How to make Guayusa kombucha

Picture of homemade Guayusa kombucha

Guayusa, itself, is a remarkable plant that makes an incredible, energising tea. If you've not tried it solo yet, check out our products page for what's currently in stock.

You may also know that beyond a hot drink, it can also be found in cans and bottles where it’s challenging brands like Red Bull and Monster with its clean, functional plant-based caffeine energy and sustainable production methods. You can learn more about Guayusa here.

But, did you know, Guayusa can also be made to make kombucha? Lots of people are now incorporating it into their kombucha brews - either combined with regular tea, or purely on its own.

What is kombucha?

While a fairly new drink on the high street, kombucha has seen a rapid rise in popularity over the last couple of years.

So, what is kombucha? We guess the simplest way to describe it is to say it’s a living, fizzy, fermented tea drink, which is made from a surprisingly simple set of ingredients and equipment:

  1. SCOBY
  2. Starter liquid*
  3. Water
  4. Cane sugar
  5. Tea (regular teas or indeed, Guayusa!)
  6. Large glass jar (food grade)
  7. Plastic funnel, sieve, and stirrer (food grade - avoid any use of metals as it can ruin the fermentation process)
  8. Cheese cloth and elastic band

*If you buy a SCOBY starter kit, it will come with a SCOBY in the starter liquid in the same pack

Kombucha's origins can be traced back to around 2,000 years ago, in countries such as Japan, China and Tibet. It gained a lot of popularity in the USA over the last few years and the trend has caught on in the UK and EU.

We don't need to explain what water, tea and sugar are - but it's possible you may not be aware of what a SCOBY or 'starter liquid' is.

'SCOBY' is an acronym, which stands for 'Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast'. The starter liquid is essential because it has a high quantity of the friendly bacteria as well as the right amount of acid which produces a good environment for your first, and future kombucha batches.

When you first a SCOBY it can look a bit freaky - it's usually disc-shaped and is slippery and rubbery in texture. When you make your kombucha, it usually floats on top and creates a natural seal as it grows.

The drink itself, has a sweet, tart and tangy taste that fully wakes up your taste buds. It can be drunk natural, or mixed with pretty much anything else to make fruit flavoured. Popular flavoured kombucha includes things like ginger, lemon, passion fruit, raspberry, strawberry or blueberry. You can even add basil, or fig leaves and even some mild spices.

It’s also famed for how beneficial it is for the gut, as it’s full of friendly, living bacteria.

We were really stoked when our friend Adam Vanni from JARR Kombucha recently featured our Guayusa when doing an online kombucha tutorial for All Hail Kale.

Check out the tutorial video below:

There’s loads of recipes online, so have a search and get creating!

Our Guayusa kombucha experience

About a year ago, we had fully caught the kombucha bug and made a bunch of our own and it was a great success. We followed the same method as Adam demonstrates in the video above - the only difference being we used a SCOBY starter kit instead of the apple cider vinegar (that contains the bacteria 'the mother') which is used in the video - either will work, though!

The photo below shows our secondary fermentation in smaller bottles (where we added things like ginger, mango and passion fruit). They all tasted great and we really urge you to try it out.

Our Guayusa kombucha experiment

Safety tips

Before you rush to get started making your kombucha, just a few words to mention on safety during your production.

  • Make sure everything you use is freshly cleaned
  • Make sure the glass and plastics you use are 'food grade'
  • Don't use chlorinated water
  • Don't use sweeteners, only cane-sugar
  • Organic teas our best - and the higher quality the better (our Guayusa is organic!)
  • In terms of starter liquids for future batches, take them from the top of the last batch
  • Ensure the cover on top is sealed tightly to keep dust, insects or other contaminants out
  • Keep the temperature in the fermentation area between 21°C to 30°C 
  • Watch out for mould - if you see any on the SCOBY or in the liquid, throw it away

We hope you enjoy your experiments and feel free to share your pics with us on out Twitter, Instagram or Facebook pages - we'd love to see what you get up to!