Are There Different Types of Kombucha and Cultures – The Renegade Health Show #524

Friday Mar 12 | BY |
| Comments (53)

We’re at Expo West and I’ve been meeting some awesome people…

Today, I want to bring you Steve Dickman, the co-founder of High Country Kombucha.

Steve pulled me aside at the Expo here when I was at the booth and gave me a special blend that isn’t in stores (and most likely won’t ever be).

It was amazing… it was filled with herbs, shilajit, honey and more.

He’s a true formulator and innovator. He also knows his stuff when it comes to kombucha.

Check it out…

Your question of the day: What kombucha flavor do you want to see / drink?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave your comments now!

To check out the High Country Kombucha site, please click here…

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. I want to drink a lavender mint kombucha! I LOVE kombucha and I really like the High Country ginger flavor. 🙂

  2. RJ says:

    “High Country Kombucha” is very good stuff and I appreciate the lovely brown bottle used to market it. I took a class at my local food market and learned how to make kombucha at home. It’s much more cost effective (for me)…I save the High Country bottles for my home brew containers. Love brewing it and I always use lovely organic ginger in my recipe. Here’s a site for anyone interested in scrolling down for even more info on kombucha.
    Thanks for the great interview,hope you and Annmarie bring us lots more good info from the Expo. Dang, wish I could attend.

  3. john says:

    I am not all that familiar with Kombucha although I have heard of this herb. Thankyou Steve ,you are well Gifted to have very good communication skills and are well articulated when you speak and appear to know your subject matter.May God Bless you to Bless others.Thankyou. And Thankyou Kevin.

  4. Jasmine says:


  5. Jasmine says:

    apple-cider kombucha

  6. Jasmine says:

    pumpkin pie spice kombucha


  7. Jasmine says:

    rosemary-oolong kombucha

  8. Jasmine says:

    ok, i’m done.

  9. taylor says:

    horsetail,rosehips and chaga

    nettles, reshi and hibicus

    red clover, oatstraw and lemongrass

    or any healing herbal blends…

  10. Ann Teas says:

    We love to make Kombucha – loved your interview!! We have experimented with honey and agree that sugarcane makes a better Kombucha (in our experience!) Maybe we’ll try making a Cacao flavored Kombucha next – do you think High Country would make one??

    Portland, Maine

  11. Betoman says:

    Ginger and lemon!


    Can you use a fresh bottle of kombu to start your own and if so, how?

  12. Sarah says:

    I love High Country kombucha. I have tried several brands including my own homemade but I have to say High Country is the best I have ever tried. I think my favorite would be the root beer flavor. Great job, Steve, for creating this fabulous product.

  13. Pam Dummitt says:

    I want to get on the kombucha bandwagon, and this brand sounds like the best, but I am really having a hard time justifying the origins being from caffeine and sugar.
    Can you help me understand the transformation of something from stuff we normally avoid to something that transforms our systems in a positive way? I mean, can the good stuff really be created from the not so good stuff?
    Bacteria are amazing little things, maybe I am overthinking.

  14. Satori says:

    Hi Kevin and everyone,

    I happened to have my very first kombucha today from the nearby wholefoods. The flavor of the kombucha was “multi-green” and the color is deep green.

    It tasted plain disgusting. It tastes like the mixture of watered down unsweetened apple cider vinegar + cholera powder + beer.

    Is kombucha always tastes like this? I mean the vinegar-ish beer taste. Or just the flavor I bought was not good.

    Please let me know so that I can decide whether I should give kombucha another try or not.


  15. Brian says:


    I want to know if all the sugar is transformed by the fermentation so there is no long ANY in kombucha.

    Second, if one uses a good fruit juice such as pomegranite to make kombucha is ALL the fructose sugar eaten up by the microbes leaving only the positive micronutrients, minterals, etc

    Third, I want to know where we can acquire the strain Steve is using at High Country or can we simply use a bottle of High Country as a starter and grow from there?

    I ask these questions because much of literature I’ve read does not recommend Kombucha because of its sugar content.


  16. Bev says:

    Started making and selling Kombucha Manna Kombucha tea back in 1994 and then specialized in making Kombucha Manna Drops since 2000, from the same original Kombucha lineage.

    I totally agree with using Fair Trade and Certified Organic and bottling in glass for the best health benefits. Glad Steve is doing that too.

