavoring ingredient.
What Is Goji?
Goji, also commonly referred to as goji berry, is a bright red, oblong-shaped berry that grows on the vines of Lycium barbarum and Lycium Chinese plants. These two closely related plants belong to the nightshade family but can be distinguished due to the difference in the taste of the fruits and the different sugar content in each.
What Is Kombucha?
Kombucha is an effervescent and tart-tasting brew that's prepared by fermenting freshly brewed and sweetened tea. The fermentation process requires a culture that is introduced via the starter tea from a previous brew and the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY).
Aerobic fermentation is necessary for the first ferment for the yeast culture to breakdown the dissolved sugar, in turn, releasing ethanol. The bacteria culture, on the other hand, feed on the ethanol to produce carbon dioxide, which gives the drink a fizzy nature and releasing acetic acid, which gives the fermented drink its characteristic tartness and hints of vinegar.
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What Does Goji Kombucha Taste Like?
Goji kombucha inherits the characteristic tartness of the ferment with the sweet-sour and herbal notes from the flavor of goji berries. Goji kombucha prepared using fresh goji berries is much sweeter compared to that made with dried goji berries, which are tart-tasting, almost like cranberries.
Goji kombucha can also be flavored by taking it through a second ferment. This introduces a secondary flavor with a slight tartness and herbal flavor commonly associated with the berry. This can be quite strong for some individuals.
Goji Kombucha Brands
Flavor: Matcha Goji Kombucha
Tasting Notes: Tart flavor with hints of goji and white tea leaves
Matcha goji kombucha is an artisanal fermented brew that's handcrafted to meet the firm's premium quality standards. The brew is prepared using a blend of white tea and Japanese matcha tea. The firm relies on fresh goji berries for the ultimate flavor while still retaining the numerous health benefits accrued to drinking raw kombucha.
The firm relies on a second ferment to allow the yeast culture to breakdown most of the sugar and caffeine contained in the brew.
Brand: High Country Orchard
Flavor: Goji Berry
Tasting Notes: Tart with herbal notes
High country kombucha operates from the US and has, over the years, expanded its bottled kombucha lineup to include hibiscus flavored goji berry kombucha. This brightly colored and effervescent brew can be described as tart with herbal flavors. The firm ferments the brew for a prolonged period to cut down on the residue sugar levels while gaining a much richer flavor.
Brand: Organic Wild Tonic
Flavor: Raspberry Goji Rose Kombucha
Tasting Notes: Tart flavor with hints of rose
Wild tonic began as a brewer's vision of innovation and creativity to deliver the ultimate kombucha brew. Their organic raspberry goji rose kombucha offering contains billions of live probiotics in a richly flavored brew. The goji berry kombucha undergoes a second ferment during which raspberries and rose flavors are infused before bottling.
Flavor: Goji Ginger
Tasting Notes: Tart aged flavour
Meet the long-aged organic goji ginger kombucha, a product of Reed's cultures. While the firm is synonymous with high-quality brewing cultures and brewing kits, they also do have a substantial lineup of bottled kombucha products.
Their goji ginger kombucha is bottled raw after a second ferment, which infuses the ginger flavor. The firm relies on organic ingredients only, and the base tea is brewed using a blend of yerba mate tea and oolong tea.
Health Benefits Of Drinking Goji Kombucha
Protects The Eyes
Scientific evidence has shown that goji berries contain antioxidants such as zeaxanthin, which are responsible for protecting the eyes from age-related eye diseases. The same antioxidant also protects the eyes from UV light, free radicals, and oxidative stress, which would otherwise lead to loss of vision. Goji berries also protect the retina from ganglion cells, which cause glaucoma (link).
Support The Growth Of A Healthy Immune System
Raw goji kombucha contains vitamins A and C as well as antioxidants, which play an essential role in supporting the growth of a healthy immune system. These also play a role in fighting harmful free radicals which would otherwise harm healthy cells (link).
Protection Against Cancer
Goji kombucha contains carotenoids and zeaxanthin from the goji berries, which play an essential role in fighting cancer cells. The antioxidants also significantly slow down the growth of tumors as well as increasing the effectiveness of cancer treatment (link).
Promotes The Growth Of Healthy Skin
Raw goji kombucha still contains the beta carotene phytochemical, which has the ability to support the growth of healthy skin. This leads to improved skin health, reducing skin irritation, and managing the impact of aging (link).
Stabilizing Blood Sugar
Goji berries have been shown to bring about insulin and glucose balance in the bloodstream. This plus the fact that the fermented drink contains polyphenols from tea leaves helps in regulating blood sugar and insulin amounts for increased HDL levels in type 2 diabetes patients. However, always check which a medical professional before consuming kombucha if you do have diabetes (link).
