*Another post to enjoy from Katie of Wellness Mama!
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that has been around for centuries. The high concentration of b-vitamins, digestive enzymes and glucaric acid in kombucha are credited with a variety of health effects, including detoxification, improved digestion, increased liver function and more.
Many Kombucha drinkers also report increased energy from regular consumption. Some studies have even shown that compounds like glucaric acid can help prevent cancer, though the evidence on this is limited. Interestingly, President Reagan reportedly drank kombucha daily as part of his regimen to battle stomach cancer when he was diagnosed in 1987 (He died in 2004 of old age).
Countries around the world, from China to Russia, value Kombucha for its health benefits, though few scientific studies have been done in the US. Despite this, Kombucha has gained popularity, especially in some parts of the country.
Kombucha is now available commercially, though prices range from $3-5 per bottle or more.
Making Kombucha at home is another option, as a gallon of Kombucha can be made at home for a dollar or less and the process is really rather simple.
The culture that creates Kombucha is referred to as a “Mother” or a “SCOBY,” which stands for “Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast.” If you are interested in brewing your own Kombucha, there are several ways to obtain a SCOBY.
How To Find a SCOBY to Brew Kombucha
- If you know someone who already brews Kombucha, ask them if they have an extra you could have. A SCOBY reproduces itself and has a “baby” every batch or two, so often someone who brews Kombucha will have one to pass on.
- You can order a SCOBY from a reputable online source. It will come in a dehydrated state with instructions for how to brew. I’ve gotten one from Cultures for Health, and they also have great tutorial videos on brewing Kombucha.
- Grow your own. I haven’t personally had great success with trying to grow my own, but this tutorial explains the process. You will just need a bottle of organic, unflavored Kombucha.
Finding a SCOBY is often the most difficult part, as the actual making of Kombucha is pretty easy…
How To Brew Kombucha:
You will need:
- A gallon size glass jar
- 1 gallon (or a little less) of brewed sweetened tea, with a ratio of 1 cup organic sugar to 1 gallon of tea – must be cooled t room temperature!
- 1 Kombucha SCOBY or dehydrated SCOBY
- a kitchen towel or coffee filter and a rubber band
[Note: It is very important that all materials and surfaces are very clean and that your hands have been washed before starting this process!]
- Prepare the tea (1 cup organic sugar in 1 gallon of brewed regular tea- decaf is ok too!) Use 3-4 family size tea bags or 8-10 regular size ones.
- Let the tea cool and remove tea bags. Make sure that tea is completely cool before going on to next step.
- Pour the tea into a gallon size glass jar, leaving at least an inch of room at the top.
- Add 1 cup of liquid from a previous batch of Kombucha or from a store bought bottle of plain organic Kombucha.
- Gently place the Kombucha SCOBY at the top of the liquid. It should float, but don’t worry if it doesn’t. Once you have put it in, don’t stick your hands into the tea to get it to float!
- Cover the jar with a coffee filter or towel and secure with a rubber band.
- Place in a warm location (around 70-75 degrees) and let sit from 5-30 days depending on your preference (it will be less sweet and more potent the longer you leave it).
- When it is finished brewing you can store in smaller jars or in another big jar with a lid and repeat the brewing process with the SCOBY to make more batches. Every 1-2 batches, the SCOBY will have a baby that can be used to make other batches or given away.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of making Kombucha, you can do a secondary ferment with grape or apple juice to make a carbonated Kombucha soda that has very little trace sugar left but is carbonated.
This video from Cultures for Health is helpful when first starting off brewing Kombucha.
Ever brewed Kombucha? Grossed out by the SCOBY? What do you think?