    Kombucha Manna Drops
    Manna Green & White Tea Extract
    100% Organic packaged in Glass

    Over 4,000 people worldwide share information and experiences brewing Kombucha and Kombucha starts on our Original Kombucha list:

    Peace, Love and Harmony,

  17. Bev says:

    Unflavored Kombucha should taste similar to sparkling apple cider. Delicious!

  18. Bev says:

    For lots more information about Kombucha check out the Kombucha Center and FAQ which includes an online book about Kombucha called “Kombucha Unveiled”, numerous articles and links.

    The Kombucha Center and FAQ
    Kombucha Sources, Articles, Recipes

  19. Willemina says:

    We really appreciate learning about exciting
    uncommon and esoteric herbs like Kombucha,but
    come on …….ask us a little more inclusive, realistic question like……
    “Have you ever tried this stuff?” or maybe even…. Name
    5 words that rhyme with Kombucha.
    I’m predicting right here-right now that the
    number of Friday night comments tonight will hit an all-time record low,unless the question of the day is changed by proxy.
    Come on RHS family.What question have you always wanted to ask on a Frday night ?

  20. Angelique says:

    Lavender Lemon sounds like a good flavor to me.

    Pam: there’s a video on Daniel Vitalis’ site that explains that kombucha doesn’t have to be made with caffeine and can use more natural forms of sugar.

    Satori: I tried a green one once that was awful too. You might want to try again with just a plain one, grape (my favorite), berry, or ginger flavor.

  21. RJ says:

    A Curious Friday Night Question:

    How many of you think Kombucha is an herb and how do you think one comes to that conclusion? 🙂
    Will the real Kombucha please stand up? 🙂

  22. Willemina says:

    Great Question ! Duh !

  23. Sophia says:

    I’d like to see the maqui flavor that
    Steve was talking about!

  24. RJ says:

    To Willemina…

    Kombucha truly is a great drink one can make, however the scoby (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) can be difficult for some adults to work with. One can witness that fact by veiwing the following brave child as she meets the “real kombucha mother” 🙂
    Hope everyone has a great weekend!
    Long Live Kombucha! 🙂

  25. Charlotte says:

    I love Kombucha! it’s a little pricey though so I don’t have it often.
    Really good interview! I was wondering which brand was the best

  26. Sharon says:

    I used to make my own kombucha. I can’t really imagine it being flavored. It tasted great all its own. All I ever drank was one or two ounces a day. What else is in it when it’s bottled? Doesn’t it have to be pasteurized (from a legal standpoint) to bottle it which would kill off all the good stuff? I’m confused. Will look on the website I guess!

  27. Laura says:

    I’ve never tried it. I’ve been afraid to for some odd reason.
    But, if I find High Country, I’ll give it a try.
    I like the idea of a ginger and lime blend for a flavor.
    Have fun at the show!

  28. Joel Saenz says:

    I like GTS’ Multi-Green. It has algae but I would like to some more herbs like cilantro or rosemary. If they don’t have it already they should offer different herbal elixirs based on different ailments one might have. I was also wondering, Kevin, if you guys were going to make it to the Health Freedom Expo this month in Long Beach.

  29. Jamie Koonce says:

    I would like to see a kombucha made with manduka honey instead of cane sugar, plus the addition of the following combination of herbs: red ginseng, bupleurum, astragalus, atractylodes, licorice, cimicifugae, citrus peel, ginger, jujube, shizandra, and cordyceps.

  30. Jamie Koonce says:

    Correction: I meant MANUKA honey — not manduka (as in the yoga mat company) 🙂

  31. Val Jacobson says:

    Check out Aronia Berries (Also known as Choke Cherries) for a high-antioxidant food! It grows well in the US. Steve Blazer grows it in Denver, MO. I’ve been making Aronia Berry Honey Lemon “ice Cream” (with sprouted sunflower seeds for the “cream”) and whole vanilla bean, nut meg and star anise for a little spice and aroma.) I wonder what a Aronia Berry-Vanilla-Lemon, Kombucha would be like? i know it would yield an amazing color. Aronia berries are blackish purple, a little goes a long way and they result is neon-lavender to vivid-violet, depending on how much you use.

    Also, interesting the talk on honey vs. sugar cane. I reject products made with sugar cain for environmental reasons. Honey is much more sustainable and readily avialable in the US –smaller carbon footprint. If you made a honey-based Kombucha, I would buy it. i used to buy your Saffafras flavor, Wild Root. But stopped when i found out about the sugar cane. Don’t want to support that.

    I have a concern about aluminum alloy being used as material in the vats. Is that true?