Consuming goji berries leads to improved energy, digestive health, and mood. This is due to the increased antioxidants and probiotics found in the brew. These play a significant role in enhancing the overall gut health (link).
Potential Side Effects Of Goji Kombucha
Interactions With Medicine
Goji berries contain specific molecules that interact with a range of medications. These include blood thinners, blood pressure medications, and diabetes drugs. To avoid complications arising from such interactions, you should avoid goji berry kombucha. Consult your doctor if you are on any medication before getting into goji kombucha (link).
May Cause Digestive Distress and Bloating
Goji kombucha contains considerable amounts of dissolved carbon dioxide and can, therefore, cause gastrointestinal distress and bloating when consumed in excess. The increased intake of probiotics may also result in changes in the gut bio which might lead to stomach distress (link).
Dangerous For People With Weakened Immune Systems
Goji kombucha contains live probiotic culture, which might result in bacterial infection in the weakened immune system. These include pregnant women, HIV patients, and anyone on immunosuppressant medication and chemotherapy patients (link).
Can Lead To Excess Caffeine Consumption
Goji kombucha contains content from tea leaves used to brew the initial fresh tea used in the fermentation process. Caffeine can cause insomnia when consumed in excess, especially in caffeine-sensitive people (link).
Considerations Before Making Goji Kombucha
Goji kombucha requires sugar to ferment correctly. This raises the concern in terms of just how much of the sugar remains after fermentation. It's important to note that the culture feeds on most of the dissolved sugar during the first fermentation leaving behind less than 1/10 of the initial sugar content.
Extending the brew time will also further reduce the amount of sugar in the drink as the culture will feed on it over time. This can, however, result in a sour brew, which might be too strong to drink without diluting.
Goji kombucha relies on tea leaves to not only flavor it but also provide the nutrients that the culture feeds on other than the sugar. Most tea leaves, however, have caffeine. On the one hand, it significantly improves concentration and energy levels, but on the other hand, it's quite addictive, and overconsumption of caffeine can lead to insomnia.
If you are sensitive to caffeine, you can consider using low and caffeine-free alternatives such as decaf and rooibos tea. The resulting drink will still have a great flavor but without the caffeine content.
Just like other fermented drinks, goji kombucha is a rich source of live yeast and bacteria probiotics. These 'good' bacteria help in restoring the balance within the gut bio and also help in protecting the body against harmful bacteria.
Because probiotics are primarily live bacteria cells, the consumption of such a drink is prohibited when it comes to weakened immune systems. People with weakened immune systems include pregnant women, chemotherapy patients, AIDS patients, and anyone who might be on immunosuppressants.
Types of Goji Berry Required
The Chinese wolfberry, also known as matrimony vine or Chinese boxthorn is a variety of goji berries which belongs to the Solanaceae family. The berry can be found in the Chinese province of Hebei. Its bright orange-red color gives goji kombucha a bright color and a much richer tart flavor.
Meet the Lycium barbarous a goji berry orient variety that's mainly grown in Tibet and Inner Mongolia. The berry plant refers to alkaline soil that's also fertile and well-drained to produce its large goji berries. The fruit has a delightful taste and contains few seeds making it perfect for brewing goji kombucha. The deep red hue gets infused into the final brew during the fermentation process.
Fresh Goji Fruits
Freshly picked goji fruits can be used to brew kombucha during the first ferment, or as a secondary flavoring ingredient during the second ferment. Due to its substantial sugar content, the fruit can support both types of ferments by providing additional sugar, which gets broken down by the yeast culture.
Dried Goji Fruits
Dried goji fruits can either be found as whole dried fruits or in powdered form. The drying process makes the fruit unsuitable for the first ferment and should, therefore, only be used during the second ferment, whereby the increased surface area makes it much easier to infuse the flavor from the dried berries.
How To Make Goji Kombucha
1-gallon glass mason jar
Tightly woven cloth
Kombucha Starter Kit
A simple kit with all of the ingredients included is ideal for the beginner. This Kombucha Starter Kit includes all of the ingredients, equipment and recipes, with a great price point to start at too.
1 cup goji berries
3.5 tbsp pasteurized honey/agave
6 cups unchlorinated water
3 tea bags green tea
4 tea bags green jasmine tea
3 cups starter tea from a previous batch
Our Recommended - SCOBY
A high quality, strong, SCOBY is an essential ingredient to brewing Kombucha.
Here at Grow Your Pantry we've developed our own super strong live liquid SCOBY culture.
Guaranteed to brew 1 gallon every time.
Kombucha Jar Covers
Are you thinking about making your own kombucha or Jun? Looking for the best cover that will protect and block all the wrong things from getting into the jar?
