Basic Standards for Kombucha

B a s i c S t a n d a r d s f o r K o m b u c h a

Kombucha’s popularity is increasing as a tea-based beverage that is healthier than soda and an alternative to alcoholic drinks. As such, more entrants are exploring how to use tea to create their own distinctive kombucha beverages. Tea is a critical ingredient in creating great kombucha. Below are some of the main considerations in using tea and developing a solid kombucha program.


A brief search online for kombucha brewing recipes reveals differing opinions on the proper ratio of water, tea leaf, and sugar. For the sake of simplicity, the relationship can be more easily expressed as 1:5:100

  • 1 Liter of water. Recipes ranged from 1 quart (0.95 L) to 1.6 L
  • 5 grams of tea leaf material. Recommendations may range from 2 g to 7 g. The cut size of the leaf material (e.g. full leaf or TBC) may be a factor in this consideration
  • 100 grams of sugar. Some recipes went as low as 70 g. Sugar levels are a consideration in how the SCOBY processes the tea- both in terms of processing speed and intensity of character

Your own preferred, final recipe may vary, but this ratio provides a sound starting point.


Most kombucha brewers have their own recipe of tea ingredients they use. These will vary based on a few considerations:

  • The story they want to tell about their ingredients and process.
  • The desired color and clarity. Several kombucha brewers prefer a blend of black and green teas to give a lighter color and clearer liquid than would result from using black teas alone. For similar reasons, white teas are also popular.
  • The health of the SCOBY. Brewers may prefer organic teas so as to avoid pesticides or chemicals that may impact the health and performance of the SCOBY. Brewers may also remark that a combination of green and black teas seems to better promote the health of the SCOBY. At this point it appears unclear as to whether it is the combination of green and black teas per se, or the potential differences in green and black tea leaves with differing nutritional content due to tea varietal, origin, growing conditions, or other. Some research indicates that green and black teas do facilitate the development of different antimicrobial activities.
  • Flavored teas are may also be avoided for a couple of reasons. There may be some concern that the chemical elements of the flavoring agent may interfere with the performance of the SCOBY. Secondly, the post-fermented result of the SCOBY’s work can significantly alter the original flavor of the tea, and any flavor added to the leaf does not pass through to the final kombucha drink.



One of the leading sources for guidance and industry standards for kombucha is Kombucha Brewers International. Brewers have come together to comply with relevant legal, quality, and health standards to establish their measures and practices, including:

  • Product definition
  • Hygiene requirements
  • Labeling protocols

Contact Firsd Tea to get the basics and explore new teas used in innovative kombucha flavors.