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, it’s not necessarily suitable for those with autoimmune diseases. 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!
Note: All of these herbs can also be used in homemade herbal tea. In Grocery Budget Bootcamp, I teach how buying items (groceries specifically) with more than one purpose can greatly help the budget!
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
I bit curious about something. I know that some people will do a normal kombucha first Ferment. And don’t add flavors and other elements so as not to damage the scoby mat. Would it be possible that making an 4oz brew of the hibiscus and rosehip as a second ferment before doing bottling with so simple syrup for the fizz.
Hi Jonathan! Yes, you can take the brewed rose hip & hibiscus kombucha and use simple syrup to create fizz during a second ferment!
Hi Tiffany! Thanks for sharing this herbal treat! I have been making ‘boocha for years but have always failed with second ferments with fruit, so I stick to plain green tea kombucha. I tried your link for the SCOBY and it doesn’t seem to be working. I will give you my secret formula to make your own SCOBY. Find a plain, single serving bottle of kombucha from any store that sells it, I usually purchase GTS brand, its all I can find in my area. Pour half into a pint sized jar, and either drink the rest or save for another time in the fridge. To the pint jar add 1 tbsp sugar and stir til dissolved. Cover with cheesecloth tied shut with a rubber band for keeping out the bugs, and keeping in the air. In about 3-5 days you will have a usable SCOBY.
When you use the additional herbs such as hibiscus or elderberry….does it taint the SCOBY? Should it be kept separate from the rest?
The herbs never touch the scoby, Barbara. You add the herbs to the tea, take them out, sweeten the tea, then add the cool tea to your existing scoby & starter. Does that help clarify?
So you’re really just flavoring the tea with the herbs? and then removing both the herbs and the tea leaves before pouring the liquid over the scoby?
Karen @ Team Crumbs
Yes, that is correct. 🙂
Tiffany – I have been brewing kombucha for my family for a few months now. I came across your recipe and really want to try it. However, I’m scared to add the herbs to my black kombucha tea, because I generally have the black kombucha tea ferment with the scoby for 7-10 days. Will the herbs mess with my scoby?
Hi Liana! The herbs won’t mess with the scoby, but make sure you add the herbs to your black tea BEFORE you add the scoby. So in the end, the scoby and bag of herbs aren’t in the tea at the same time. Does that make sense?
I can’t wait to try the hibiscus and rose hips blend! Sounds delicious! I’ve never tried flavoring with herbs before. I am currently doing a second ferment with cranberry orange and can’t wait to see how it turns out. You said you first made kombucha with oolong tea. Do you have a recipe you used for that? I would love to try it. Thanks!
Hi Alexis! Oolong is a type of white tea that you can buy ready to go, it’s not a blend of anything in particular. 🙂
Thank you! How much tea do you use per
gallon? Do you only use oolong tea or do you have to use a blend like the green and black tea kombucha blend?
Hi Alexis! You can use only oolong, OR you can use a blend. I tend to alternate and use oolong for a few months, then green/black for a few months, depending on my mood. I brew 2 tbsp of tea + 2 tbsp of herbs in one gallon of water, but then I add another gallon of water to my 2 gallon dispenser.
Thanks!! Can’t wait to try!
You know I never thought I’d say this but I’m going to give a look at trying to make some Kombucha. I’m just finishing up my first week doing a cleanse called The Ultimate Reset and it’s making me try foods I never would have before. I know my family could use the probiotics it puts into the GI tract. Thanks.
Hi, I cannot wait to try making my own Kombucha. I bought all the recommended ingredients however it is slightly unclear to me how to flavor the tea during the firs fermentation. When you say continue with your regular kombucha brewing routine what would I do next if I was following your directions from the previous post. Also how much kombucha tea should I be adding, 1 tablespoon as well? Thanks
Hey Joanna! For herbal flavored kombucha, add the herbals with the regular tea to the boiling water. I like to use 1 Tbsp tea + 1 Tbsp herbals per 1 gallon of water. Does that help?
fantastic! will try!
I’ve been brewing for about seven months with mostly positive results. I’m just today came across some hibiscus that I’ll try without a second ferment. I use 16 oz bottles and I sometimes juice a variety of fruits myself at other times I add quality juices from the store. Usually 80 % Kombucha and I prefer it tart. WELL my last batch I added Lakewood organic pure unfiltered apple juice for the second ferment. Afterwards the drink smelled terrible. Didn’t taste bad. so I diluted it further with other juices and it was quite pleasant. Maybe the ratio was to much…..by the way what is a good ratio for you with your juices.
Hi David! I don’t usually do a second ferment with juice (I prefer whole fruit), but anywhere from 1-3 tablespoons per quart of kombucha should be sufficient, depending on your personal preference.
Why don’t you post the process for a second ferment? I like mine fizzy but I don’t see/read anything about how to do the second ferment.
My elderberries arrived today and I’m anxious to make my syrup and kombucha.
Can I add the hibiscus to the green tea when I’m doing my brew?
I’d appreciate any help.
Hi Jack – I haven’t posted about a second ferment because I haven’t nailed it down myself!
After I’m done brewing on the counter. I toss in some frozen fruit (blueberries, strawberries, or peaches). Then I let it sit in the fridge. We just drink it strained straight from the gallon container.
this is fantastic! it’s definitely on my to make list!