All aerobic ferments require oxygen, especially at the beginning of the fermentation process, and that is why a breathable cloth cover is the best.
Our Recommended Green Tea
Super Green is our green tea of choice for brewing kombucha. For its tastes, purported health benefits and energy boosting properties.
1. Bring the water to boil in a large pot.
2. Add the green tea leaves and green jasmine tea to the boiling water.
3. Steep for 15 minutes and add sweetener (honey or agave).
4. While the freshly brewed and sweetened tea cools down, mix the starter tea and goji berries in the mason jar.
5. When the freshly sweetened tea cools down to room temperature, add it to the mason jar and drop in the SCOBY.
6. Cover the mason jar with the thickly woven cloth and use a rubber band to hold it in place.
7. Ferment for 7 days to 14 days until the brew achieves your desired flavor profile.
Cold-brew kombucha relies on cold water to infuse the tea leaves instead of steeping them in boiling water. The type of tea leaves to use will depend on personal references whereby you can use green tea, herbal tea, or a blend of black tea for the best flavor matchup.
1-gallon glass mason jar
Filter paper that's large enough to cover the mouth of the mason jar
Rubber band to hold the filter paper in place
10 tea bags of your preferred tea leaves
4 cups cold filtered water
3.5 tbsp pasteurized honey or agave
3 cups starter tea from a previous brew
1/2 cup goji berries
1. Place the tea bags in a mason jar and add the water.
2. Cover the jar with the filter paper and use a rubber band to hold it in place.
3. Chill the mason jar and its contents for the next 48 hours in a fridge.
4. Fetch out the tea bags and add honey or agave to the cold brew tea and stir until its thoroughly mixed in.
5. Add the goji berries to the cold brew.
6. Add the starter tea and stir a little before finally dropping in the kombucha SCOBY.
7. Cover the jar once more with the filter paper and a rubber band to hold it in place.
8. Transfer the jar to its final fermentation location, which should be within room temperature and away from direct sunlight.
9. Allow to ferment for 7 to 14 days.
Goji Kombucha Second Ferment
A second ferment is used to infuse raw kombucha with a secondary flavor while also increasing the fizziness in the final brew. Goji kombucha can be flavored with a wide range of secondary flavors, just like raw kombucha.
Thick-walled glass bottles equipped with resealable airtight lids
1-gallon raw kombucha
1/2 cup dried goji berries
2 tbsp sugar
1. Fill the bottles leaving a 2-inch gap from the top with raw goji kombucha
2. Drop in the dried goji berries and add the sugar.
3. Stir thoroughly to dissolve the sugar before sealing the bottles.
4. Store in room temperature conditions away from direct sunlight and allow to ferment for 3 to 5 days.
5. Burp the bottles daily to prevent explosion due to the increased pressure, which is a result of the increased carbon dioxide production.
6. After the brew acquires the desired flavor, the bottles should be transferred to the fridge for storage for up to 2 weeks.
Our Recommended 16oz Bottles
A hinge bottle is the absolute best option for home brewers. They're air tight, easy to secure and can put them in your bag and drink during the day.
Storing Goji Kombucha
Goji kombucha should be stored in the fridge where the cold temperatures will slow down the fermentation processes. This allows the brew to retain its flavor for much longer as the yeast does not produce extra alcohol, which would be broken down to acetic acid by the bacteria culture.
Kombucha is best stored in airtight bottles in the fridge, ensure that they are thick-walled to withstand any additional pressure that might result from increased carbon dioxide production.
Storage time frame
You can store raw goji kombucha sealed in airtight bottles for up to 4 months in the refrigerator while still retaining the original flavor. Once opened, the bottles can always be stored for an additional two weeks in a fridge.
How much caffeine is in goji kombucha?
The amount of caffeine in kombucha will vary depending on the type of tea leaves used, whereby around 20% of the caffeine content is retained while the rest is fed on by the live culture.
Do I use tea when making goji kombucha?
Yes, black, green, or goji tea leaves need to be used to make kombucha.
Can you add goji to your kombucha?
Yes, you can add goji berries in either the first ferment or infuse the flavor of the berries in a second ferment.
Does kombucha make you poop?
Yes, kombucha contains live probiotic culture, which helps in maintaining a healthy gut bio hence regular bowel movement.
Is it safe to drink goji kombucha every day?
Yes, you can safely drink up to 4 oz of goji kombucha per serving three times per day without exceeding the FDA limits.
How much alcohol is in goji kombucha?
It depends on the brand. On average, goji kombucha contains around 1.5% alcohol content from the breakdown of sugar.
If you're looking to get started with brewing kombucha check our all of our reviewed and recommended products here: Kombucha Recommended Products.