What Is the Local Alternative to Tea for Making Kombucha?
Tea is an essential source of nutrients for microorganisms in kombucha. Yeast and bacteria are stimulated by the tannins and nitrogen compounds found in tea.
According to our tests, raspberry leaves, sea buckthorn leaves, and fireweed tea contain enough nutrients to promote kombucha production. The advantage of these plants is that they grow in abundance in Canada!
However, these three plants contain less tannin than tea. Therefore, you need to double the quantity and brew it longer in order to extract more nutrients.
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) is a hardy, indigenous plant known for its herbal properties. The leaves are used in infusions.
Quantity: 9g (1 cup) per litre of kombucha
Infusion time: 30 minutes
Sea Buckthorn Leaves
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) is a hardy shrub grown in Canada for its fruit which is exceptionally rich in vitamin C. Its leaves, also highly beneficial from a health perspective, can likewise be used in infusions.
Quantity: 9g (½ cup) per litre of kombucha
Brewing time: 30 minutes
Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) is a native and hardy plant. Just like tea, its leaves are oxidized before they are dried.
Place the raspberry leaves in a saucepan and add 500ml of boiling water.
Let it infuse for 30 minutes, then strain and pour the infusion into the jar.
Add the maple syrup and stir until dissolved.
Add 2.5 litres of cold water.
Add the kombucha scoby and its liquid culture.
Cover the opening with the cloth and the rubber band.
Let it ferment for 10 to 15 days at room temperature. Start tasting as of the 5th day. As soon as it is to your liking, put aside in the fridge 500ml of kombucha and the scoby for your next kombucha fermentation.
Add the balsam fir tips to the jar and let it infuse for 24 hours in the fridge.
Filter and bottle.
Leave the bottles at room temperature, testing the pressure each day by opening the bottles.
Put in the fridge once it's fizzy (beware of the pressure!).
For more information, read How to make homemade kombucha.Your 100% local kombucha is now ready to be enjoyed! It is recommended to drink it within 3 weeks, but it will still be very tasty after 6 months.
Have you tried it?Share and tag @revolutionfermentation!
Notes on Our Tests
To make our 100% local kombucha, we tested several types of local plants. Raspberry leaves, sea buckthorn leaves and fireweed tea stood out in our experiments.
For each test, we always used the same amount of water and kombucha scoby. The plants, the sugar used, and the proportions varied from test to test.
To see if a kombucha fermentation was doing well, we observed three main criteria:
The formation of the scoby
The amount of sugar remaining
The acidity created during fermentation
To make traditional kombucha, you need to use about 4g of tea per litre. However, the local plants that were tested contain less tannin than tea.
To extract enough nutrients, we tested different amounts of plants and infused them for longer periods. We found that, depending on the plant, between 9 and 12g per litre gave excellent results.
In every recipe, we infused the dried plants in water at 90°C for 30 minutes.
Are you curious and would you like to try other local plants? Feel free to experiment with nettle, verbena, lemon balm… Have fun! However, we advise you to keep a “plain” kombucha scoby, in case your tests are not conclusive.