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What Does Kombucha Taste Like?

What Does Kombucha Taste Like?

Expect a sweet, slightly sour and lightly fizzy tea. Kombucha has become increasingly popular for its distinctive flavor as well as purported health benefits. The exact taste of the brew will be dependent on many factors, including the first ferment’s ingredients as well as what’s used to flavor the second ferment. Each brand has a different take on this simple beverage, innovating to use a larger variety of brewing ingredients, brewing methods and infusions.

Ingredients That Influence Kombucha Tea’s Taste 

There are a few central ingredients, and brewing techniques that will influence the taste of your kombucha tea. They include SCOBY, type of sugar, variety of tea, length of time brewed and equipment used.

  • Scoby - SCOBYs are removed from the brew prior to bottling, meaning that the influence on the taste is limited. Its role during the brew will influence how sweet or sour the brew is. SCOBYs eat the sugar during the brewing which causes the fermentation. The SCOBY may cause strands of yeast to be found present in your kombucha.
  • Tea - The tea you choose will have a major impact on the flavor of your brew. Common choices will include black and green tea, although many variations exist. If you don’t infuse or change the second ferment’s flavor you will find the overwhelming taste of your drink will be from the tea you choose. Choose your tea wisely!
  • Sugar - Sugar is a central ingredient to brewing kombucha tea. The sugar will feed the SCOBY causing the batch to ferment. You can essentially use any sugar that can breakdown and be absorbed by yeast and bacteria. Typical options could include cane sugar, molasses, and honey. 
  • Brew Time - The amount of time to brew your kombucha will influence if your batch is sweet or sour. The longer that you ferment your tea for, the less sweet the batch will be, thus more sour it will become. Once your kombucha has brewed and small amounts of alcohol have formed, if left the alcohol can ferement again turing your kombucha tea into kombucha vinegar. Typical brewing times are 7-14 days.
  • Equipment - The equipment that you use won’t influence the taste of your kombucha greatly. Standard equipment is 1 gallon glass jar. The only type of vessel that may influence the taste of your kombucha is if you ferment your batch in an oak barrel. Oak barrels are often aged and may infuse your batch with the previous contents flavor. 
  • Second Ferment - The second ferment of kombucha is one of the biggest contributors to the fermented teas flavor.

Kombucha Teas And Their Taste

Black Tea Kombucha

Black tea is a blanket term for many varieties of tea. Black tea could refer to Darjeeling, English Breakfast, and Assam to name a few. Black tea is one of the most common varieties with signature tastes of richness and floral undertones. Kombucha made using black tea, the richness and flavor come through the fizz.

Green Tea Kombucha

Similar to black tea, green tea is an all encompassing name for tea varieties of green color. They can include longjing, matcha, biluochun, sencha. When brewing kombucha, producers tend to use longjing tea. Longing can be described as sweet and slightly nutty. Green teas used in kombucha production also contain many health benefits too.

Jun Kombucha

Made using honey and from a slightly different SCOBY to the standard production method, Jun Kombucha’s SCOBY feeds on honey instead of cane sugar. It can also be characterized by using green tea instead of other varieties, making it a lot lighter and palatable in taste.

White Tea kombucha

A slightly more obscure tea choice for kombucha, white tea is often described as sweet, botanical and fruity. White tea can be used as a black tea replacement in recipes giving you a new and unique flavored drink.


Common Questions Before Drinking Kombucha Tea

Do you shake kombucha?

No you should not shake kombucha. Kombucha will naturally separate often causing dormant yeast and bacteria to sink to the bottom of the bottle. If you’re looking to mix, gently tilt from side to side or stir gently. For more information check our article “Shaking Kombucha: This Is Why You Shouldn’t” for more information.

How To Drink Kombucha?

You can drink kombucha straight out of the bottle; infuse it with other flavors; turn into a cocktail; leave to further ferment into vinegar; take as concentrated shots. There are an endless amount of ways to consume kombucha tea.

Do You Drink The Bottom Of Kombucha?

This is up to you. If you have purchased commercially brewed kombucha tea, from a grocery store then you can safely drink the whole contents. It is likely that there may be some dormant yeast and bacteria that are at the bottom of your bottle. These are edible but not so tasty.

Will It Taste Like Alcohol?

Probably not, no. Kombucha tea tastes like a fermented tea drink. Commercially produced kombucha may contain trace amounts of alcohol (less than 0.5%) and considered by the FDA to be a non-alcoholic drink. Therefore it should not taste alcoholic.

Is Kombucha an acquired taste?

This is dependent on your own preferences. Kombucha tea is not a love or hate drink. As there are so many different variations of tea, each with unique and different infusions most people will find a type of tea that they love.

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