Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from a sweetened tea. This drink has been around for hundreds of years and has countless health benefits. I’ve been hooked on this stuff since I first tried it last April at a local organic restaurant.
Drink it for the following reasons –
~ it is fermented. This means that it is super good for your gut! Kombucha provides you with a variety of microorganisms which help to increase the amount of good bacteria in your gut. This promotes better digestion and a stronger immunity.
~ it can help you cut down (or cut out) alcohol and soft drink. Instead of that evening beer or lunchtime cola hit, drink a glass of kombucha to quench your cravings and feel awesome. Replace the guilt with goodness people!
Make your own for the following reasons –
~ once you taste it, you are going to want it whenever you like!
~ as with most amazingly good-for-you health beverages, it can be a little pricey so save money by making your own. I believe it costs me around $1 for every litre of Kombucha I make myself. In a health food store it costs between $12 and $15 for a litre equivalent.
~ it only takes about 20mins once a week to keep the Kombucha supply flowing!
How do I make it?
I have watched videos, looked at recipes and seen demonstrations and have adapted them all to find that the following ratios, quantities and method work for me. Do your research and experiment to find what the right balance is for you. In the meantime – this is a good way to start!
Ingredients - green and black tea, filtered water, organic, raw sugar…
A scoby – a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. It is a slimy looking thing similar to calamari in texture.
What I make is enough for two 3L jars of brew. Please adjust accordingly.
Make the sweet tea
1. Bring 3 litres of water to the boil. Dissolve 1 ½ cups of sugar into the water. Note – I am using 2 separate pots so have split the quantities up.
WAIT! Don’t stop reading just because I mentioned I was pouring cups of sugar into the pot! When I found out that sugar was the main ingredient in kombucha, I was worried. Then I read more about it. This response to sugar worries on the Buchi website explains it perfectly -
We get asked about sugar a lot! All authentic Kombucha is made from a base of tea, water and sugar. Most of the sugars are consumed by the probiotics during the culturing process prior to the bottling. Without the sugar in kombucha, there is no fermentation, and without fermentation, there’s no good nourishing acids and enzymes for your body. It’s also worth noting that many people find that when they drink Kombucha over a period of time their sugar cravings diminish and that ‘tart’ taste of the Kombucha dissipates and becomes more natural to the palate. This has to do with Kombucha alkalinizing the blood and regulating insulin levels.
So don’t stress – the sugar is food for the scoby. By the time it gets to you it has been converted into goodies for the gut!
2. Place 5 green tea bags and 5 black tea bags into the sugar water. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
3. Strain out tea bags and let the tea sit and cool to room temperature. This will take a few hours so make sure you are making it when you have enough time.
If you already have a brew going……. (if you don’t, go to step 7)
4. Carefully lift out the scoby of the previously made brew which has been fermenting and place it in a clean, glass dish.
5. Pour kombucha into bottles and add in any flavours you like before placing the cap tightly on. I like it plain, but occasionally put in a dash of organic grape juice or fresh lime juice in.
6. Leave about 10% of brew in the bottom of each jar. This helps to kick-start the fermentation process when you add the sweet tea and scoby. (go to step 8).
If you don’t have a brew……
So most likely if you are reading this, you don’t already have a brew going. Well as long as you have a scoby, and the sweet tea – you’re fine, you just need some liquid from the brew that your scoby came from or alternatively you can use some organic apple cider vinegar.
7. Fill about a tenth of your jar with apple cider vinegar or fermented brew.
8. If your tea has completely cooled to room temperature, then pour it into your jars and top them off with filtered water. Ensure the liquid is all mixed.
9. Gently, with clean hands (not washed with soap! Rinse with ACV) lower your scoby back into the jar. If it floats sideways, or sinks don’t worry. It will move around a little before settling on the top.
10. Place a cloth or paper towel over the top and secure with a rubber band. This is to stop little flies getting in when they pick up the scent of the sweet tea!
11. Store the jars in a dark place where they won’t be disturbed. I keep mine in the laundry cupboard. Fermentation process number one has begun!
12. After seven days, taste the tea. If it is very sweet, leave it for longer. If it is really tangy and vinegary, it may have been left too long. It should have an appealing taste – not too sweet, not too vinegary. It is up to your particular taste. This first stage of fermentation depends on your climate and house temperature. On the Gold Coast in Australia right now it is summer and has been hitting between 25 – 32 degrees the last few months. So a seven day brew has been perfect for these conditions. In the winter I may have to leave it for 10 – 13 days. Basically, the warmer the conditions, the shorter the brew time.
13. The second fermentation process begins after bottling as outlined above. I leave the bottles for 7 days also. The longer left – the bigger chance of fizz, but also the higher risk of explosion! I find that 7 days is good for flavours and producing a good amount of fizz. I have left it for 14 days before too, and that was also good.
14. Refrigerate the bottles, patiently for them to become chilly, then serve and enjoy!
Where to get everything –
Tea – make sure it is organic so check out health food stores. Green or Black is best. You don’t want anything that has oils in it so be careful if choosing flavoured varieties of tea.
Pureau Water – I don’t have a filter on my tap (nor do I trust that one will be good enough to get out all the nasties from the water) so I buy 10L casks of this water each week. I want the best water for my brews! I’m sure filtered water will be fine though.
Sugar – I’ve used Coles raw organic sugar and Absolute Organic raw sugar. Both have been fine. Remember the sugar is for the scoby – not for you!
Scoby – ask around health food stores in your area. They may know someone who brews and will have a scoby to give or sell. I bought my first one from a local lady who advertised them on Gumtree! You can buy dehydrated versions with instructions on how to rehydrate. I’ve never tried this.
UPDATE August 2015 – Buchi sells the scobies at Gold Coast Turf Club Markets and Burleigh Farmers Markets.
Glass mason jars – the ones I use are 4L jars bought from the Reject Store. $4 each.
Bottles – I re-use Buchi bottles I have. You can use any glass bottle with a secure, screw-top lid.
Buchi Australia – have their own brewery in Brisbane where they create all their own unique flavourings of Kombucha. They also run fantastic brewing tours and demonstrations.
YouTube – watch videos! Just take note the brewing times they recommend may have to be altered. Here is one that I like –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8Y1uxexWfQ
I’d love to hear from anyone who gives this a go! If you have any further questions, comment below or send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org