The What, Why and How of Kombucha
Kombucha is a fermented tea made by adding a culture or SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) to a solution of tea, sugar and sometimes fruit juice and other flavorings. It’s often referred to as “mushroom-tea” because during the brewing process the bacteria and yeast grow into a mass that resembles a mushroom cap.
The drink has a slight effervescence and sweet-tart flavor. It often has small remnants of the bacteria mix floating in it, which sounds unappealing but is not much different from finding some sediment in your wine or the healthful sediment referred to as the ‘mother’ in good quality apple cider vinegar.
Due to the fermenting process the tea is rich in probiotics (friendly bacteria) which are extremely beneficial for your gut and your whole body. Some of the health benefits of kombucha include:
- loaded with probiotics for gut health
- fights candida overgrowth
- enhances the absorption of nutrients
- helps reduce bloating
- improves mental clarity
- stabilizes mood
- detoxifies the body
The great thing about kombucha is there are many ways to enjoy it. You can simply flavor it with your favorite fruit or herbs such as freshly grated ginger and turmeric and drink it as a refreshing cold beverage, or it can be incorporated into other delicious treats like these Turkish Delight Kombucha Jellies.
- 3 1/2 quarts filtered water
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 bags black or green tea
- 1-2 cups starter tea from last batch or store-bought kombucha
- 1 SCOBY (Acronym for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast - this is the starter culture)
- 1 gallon glass jar (sterilized)
- A wood stirring utensil (never use metal with your SCOBY)
- Rubber band to secure cloth
- Prepare your sweet tea. Usually 2 tablespoons of loose tea or 8-10 tea bags per gallon of hot water. Add 1 cup of sugar per gallon. This needs to be regular sugar (preferably organic, not honey or rapadura - the SCOBY needs to feed of regular sugar)
- Let your tea cool to room temperature (super important). Hot tea will kill your SCOBY!
- Once your tea is completely cool, prepare your large glass jar with the tea, leaving about 20% room at the top. Pour in previous starter liquid.
- With clean hands, gently place your SCOBY into your tea mixture. It should float.
- Cover the jar with cheesecloth and use the rubber to hold in place.
- Place the mixture in a warm spot in the kitchen (They usually like temperatures of 70-75 degrees F) and no direct light.
- Let sit to ferment for around 7 days, the length will vary on temperature.
- You can taste your kombucha to see if it is done, it should be tart but still slight sweet.
- Pour off your kombucha into glass bottles with airtight lids and store in the refrigerator ready to drink.
- At this stage, it is best to prepare another batch so you can have a continuous ferment going.
- Flavor your kombucha with fresh fruit or a favorite of ours is adding in some freshly grated turmeric and ginger.
Source: Food Matters TV