Best Kombucha Ingredients & Supplies
Are you interested in taking your kombucha making to another level by using top notch ingredients?
Well look no further because we have compiled a list of the best ingredients to use for making your kombucha. There’s a lot of quality ingredients out there to choose from, but we list a few specifics we recommend.
But first, before we get into that, let’s quickly consider how using high-quality ingredients affects kombucha.
How do Quality Ingredients Affect My Kombucha
Kombucha which is made with good tea and sugar can be of better quality than kombucha made with cheap ingredients. However, good kombucha can always be made with low cost ingredients. Particulary if your SCOBY cultures are strong and full of life. The other thing which comes into play when considering what range of ingredients to use is buying power integrity. Buying brands which are organic and which are part of a fair trade arrangements means that one is supporting good farming practices, fair wages, and forward thinking businesses.
On a health note, better quality ingredients, particularly when it comes to sugars and sweeteners, are often more nutritious and have a better range of health benefits than their cheaper and more processed counterparts. Products which have been grown organically are also free from harmful pesticides and herbicides. The use of natural fertilizers also ensures that the products have a higher mineral and vitamin content.
How Good Quality Tea Affects Kombucha
Kombucha which is made with good quality tea will have a better flavor profile and more delicate variations in the tea notes. This might not be discernable if one is new to drinking kombucha. However after a lot of kombucha drinking you will be able to detect this and enjoy it! On an environmental note, tea farming is a huge industry, and purchasing tea products which are sustainably made is a great ethical choice.
How Good Quality Sugar Affects Kombucha
Not much. If you are using refined sugar, the taste will probably not change that much between organic and inorganic. There are however lots of healthy sugar alternatives out there, such as honey and maple syrup. Purchasing good quality honey or maple syrup can make your kombucha taste amazing!
Putting taste aside, like with the tea, supporting forward thinking earth and people friendly brands is always a big plus. : )
So all in all, good quality ingredients can have a large impact on taste. If you are feeling inspired to create some really high end kombucha – then experimenting with quality teas and sweeteners can be very rewarding. If however you somehow found yourself in the wrong place and are actually looking for some awesome budget kombucha making supplies – then check out our Brewing Kombucha on a Budget: The Penny Pincher’s Guide post for how to make good kombucha using the cheapest ingredients.
Or, if you are feeling guilty about wanting to make kombucha from pricey products check out How to Save $1000 a Year on Kombucha. This post outlines how much money one can save each year by making your own kombucha at home – even if you use top quality ingredients!
The Best Ingredients for Your Kombucha
So here we are at the list of best ingredients and supplies. If you are still with us then we can assume you wanna make some exquisite booch! Let’s start off with the tea
Best Tea Quality Tea for Kombucha
When it comes to tea, if you want to reach a high level of quality then it is a good idea to use loose tea leaves. Paper tea bags can give off unwanted tastes into tea. For this you will need to get hold of an infuser / tea caddy. That however is a once off investment.
Then as far as tea is concerned, we are going to recommend a good quality tea called Chinese Yunnan Black Tea. It comes in leaf form and is organic. It is grown in a higher altitude area in Western China (called Yunnan) where tea is grown on the mountains — and has been for thousands of years. It’s one of the best places for organic tea in China. While note being the absolutely most expensive tea, it is definitely top shelf quality.
Next Best Tea for Kombucha
If you want to better the quality of your kombucha but do not want to fork out 21 dollars a bag for the Yunnan brand, then you can also go for Davidson’s Black Tea. While not as high quality tea as Yunnan, it is still organic, loose leaf and has a lovely flavor.
Best Sweeteners for Kombucha
While the top best teas for kombucha are fairly easy to select – sugar is a little more extensive. If you just want to use regular sugar, then we have two high quality options to suggest. However if you want to branch out into making kombucha using healthier forms of sweetening, then there is a whole plethora of varieties available. For the sake of simplicity, we are going to merely recommend a good brand of honey, a good brand of maple syrup and a good brand of coconut sugar.
The first two choices can provide very nice flavors in kombucha. If you are interested in making high quality kombucha with additional flavor, then you might want to complement it with honey or maple syrup flavors. However if you do not want to use either of these flavors to come through into the kombucha, you can use high quality cane or coconut sugar.
Best Sugar for Kombucha
If you want a high quality brand of sugar which has been through the least amount of processing, the we recommend the Rapunzle brand of Rapadura sugar. Rapadura sugar is derived from sugar cane via a low heat process. The raw sugar cane juice is heated gently, while being stirred with large paddles. This process is very labor intensive and so results in a higher price tag. However, the low heat means that the sugar is not denatured. Nothing is taken away or added either. This means that you are getting a sugar which is almost the equivalent of raw sugar cane juice poured into your kombucha. The cane is also grown organically.
If you want a runner up to Rapunzle which is slightly cheaper, then Sucanat is a good option. Sucanat is basically a trade name used to broadly term evaporated cane juice. Sucanat is not quite as unprocessed as Rapunzle Rapadura, however is is still a good quality form of sugar. Wholesale Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Sucanat Brown Sugar, is as its name describes, organic and engages in fair trade practices. This is our recommendation as far as Sucanat brands go.
