Have you jumped on the Kombucha bandwagon yet? For me, I was a little late, but once I tried it I fell in love. Once I got to the point where it was burning a deep hole in my pocket, I decided that it was a good time to learn how to brew my own.
Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been around for centuries and used traditionally for medicinal purposes. In fact, the Chinese referred to it as the “Immortal Health Elixir.” A cousin of Apple Cider Vinegar, Kombucha has a variety of health benefits:
This is critical if you have a highly acidic diet (meat, fish, dairy, soda, etc.). Acidic bodies are more susceptible to ailments including cancer. Kombucha helps to alkalize the body and return it to a state of balance.
Kombucha is fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, making it a probiotic beverage.
Containing glucosamine, Kombucha is a strong preventive treatment for all forms of arthritis.
Immune and Energy Boosting
The anti-oxidants in Kombucha boost your immune system and energy levels.
So with no further adieu… let’s brew!
1 SCOBY (you can buy your SCOBY here)
1 Cup of Starter Tea (included with your SCOBY)
½ Cup of Plain White Cane Sugar
4 Black Tea Bags (no oil)
6-7 Cups of Filtered Water
1 Cup of Raspberries and Blueberries (frozen or fresh)
1 Glass Jar (half-gallon)
1 Pot/Kettle (large enough to hold 6-7)
Measuring Cups (for liquid and solid)
1 Rubber Band
1 Paper Towel or Coffee Filter
Plastic/Wooden Stirring Utensils
Additional But Not Necessary:
1 Plastic Strainer
1 Plastic/Rubber Funne
ph strips (your local pharmacy should have them)
NOTES BEFORE GETTING STARTED:
· So what is a SCOBY exactly? SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. During the fermentation process, your SCOBY (mother) will grow an “offspring” so to speak. So after you’re done, you will have two SCOBYs. Most people who homebrew freely share their SCOBY additions. If you know someone who does, they tend to be more than willing to share. Otherwise, Kombucha Brooklyn along with other Kombucha companies sell starter kits online that include the SCOBY and Starter tea that will be required for your batch.
· Hygiene is of grave importance when brewing Kombucha. Your SCOBY is living bacteria. If it comes in contact with other bacteria, you could risk killing it. With that being said, make sure all utensils and hands are cleaned before getting started. Anything that physically comes in contact with your SCOBY should be cleaned with hot water and apple cider vinegar. Rinse very well. Antibacterial soap will also kill your Kombucha. Just a note.
· Keep SCOBY away from metal – utensils, pots, etc.
· First, heat the water, adding the 4 tea bags and sugar.
The water does not have to come to a boil, but you do want to make sure it is hot enough to dissolve the sugar and steep the tea
DO NOT HEAT WATER IN MICROWAVE – it will zap the nutrients out of your water
· Let steep for 10 minutes.
For stronger tea, leave the tea bags in longer
· Once the now sweetened tea has cooled to room temperature, pour the tea into your glass jar.
Hot water will kill your SCOBY so it is important that you make sure the tea is no warmer than room temperature
· Add the SCOBY and starter tea
When handling the SCOBY, make sure your hands are clean – clean with hot water or apple cider vinegar
Best choice - use a wooden/plastic stirrer for this.
· Cover the jar with your paper towel or coffee filter, securing with the rubber band
In order to ferment, your SCOBY needs to breathe, but the smell does attract fruit flies. A paper towel has been more than adequate for me
· Store your brew some place warm (I use my pantry) and out of direct sunlight
Choose a spot with an ambient temperature between 70 and 80 degrees
A room that is too hot or too cold could disrupt the fermentation process
Do not disturb – moving the jar frequently could disrupt the batch
Now we wait. Given your brew ferments at the appropriate temperature with sufficient oxygen and surface area, your Kombucha should be ready after 5-7 days. Note: You can let your brew ferment for longer. I’ve let mine ferment for a month. The longer it ferments, the less sweet it will be. I like mine strong.
After 5-7 days, you will notice that a layer of film has developed on the surface of the liquid (that is your baby SCOBY). You can recycle this SCOBY - using it for compost or giving it to a friend to start a new batch. It can take longer before it's ready to consume. You'll want to get ph strips to test the acidity level
· You can now pour your Kombucha into glass jars or bottles for serving. At this point you will add your raspberries and blueberries to your bottles or jars for flavoring.
· This is an additional step if you like your Kombucha with a little fizz. Place Kombucha with fruit juice seat for up to three days in an air-tight container at room temperature. This is the second fermentation period. Done successfully, you will notice a slight fizz upon opening sealed jars after day 2 or 3 of the second fermentation depending on the temperature of the room. The warmer it is (try not to go above 80 degrees), the shorter the time it is to ferment. Some people drink their Kombucha with fruit still in it. Some prefer to remove the fruit.
· Keep refrigerated. If stored in an airtight container, be cautious when opening container because the contents are most likely under pressure.
And That’s It!
Kombucha can be consumed once a day for maintenance or up to three times a day if you are fighting an illness. I like to drink it at special occasions. Take fore example; I drank Kombucha as a healthier alternative to champagne to bring in the New Year. So, bottoms up!