    Love it that you use spring water!

    -Val Rae Jacobson
    Living Foods Chef and Kitchen Coach

  32. Satori says:

    OMG Joel Saenz, that’s exactly what I got today. Wow, so some people do like the taste! I’ll give another try for kombucha..maybe just no extra flavoring…

    For the Health freedom Expo…I wonder if we just sit there and listen to speakers the entire time? It seems they have a lot of guest speakers in the event.

  33. Satori says:

    But, gosh, Ed Begley, Jr is coming to the Health Freedom expo too!

  34. Sakurako says:

    Straight kombucha and ume?flavored?Kombucha?are?popular in Japan.I like dressing cucumber with Kombucha.

  35. Sakurako says:

    An ume is Japanese plum. It is sour.

  36. alex says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Please do a video about how to get enough vitamin D on a vegan diet.I live in finland and we have very little sunlight.I am worried about being deficient in vitamin D. How much do we need daily?What is the best form , I am not really into synthetic supplements but I will if necessary.
    How do you get your vitamin D?


  37. So happy to see all the kombucha chat & the viedo. The “real komnucha mother” was priceless! I’ve wanted to make my own for years but I keep backing out. I even bought a nice glass sun tea jar a while back, and then gave it away (for some dumb reason). I love kombucha, but cannot afford to buy it all the time. However, I am so afraid of a home made batch going bad (bacteria and mold..uuugg) and making myself sick! I too would like to know if I can make a batch by using a bottled brand such as High Country (love it) as a starter to make my own?

  38. Francheska says:

    OK, I don’t get the Kombucha crazy either.
    I have tried 3 different ones and they
    all tasted like what that person said above


    It was not sweet at all. I think if I poured Bud Light in my raw apple cider vinegar it would even taste better. They all gave me
    horrible indegestion and made me sick to my tummy.

    I heard if the drink tastes sweet it wasn’t even made right because the culture is to eat up all the sugar.

    It was not refreshing at all and me me more thirsty. Just go drink your raw apple cider vineger. It’s better for you it not much different. For kicks put in a flavoring essence with no sweetners at all. Has this world lost it’s mind? 🙂

  39. healthEfairy says:

    Pressed Ginger juice and nothing else. I think the ginger balances out the vinegary taste. Love the carbonation!

  40. Tamikko says:

    I would love to try Kombucha and make it myself. I’d love anything with vanilla, like cherry/vanilla and anything with ginger. Yummy! Chai sounds amazing; that’s my favorite tea 🙂

  41. Donna says:

    I’ve been brewing kombucha for years now…always ginger flavored. This way I can afford to drink two bottles(reused high country bottles) a day.

  42. Jenna says:

    Hi Kevin & Annmarie,

    I have been watching the videos for a while now and am trying to get into the more healthy side of living, including eating more raw foods. I am a big fan of fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. so hopefully it will be a painless transition.

    The reason I’m commenting is because I’m enjoying a delicious Larabar on my lunch break at work and thought I’d bring it up to you. I don’t know if you’ve had them before or have even heard of them, but I happen to adore them. They are raw food bars that have no gluten, dairy or soy. They are vegan/kosher, all the good stuff! The one I am eating now is peanut butter cookie, with ingredients of: dates, peanuts, salt. That’s it! I know salt isn’t the best thing in the world, but considering there are only three ingredients, I find it to be better than most snacks you can buy in a packaged form.

    If you guys haven’t looked into these before, I suggest that you give them a try.

    Best in health,

  43. PE says:

    A new, locally sourced ‘product’ (to speak like an MBA) could be made from fermented green or white tea, which as a Camellia should grow in many parts of California and elsewhere. Kombucha is fermented black tea, itself a bit aged– and Ann Wigmore distrusted twice-fermented things, if you trust her intuition.
    Try it with various honeys or fruit. Kombucha with green tea and manuka honey? Grapes? Wine is a sweet fruit fermented.
    Will some entrepreneur develop this for her/his neighbors, and will a multinational in the end buy the rights and sell it world-wide, suing local producers for violating ‘private’ property? Not if this email remains on the web, and not if people buy locally as much as possible.

  44. Michael T. says:

    Sure, kombucha tastes vinegary, but there is no rule saying you must drink it by itself!

    I would mix it with sweet fruit juice or add some to a smoothie, to reduce the sour taste.

    I think lemon or lime with ginger would be nice. People are used to the sour taste of lemons and limes, so it would meet their expectations of flavor.

