Kombucha Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some Frequently Asked Question about Kombucha. If you would like to add a question to this list just let me now.. Send the question to me by email.

1) What is a Kombucha Mushroom?

The Kombucha Mushroom is not a true mushroom but pseudo lichen. It is a fibrous cellulose spongy mat that is formed by the various Kombucha bacteria and yeast cells that live in the liquid sugary tea. This mat is primarily grown to act as an evaporation cap to keep the tea from evaporating and also to prevent other microorganisms from getting to the sugary tea. It has no sex, and produces no seeds or spores for the purpose of reproduction but within the cells of the membrane are contained the same bacteria and yeasts cells that exist within the tea. When your transfer a newly formed mushroom to a new batch of tea you introduce these bacteria and yeasts to the new tea which quickly colonize it, cause the tea to ferment, and grow a new membrane on the surface.

2) What is the best way to brew Kombucha?

The best way to brew Kombucha Tea is by using my “Easy Brew Method”. This method of brewing the tea is only given to my customers… Sorry! If I made it public on the net competitors would quickly steal it and market it to their advantage. All my customers who are using the “Easy Brew Method” agree that it is a much better way of making Kombucha in comparison to making it the old fashion traditional way with all its frustrations developed by those thousands of years ago who never attended a biology class.

The quality of the tea produced is better and my directions also show how you may be able to ferment a more potent tea in regards to health benefits seen. I have brewed many thousands of batches of Kombucha since 1994, I do know what I am talking about, and I also did not fall asleep in my high school biology class.  🙂

3) Can drinking this tea harm me in any way?

Kombucha tea is safe to drink and even the Federal Drug Administration has indicated it is safe provided it is prepared in a clean manner like any other food or beverage you are planning to consume. But like other food it is possible that the tea can become spoiled. But the risk of this happening is no greater than for any other food or beverage probably even less for Kombucha because it is a fermented beverage which contains alcohol.

Alcohol helps to inhibit contamination. Millions of people drink Kombucha daily and only see positive benefits from doing so. Kombucha is safer than aspirin. A lot of people pose the safety question about Kombucha because they mistakenly believe it to be a mushroom and they are aware that some mushrooms are poisonous. Kombucha is not a mushroom; it is something more like lichen, a simple plant.

4) Is there any relationship between the quality of the tea and the growth size of the new mushroom?

No, not really. If the tea ferments properly the size of the mushroom at the time you decide to end the fermentation and strain off the tea is not important, you are not eating it. What is important is that the tea has fermented. The tea is fermented by the living bacteria and yeasts introduced into the tea by the so-called mushroom, which is nothing more than a cellulose mat. Any size mushroom contains millions of these bacteria and yeasts, more than enough to ferment any size batch of tea.

5) Can I eat this mushroom?

Mushrooms can be eaten but few do so as it is fiberous and may be hard to digest. Also its only flavor is that which it gets from the type of liquid tea it is grown in. Eating it would not be of any medical benefit. When dried it takes on the appearance of slippery, rubbery leather… Chew toy for your dog?

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6) I have heard that if I drink the tea a mushroom will grow in my stomach and kill me, is this true?

Absolutely not! If someone told you this, and they were serious, they have been badly misinformed. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet about Kombucha.

7) How soon can I expect to start seeing health benefits from drinking the tea?

Each person’s body is different as is their physical health. I cannot answer this question. The only way to know if the tea can improve your health or how soon it will improve your health is to start drinking it… I suggest daily for at least 3 months. Health benefits from the tea hopefully will be seen sooner than later but there is no way to know for sure. Many notice a difference in their health quickly. If you are already in good health then I strongly suggest that you drink the tea daily for the rest of your life to maintain that good health. You will be pleasantly surprised at how good Kombucha Tea tastes and you will enjoy drinking it daily!

8) What recipe do you recommend to make Kombucha Tea?

Like any food to be prepare there are a variety of different ways of doing it. Basically Kombucha Tea is made by putting a mushroom culture into a batch of sugary tea which starts the tea to ferment. The tea is usually ready in 7 to 9 days if kept at a brewing temperature between 74 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is cooler than recommended it will take longer before the tea is ready. After the tea is done fermenting it is strained and placed in the fridge to cool. Full detailed instructions will be provided to you when you place your order for the cultures which you will need to start making the tea. Plus, free email and phone support is also given to our customers.

9) Can I use decaffeinated tea and a sugar substitute?

Decaffeinated tea can be used but real sugar must be used. Sugar is needed for the fermentation process; most all the sugar will be consumed by the newly forming baby mushroom and the fermentation of the tea. At the end of 7 days the tea will contain about 1/2 of 1 percent alcohol. Some people do make Kombucha tea using honey, fructose sugar, brown sugar, beet sugar, raw sugar, or sugary fruit juices instead of regular white sugar. White cane sugar however makes the best tasting tea. Sugar substitutes cannot be used to make Kombucha. The amount of caffeine in Kombucha Tea is dependent on the type of tea you initially use when making the tea. Various types of different teas can be used. Green and white teas generally have more caffeine content than black teas. For more info on caffeine content of various teas you can Click Here

10) What is the best way to store the tea after it is done fermenting?