Best Honey For Kombucha
Honey is a lovely ingredient to put in your kombucha. It can result in some really subtle yet definite flavors. Bees are responsible for the pollination of plants and play a huge role in maintaining ecosystems and plant life on the planet. Beekeeping inadvertently encourages the survival of bees, and by buying honey – particular organic and good quality honey – so are you!
If you have a local source of really nice honey available to you, then that could be a good bet. However there is some concern with regards to raw honey’s effect on the SCOBY overtime. Honey has its own microbial makeup, which can in certain cases upset the balance of your SCOBY. If you are concerned about this, then go for a pasteurized type of honey. But make sure that it is still pure and of good quality. If you want to buy honey online, then we recommend the following brand.
As far as honey types which are available on the internet go, YS honey is one of the best. It is fairly cheap, but is organic, pasteurized, unprocessed and kosher. It really tastes great and can safely be termed high grade honey. This honey is a reliable option to choose if you want to try out using honey in your kombucha.
If you are keen to use honey as the sweetener for your kombucha and have not done it before, then check out How to Brew Kombucha With Honey for more info on making your kombucha using honey. There you will find things like honey to sugar ratios to use, and tips to keep the SCOBY healthy.
Best Maple Syrup for Kombucha
Maple syrup can give kombucha a really wonderful taste. It is a healthy form of sweetening, full of minerals. Maple syrup is also a more sustainable type of sweetener. This is because maple syrup is harvested and tapped off of maple trees. Maple tree orchards are less destructive and damaging overall to the environment than sugarcane plantations. The sugar industry is responsible for a measurable portion of the world’s deforestation!
This is probably one of the top brands of maple syrup available today. It is very pricey however – particularly if used for kombucha making because one needs quite a bit. If you want to buy in a larger quantity for a slightly lower price, check out the below brand.
While this brand of maple syrup is slightly cheaper and comes in larger quantities, it is still organic and of a high quality.
For guidelines and instructions on using maple syrup, have a look at How to Brew Kombucha with Maple Syrup.
Best Coconut Sugar
If you want a healthy form of sweetener for your kombucha, but do not want the additional flavors which can come with honey and maple syrup, then coconut sugar is a good bet. Coconut sugar is derived from the coconut palm. Cuts are made into the flowers, allowing a thick sap to be harvested. This sap is then heated to allow it to dry into crystal form. Whereupon it is used as a type of sugar, often in eastern dishes. Coconut sugar is considered to be one of the most environmentally friendly sugars available today. Palms can grow intermixed or clumped together in many areas of the world and often form part of the natural environment. They can also be managed by small farmers, and not almost exclusively by corporations as is the case with sugarcane.
Coconut sugar can work well in kombucha brews. It is almost flavorless, and so is a good choice if you do not want the sweetener to be a source of flavor, but rather to manipulate the flavors via other other ingredients. It is however like brewing with brown sugar, and the SCOBY might take some adjusting to it.
If you are keen to get yourself some coconut sugar, then we once again recommend Wholesome Sweets variety. It is organic and of good quality.
High Quality Sweetening Hack
If you are keen on incorporating honey or maple syrup into your kombucha for its flavor, but find it is too pricey buying large quantities of this more expensive sweetener, then here is a hack. Do the first ferment with a batch of regular sweet tea. If you want to increase the quality then use some organic cane sugar like the Rapunzel, or Sucanat or some coconut sugar. Then when you do the secondary ferment, incorporate a little maple syrup or honey. During the initial ferment, the yeasts eat up most of the sugar if the batch of kombucha is left long enough. So by adding the honey or maple syrup to the second ferment, you will be consuming mostly this when you drink the kombucha. And not too much of the other sugar – only any small amount which might be left over from the first ferment.
Best Water For Your Kombucha
Water is not usually a product which you have to purchase for kombucha. But should be included in the list of what goes into kombucha. If you are making kombucha with top quality ingredients, then you probably want to ensure that the water is pure. We have quite a few guides as to what water to choose when making kombucha. So I will not bore you with all of the details here. If you want to know more, check out: Choosing the Best Water for Your Fermentations and What is the Best Water For Kombucha.
Best Equipment for Brewing Booch?
Beyond the ingredients for making Kombucha, you might want to invest in some of the better equipment that can help you make a better (or certainly, easier) Kombucha brew.
We’ve created some specific posts detailing the best equipment for brewing that you might find helpful.
- Best Equipment for Brewing Kombucha
- Best Containers for Kombucha Making
- Best Kombucha-Making Accessories
- Best Continous Brewing Containers for Kombucha
And that about wraps it up for our list of best kombucha products! There are quite a lot of additional products which you could include into your kombucha as flavoring in the second ferment. However we are not going to try and list all of those because the list would be positively endless!
Of course, you might be aiming to use the highest quality ingredients, and you are choosing items to flavor the second ferment with. You should then look for things like organic fruit (usually has the best flavor) and organic, non-irradiated spices (contains more healing properties).
Brewing kombucha does not have to require best of the best products, as the SCOBY merely needs some good strong sweet tea. However experimenting make really good quality kombucha from nice ingredients is a fun challenge, and can yield up some really lovely results.
If you have some of your own favorite quality ingredients, please share them in the comments.
For now, happy brewing guys, and let us know if your high end kombucha is a success! : )