    Also, turmeric juice would be good, as it is really good for you, and would provide a nice yellow color.

    Perhaps a “master cleanser” version could be made with honey or maple syrup, lemon and cayenne and a little salt. Oh no, salt! Run away, run away! (smile)

    Thanks for a delightful interview. Sounds like the best kombucha available.

    Michael T.

  45. Lila says:

    Kombucha is absolutely the best drink ever!! I recently started making my own and have been very happy with it!! It is a great healthy habit. I change flavors with every batch. I have also attended a special class on making kombucha and learned a few tricks. Happy kombucha drinking to all!!

  46. Roxie says:

    Love your show. I have important questions and I need answers!

    1. I recently heard that a Dr. Michael Greger claimed in a DVD and other materials that spirulina is bad for you, dissolves muscle from within, has neurotoxins, etc. See him saying this, for example, here: – Where is this coming from? What do you have to say about this?

    2. Some claim e3Live is the best blue-green Klamath algae out there. Others say it is harvested from a lake that many migratory bird travel over, and this contaminates the water, and therefore they have to flash freeze it which kills enzymes. Perhaps this is a new awareness. What do you think???

    3. Please comment and talk about the worries about sea vegetables and contamination w/ heavy metals and other pollution.

    4. Also, please talk about getting your daily zinc requirements with raw vegan food.

    Love your show and energy so much, please answer these questions as soon as possible, I’m SO curious! Thank you!

  47. Nick says:

    I like kombucha’s flavour (“original”, as they say). The problem I’ve found with commercial Kombuchas is sweet sells & alcohol is verboten (forbidden). It tastes to me like they stop the process short of full consumption of the sugar, so then it doesn’t reach full ferment, short of turning to vinegar. So I like Kombucha dry & as is. Its taste is great, stands alone by itself just fine, is not at all like soy, standing empty like a blank slate, begging for some, any colour, flavour. This is what I found from making Kombucha myself, back when it became popular in the 90’s. I just recently got a new mother, so to speak, and look fwd to getting back in swing, as again, finally, it’ll be easy to find new homes for the daughters

  48. Pat G. says:

    The sugar piece scares me…

  49. Pat G. says:

    I love reading the range of knowledge that shows up here. Thanks, all, and thanks, Kevin.

    A co-worker offered to give me his offspring of a kombucha mushroom and claimed that it made him feel terrific. That was in 1993. The idea of feeding it white sugar was a turn off…. 🙁

  50. Jean says:

    Kevin you really need to talk with the people of Essential Living Foods. They have changed the area where they get their raw cacao powder. They are getting it from Indonesia now. They appoligize for what happen with the non raw they were getting. Call them Kev it is Raw stuff now. After ordering 2000 dollars worth from them I then herd you the other day say it was not raw cacao and had to call them to see what was up and they explained everything.

  51. Heather says:

    I mostly favor antioxidant rich berry notes for flavors. Maybe an orange dreamsicle flavor would be nice when I’m in a summery mood, with notes of vanilla and possibly a hint of coconut?

    I wonder if anyone else has successfully cultured kombucha with green, white, or yerba mate teas long term? A book I am reading recommended using only black tea with no fruits(because of oils) while culturing.

    I took some GT Berrybliss Kombucha, white pomegranate tea, green tea, Bragg’s apple cider vinegar and sugar and cultured it in a mason jar for almost 2 weeks…it tasted like VERY sour vinegar. I mean it had super duper PUCKER power. Then afterwards, this book I am reading explained I did a whole lot of things culturally ‘dangerously’. Fortunately, I drank it and survived. The second batch was ‘dangerously’ culturing when I read that, and then that batch turned out too powdery mildewy on the top of the cellulose, so I dumped it out and bought more.

  52. Okay, I did it; I created two SCOBYs!!!! I used High Country Kombucha, which I love! I started them just after my post above, that was less than two weeks ago, and they already look like layers of white bubbly wax! They are awesome. I’m going to give them at least another week before I make my first batch. I want to make sure they are thick enough to prevent damange when I have to handle them for the move to “the big jar” 🙂 I never thought that I would be so excited over yeast and bacteria… ewwww. Anyway, tips, comments, all would be appreciated… Peace

  53. Jesse says:

    The Origional High Country only has 8 g. of sugar a whole bottle. I drank half of it and did NOT get the BUZZED feeling like drinking other store bought Kumbuchas. Colorado Love.

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