I recommend that the tea be stored in wine bottles and properly corked or capped and kept in the fridge. If left too long at room temperature the tea continues to ferment and bottles that they are stored in may blow due to increasing carbonation pressure. Those not so stout bottles with a rubber stopper secured by a levered metal clasp if left at room temp are prone to blow apart and should be avoided. To properly cork wine bottles you may wish to invest, at small cost, in a hand corking tool. It is difficult to insert a new wine cork into a wine bottle without using a corking tool. These are sold on Ebay, as are wine corks. Empty wine bottles can be obtained from most any restaurant for free as they just throw them out once emptied.

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11) Does not sugar feed cancers?

The notion that sugar feeds cancer is widespread in the public press. Please Click Here to read an informative article on this subject. The health benefits seen from drinking Kombucha are greater than any supposed negative effects because of the use of sugar, which is required for fermentation.

12) What are the most common mistake people make when brewing Kombucha?

There appears to be several mistakes most novice brewers will make. The first is not reading carefully the detailed instructions we send with their order or preparing the tea in another way. The second is allowing the tea to ferment too long because they forget about keeping track of the fermentation time, the tea then becomes too sour for their taste. Normal brewing time is 7 to 9 days. The third mistake a novice brewer makes is misidentifying the new mushroom that is forming on the surface of the tea as mold which leads then to throw out a perfectly good batch of tea. Also, sometimes the new mushroom forming in the tea forms more slowly than the novice brewer anticipates and this leads them to panic thinking that something with the brew has gone wrong.

13) What does the tea taste like?

If you use orange pekoe or black tea the taste is like an apple wine cider. If you use green tea it tastes like a ginger ale wine. Kombucha can be made using other types of tea as well. The taste is refreshing and delicious and it will quickly become a favorite drink.

14) After the tea is done fermenting how should I store it?

Store the tea in a glass container, old wine bottles or jugs, in the refrigerator. Do not store at room temperature or the tea continues to ferment and carbonation pressure can build up in a sealed bottle and it may blow. Most people agree that the tea starts to reach its peak flavor after it has aged in the refrigerator for about two to four days. If left uncapped It begins to go flat to the taste after about 7 to 9 days. The tea is still good to drink even when flat but it just does not taste as refreshing.

15) Can I brew my tea in a plastic container?

Kombucha Tea is a fermented beverage and for the same reason you would not brew or store wine in plastic, because the taste suffers, you should not brew or store Kombucha tea in plastic containers. However, you can store your surplus mushrooms in plastic containers or bags.

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16) How much of the tea should I drink daily?

Most people drink about one to three cups a day, some in the morning and some in the evening. A cup equals about 8 ounces. If you exercise, drink the tea prior to starting, and you will be very surprised by the extra energy it gives you.

17) How should I store my mushrooms?

Mushrooms can be stored in plastic bags and kept in the fridge. If you want to store them for long periods of time then store them in a covered glass container in the refrigerator (not the freezer) floating in a little sugary tea. Most refrigerators are frost free and will dry out an exposed mushroom then the mushroom may die.

18) I have heard that the mushroom will die and the tea will become poisoned if it comes into contact, even briefly, with metal. Is this true?

No, this is not true. The tea can leach metal molecules from ferrous metals such as iron so EXTENDED contact with ferrous metal should be avoided. That is why you should use a brewing container made of glass. In olden days when glass containers were not available people mistakenly brewed the tea in iron or other soft metal pots and this ruined the tea, this is how the old wives tale that Kombucha can be harmed by even brief contact with any metals began and has since been blown out of all proportion.

19) What about mold contamination, I have heard that is this a problem?

Mold contaminations can occur, if it should occur it is easily seen, in which case the tea can be discarded. To avoid a mold problem brew the tea using our EASY BREW METHOD.

20) What is all the brown gunk I see in the tea?

As the tea ferments it produces a small amount of alcohol which is a solvent. The alcohol causes impurities in the tea and sugar to be dissolved into the tea and these then cogaulate into a brownish sludge that floats to the surface of the tea. This gunk is harmless but people often mistake it for a mold contamination when it is not. As the mushroom forms on the surface of the tea it will grow around and on top of this sludge and will become less noticeable.

Also often seen are brownish colored root strands hanging from the underside of the forming mushroom. The more impurities in the type of ingredients used the more of this brownish sludge is formed. Using brown sugar and loose leaf black/dark teas often produces more of this gunk than using refined white sugar and green tea in tea bags.

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21) I have diabetes, this tea has a lot of sugar in it, how can I safely drink it?

