Kombucha FAQ

What is kombucha?

Kombucha is fermented sweetened tea. This popular beverage is made by fermenting sweetened tea with a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). The drink is packed with vitamins and antioxidants to boost the immune system.

Why should I drink kombucha?

These nutritious drinks are packed with antioxidants and healthy bacteria called probiotics. Probiotics are the “good” and “helpful” bacteria that support your gut and digestive system. Most carbonated drinks nowadays have artificial flavoring and processed sugar; the kind of beverage that leads to high glucose levels. However, a healthier alternative does not mean less flavorful. Kombucha helps to quench those with a craving for carbonated drinks and nourish the gut with nutrients.them.

How much kombucha should I drink?

Kombucha is a beverage that can be enjoyed on a regular basis, such as a cup of tea. However, every person will experience something different when drinking kombucha. If it is your first time drinking these fizzy drinks, we suggest you allow your body to acclimate to the increased amount of probiotics and flavor. You can do this by drinking a few sips of kombucha a day before you begin to introduce it to your diet. Overall, you know your body best, so listen to what it’s telling you. 

Pregnant women are advised not to drink kombucha due to possible traces of alcohol and caffeine. 

What is a SCOBY?

Have you wondered what those pancake-looking blobs are floating in your kombucha? Those are called SCOBYs! The term “SCOBY” is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. Not only does the SCOBY foster the accumulation of yeast and good bacteria, but it also acts as a seal that block airborne bacteria from disturbing the fermenting kombucha. 

What is a healthy SCOBY color?

SCOBYS tend have a wide range in color from off-white to brown. 

At Joshua Tree Kombucha, we use organic black tea to make our SCOBYS and starter liquids. Our starter liquid will tend to be on the darker side and the Scoby will appear darker but don't worry, you DID NOT get a bad kombucha Scoby. You have a perfectly strong culture ready to brew delicious gut healthy kombucha!

If your SCOBY has dark brown/black spots or streaks on it, don't panic! This is likely left over staining from the tea used to make your last batch of kombucha or strands of active yeast that is doing its thing with the Scoby. 

Is kombucha a mushroom?

Although mistakenly referred to as mushrooms, neither kombucha nor SCOBYs are mushrooms. Kombucha is essentially fermented sweetened tea and SCOBYs are Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.

Is kombucha hard to make?

As long as you have the patience and willingness to learn, then you can definitely make your own kombucha at home! With many things in life, it’s all about practice and experimentation. Here at Joshua Tree Kombucha, we like to say that if you can make sweet tea, you can make kombucha. Click here for a simplified step-by-step guide on how to brew your own kombucha.

Why do I need so much sugar? Can I use anything else?

Sugar is essential to brewing your own kombucha. The sugar is what the SCOBY eats to grow. Without this fundamental ingredient, bacteria and yeast in the kombucha will not be able to ferment the drink. Concerned about consuming sugar? No worries! The SCOBY feeds off of most of the sugar so by the time you drink your kombucha not much of the sugar remains. Here is a breakdown of the best and worst types of sugar to use: click here.

Can I use herbal tea?

Yes, you can use herbal tea, but with caution. In order to use herbal tea, make sure to add a little bit of black tea into the mix to ensure the SCOBY is receiving all of its nutrients. Since herbal tea does not contain Camellia sinensis, and thus is not actually tea, the culture’s growth can be harmed. The antibacterial effect of herbal tea might even kill your good bacteria, so use caution while experimenting with such plants, flowers, and roots.

Will my kombucha be alcoholic?

When brewed properly and with control, kombucha has minimal traces of alcohol. The longer the fermentation period, the higher the alcohol content and the less sugary kombucha will become. On the other hand, the shorter the fermentation period, the less alcoholic and more sugary the brew. You can stop the fermentation period by refrigerating the brew. This will prevent the kombucha from becoming more alcoholic. 

What if my SCOBY gets mold?

If your SCOBY gets mold, toss it out ASAP along with the rest of the contents in the jar. A SCOBY with mold will have patches of white/colorful fuzzy spots. A dead SCOBY will be black. Refer to this article here to learn more on how to spot moldy SCOBYs:

What type of container should I use to brew kombucha?

When you choose your container, keep the following in mind:

  1. The container is large enough to contain all of the ingredients and brew the desired amount of kombucha

  2. The container is easy to move and carry

  3. The container is sturdy and can withstand the fermenting conditions

We highly suggest you use glass as the brewing vessel. You can use a variety of sizes such as quart size, half-gallon, and even gallon, depending on how much kombucha you wish to make. We suggest you avoid using plastic vessels because they can be easily deformed from the brew’s acidity.