It was about this time last year when I finally put I the effort on making my own kombucha.
I learned the basics, picked a tea and even learned how to do a second ferment.
But I skipped over a super easy way to flavor kombucha that required less work and less time than a second ferment – using herbs! I’ve fallen in love with rose hip and hibiscus kombucha, and it’s what I have brewing in my carafe every day!
Before I jump into the details about how I make rose hip and hibiscus kombucha tea, let’s rewind for a moment and talk about the basics.
If you haven’t heard of kombucha before, it’s essentially fermented tea.
Think yogurt with the healthy bacteria for your gut, but instead of culturing dairy, you’re culturing tea. I shared a little bit about what kombucha is in this post.
Now here’s where the “aha” moment came. It might seem like I’m rambling, but I’m not, so bear with me for a moment.
To make kombucha, you first make tea.
Tea is nothing more than a type of plant (the Camellia sinesis, if you were curious).
There are herbal teas as well, like chamomile and rooibos, that come from other plant species, but they are plants too.
Your kombucha will take on a different flavor if you use different teas.
I first started brewing using oolong tea, which makes the finished kombucha taste a bit like apple juice.
I now make kombucha with a blend of black and green teas from GetKombucha. It tastes like a mild version of Lipton tea, which makes sense since Lipton tea bags contain black tea.
If you add other “tea” elements, like herbs and dried fruit, you can flavor the tea without a second ferment.
As a bonus, you have the benefits of the herbs and fruit too!
When I first embarked on this adventure of flavoring kombucha without a second ferment, I bought elderberries, hibiscus, rose hips and Echinacea. Here’s why:
Elderberries are possibly one of the best herbs for boosting the immune system and helping to fight cold and flu naturally. In fact, this study showed that taking elderberry extract within the first 48 hours of experiences flu symptoms shortened the duration of the flu by 4 days! These are the elderberries I bought.
Hibiscus is traditional medicinal herb recognized for its calming effects on the nervous system and its health boosting antioxidants. This study in Nigeria found that hibiscus was more effective at treating high blood pressure than the leading prescribed drug, AND it didn’t cause side effects! This are the hibiscus flowers I bought.
Rose hips are the fruit of a rose. Because they are an excellent source of vitamin C, they’re used to boost the immune system and as a supplement to prevent or treat a cold. According to this article, rose hip tea also helps to lower blood pressure and offers relief in patients with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. I bought these rose hips.
Echinacea is also a powerful herb noted for its immune support, but as this blogger points out, it’s not necessarily suitable for those with autoimmune disease. I consider myself blessed to not have any major illnesses, so I wasn’t concerned about adding some to my kombucha tea experiments. I bought this Echinacea.
Note: I included links to the herbs I bought because I know how tedious it is to hunt down and find the best bang for your buck on these types of things. I’ve already done the work, so I thought I’d save you the time!
After brewing lots of kombucha and trying a whole bunch of different combinations, I liked the combination of rose hips and hibiscus best.
My kombucha has a fruity taste and not much fizz (without the second ferment, remember?). When I drink a glass daily, I really do feel more relaxed all over (my daily maca smoothie probably plays a part in that too).
(If you DO like the fizz try a second ferment and make it strawberry lemonade!)
I still have both the elderberries and Echinacea, but I’m going to use the former to make elderberry syrup. The latter will be for tea when the family has caught a cold. This way I’m maximizing the benefits of each herb, without the strain on my wallet!
Meanwhile though, both rose hips and hibiscus are very affordable. I bought one pound bags of each about 3 months ago, have been using them weekly to brew and I’m STILL not even halfway through the bags!
How to Make Rose Hip and Hibiscus Kombucha
Making rose hip and hibiscus kombucha – or any herbal kombucha – is incredibly easy.
- Add 1 Tbsp of herbs to a reusable tea bag OR to a stainless steel tea ball to one gallon of water and bring to a boil.
- Add your kombucha tea (this is the tea I use), put on the lid, turn off the heat and let the tea steep for 10 minutes.
- Remove both the herbs and the tea. Continue with your normal kombucha brewing routine!
I know brewing kombucha can seem overwhelming, and I always get questions about where to get what to make kombucha. Here’s a breakdown of what I use and where I got it from:
- Jars – gallon pickles from Walmart if you’re piece-mealing it together, or save up for this continuous brew kit (which includes EVERYTHING on this list)
- Cheesecloth or nut milk bag