Most of the sugar initially used to make the tea will be used up in the fermentation of the tea and by the newly forming mushroom. In about 7 to 9 days the tea is neither too sweet nor too sour to the taste. It is recommended that if you have diabetes you use less sugar in initially preparing the tea or allow the tea to ferment longer. Sugar is required to be used otherwise the tea will not ferment. Drink limited amounts of the tea at first. Check your blood sugar levels after drinking the tea to determine the proper amount to drink. Determine the best time of day to drink the tea, usually you will want to drink the tea when your blood sugar levels are low.

22) What effect will drinking the tea have on any medication I am taking?

Kombucha tea is not likely to effect any medication you are taking, however, to be safe check with your physician. If you can drink grapefruit juice, coffee, or wine, you are not likely to have a problem drinking Kombucha Tea. Most people drink one to three cups of the tea during the course of the day. One cup equals about 8 ounces. The tea can slightly lower the pH level of bodily fluids if you drink substantially more so check with your physician to see if any of the medication you are taking is pH sensitive.

You should not drink huge amount of the tea because it is not wise to drink huge amounts of anything. Drinking larger amounts provides no greater health benefits. Keep in mind that your physician will probably not be that familiar with Kombucha Tea so you may have to educate him. Do not drink the tea if it is very sour as it may upset your stomach.

23) Is it safe for children to drink Kombucha tea?

Yes, but it is not recommended for babies or toddlers because the tea contains about 1% alcohol and caffeine. Children should drink proportionately less due to their body size. I had one customer report that her children loved it because of the, slight and momentary, feel good buzz they feel after drinking the tea, most adults also will notice this slight buzz.

24) Can women who are breast feeding or pregnant drink Kombucha tea?

Pregnant women or women who are breast feeding should not drink excessive amounts of the tea as the tea contains about 1% alcohol, caffeine, and is slightly acidic. The tea however can be made with decaffeinate tea. Most people drink 1 to 3 cups a day. Some people incorrectly believe that because Kombucha detoxifies the body the toxins that are removed might somehow be send to the fetus or a breast feeding baby. This does not happen; such toxins are removed by the functions of the liver and kidneys. There is no F.D.A. warning cautioning women not to drink Kombucha if they are pregnant or breastfeeding. No fetus or baby is known to be harmed by the mother drinking Kombucha tea. 

25) Is Kombucha the same as Tibicos Hongo used to make a similar medicinal
drink in Central & South America?

Tibicos is a different fermented beverage than Kombucha. It is similar to Kefir which is a fermented milk culture taken for health. Other than using milk Kefir can be made in other ways.

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26) Is the best way to brew the tea using the “continuous brew system”?

Absolutely not, most people who try this way of brewing the tea quickly give it up as it is labor intensive because you are constantly having to refill the brewing container several times a week with fresh tea, also a continuous brewed batch of tea quickly grows too sour to drink. Sediment also accumalates on the bottom of the brewing container because you are never cleaning it out and this impacts negatively on the taste of the tea.

Some merchants on the Internet  are more interested in selling equipment to brew the tea in this manner than helping you to produce good tasting Kombucha. Brewing Kombucha is similar to brewing wine or beer and anyone who knows how to make a good wine or beer would never bother to consider brewing Kombucha is this manner. The best way to make make Kombucha is using my Easy Brew Method… Trust me on this!

27) Can the same health benefits be seen from taking Kombucha capsules, extracts, or prepackaged tea bags labeled Kombucha?

Absolutely not, all such products are false products and provide no health benefits. The excellent reputation of Kombucha tea has caused many unscrupulous people to sell false products using the name Kombucha. Health benefits from Kombucha Tea are only seen when you drink the “living” tea. Commercially bottled Kombucha Tea is now being sold in health food stores at ridiculously high prices. The Kombucha Tea that you make for free in your home tastes a lot better.

28) I have worms crawling on the surface of my Kombucha mushroom, what are these?

You have allowed fruit flies to get into the brewing jar and they have laid their eggs in the mushroom and they have hatched. You are seeing the larvae of fruit flies. To keep the flies out cover the jar with a paper towel or coffee filter using a rubber band. Do not use cloth as the flies can work their way through the weaving of the cloth. Better yet use the Easy Brew Method to ferment the tea.

29) Can you make Kombucha Tea without an alcohol content?

Kombucha is a “fermented” tea. The bacteria and yeast consume the sugar in the tea and one of the by-products is alcohol. Kombucha when brewed properly contains only about .5% to 1% alcohol. There is no way to “ferment” Kombucha without producing some amount of alcohol. You could possible pasteurize the tea after it is done fermenting and then boil off whatever alcohol is present but in doing so you kill off all the probiotic bacteria and yeasts.

30) How long have you been selling Kombucha?

I have been providing primary Kombucha cultures to the Internet public since 1995, to many thousands of customers, including medical and health professionals, research laboratories, as well as for university studies. I have earned a five star rating with Google and Trust Pilot based on the positive reviews submitted by customers. Millions around the world enjoy this refreshing tea daily and have done so for over 2000 years. I am sure you will as well.

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