Caffeine and Kombucha, pt. 2 - Brewing Kombucha with High Caffeine

 

Guayusa and yerba Guayusa and Yerba Mate, while not technically tea, are both traditionally consumed from a gourd

If you've been following our blog series, you may have read my post about the highly energizing yerba mate. It's a tasty herb that makes excellent kombucha, and I usually blend it with white tea. Check it out here if you haven't already. Now, on to Brewing Kombucha with High Caffeine ...
 
Misinformation abounds regarding the concentrations of caffeine in the various traditional tea varieties. Among the most prominently circulated holds that "lighter" teas, such as white and green teas, contain moderate amounts, whereas darker teas such as black, oolong and pu-erh will generally contain a greater amount of caffeine.

 
The sheer complexity of the tea plant prevents anything but generalizations from being made. That said, if you have been privy to most of the data circulating regarding caffeine and teas, you likely have a different story than what closer inspection will reveal. I'll admit to acceptance of some of these thoughts as well - white tea is low in caffeine, right? And greens have much less than black tea? Wrong - for the most part.

 

Young leaves mean higher caffeine

 

Jade Dewdrops, Mao Feng, Black Iron Goddess Left to right: Jade Dewdrops (green), Mao Feng (green), Black Iron Goddess (black)

The younger a tea leaf is when it is plucked, the higher the concentration of caffeine there will be. So, since green and white teas are made from the youngest parts of the plant, on the whole these leaves will be highest in caffeine. This will, then, be especially true of silver bud white tea, or any tea that contains buds, for that matter. This doesn't necessarily exclude black teas.

 

This blog written by Nigel Melican was extremely helpful when I was trying to find out more regarding my favorite beverage and the caffeine therein. In it, Nigel debunks caffeine content myths and discusses the early pour-off method, thought (falsely) by many to decrease caffeine.

 

Guayusa - cousin to yerba mate

 

Another great tea-like herb that provides a lot of energy from caffeine is guayusa. Primarily grown in Ecuador, it is said to be consumed before and during hunting. Like yerba mate, it provides a clean energy boost without risk of "crashing" after the boost wears off.

 

Guayusa, yerba mate, silver bud Left to right: Guayusa, yerba mate, silver bud white tea

I love to make kombucha with it not only because of the physiological effects, but it also has a great flavor, not unlike rooibos. You could almost look at guayusa as a caffeinated rooibos, one I often describe as having an herbal cherry flavor.

 

So, definitely consider this one when concocting your 'buch energy drink! Think probiotic coffee substitute. Many thanks to our friends at Runa for all the knowledge and tea.

 

Remember pu-erh?

 

Another tea to consider when making a high energy kombucha is a style called pu-erh. You may have read my blog post on pu-erhs posted back in March. If not, check it out here.

 

Mi Lan Xiang Phoenix Mountain Oolong, and a Tibetan mushroom pu-erh Mi Lan Xiang Phoenix Mountain Oolong, and a Tibetan mushroom pu-erh

While pu-erhs may not have the highest caffeine content, there's definitely a strength and energy that is really noted across the board with this style. So these make a great, boosting kombucha that also will be very medicinal and also have a unique taste.

 

When endeavoring to make high-energy kombucha, look no further than yerba mate, guayusa, white and green (check out Jade Dewdrops - it's outstanding) teas, and pu-erhs. Of course other styles will still provide you with caffeine, but if you're looking to maximize, it's useful to look at these types.

 

KBBK is making it easy to do this with our selection of teas, which now includes bulk yerba mate for 2, 4, or 6 brews.

 

Until next time - consider brewing up a little something to get you jacked in the morning - that won't make your stomach writhe and your body crash. A healthier part of waking up ;-).

 

An array of (mostly) teas arranged left to right, higher to lower caffeine An array of (mostly) teas arranged left to right, higher to lower caffeine

2 thoughts on “Caffeine and Kombucha, pt. 2 - Brewing Kombucha with High Caffeine”

  • Jenni Beeman

    When increasing caffeine can you also increase the amount of tea in 1f? I follow the buch' recipe from your book which uses 6 tea bags per 12 cups water I think. Some websites go as high as 8. What are the parameters high to low on tea amounts? Thanks!

  • Chris

    Hi Jenni! Our book's recipe should be 6 tea bags per 16 cups (1 gallon). Many years ago I used to brew with as much tea as you would use to serve 16 people a cup of tea - which would mean 48 grams per gallon (whoa!). So yes, you can go higher, just how far is up to you.

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