Kombucha is a 2000 year old fermented probiotic tea.
It’s beneficial to digestive health, helping to balance the good and the bad bacteria within the gut. It helps the body to lessen it’s toxic load by supporting the liver and boasting the immune system. It is also thought to support the joints, helps with PMS, increases metabolism, is packed full of B vitamins and plenty of enzymes, supports auto-immune conditions and increases energy levels.
When left to second-ferment gets fizzy and can resemble champagne. It’s tasty, especially if you use a flavoured green tea like jasmine, as I do.
You will need to obtain a scoby/mother/mushroom (some of the many names for the same culture/bacteria starter for your probiotic tea) , which should come with a small amount of kombucha tea to start you off. You can get these from sellers on ebay, fermenting forums online and fermenting groups on Facebook etc.
Make a jar (1 litre) of tea in the usual way…WITHOUT MILK
Boil your kettle of water, pour over a teabag add 4 tablespoons of organic sugar.
Once the tea bag has brewed for 10 minutes, remove it and allow to cool to room temperature. Place the scoby with starter tea and your freshly brewed but cooled tea all in a mason jar. Cover your jar with some muslin and secure with an elastic band.
Place jar in a cool, dry place, like a cupboard or on your kitchen side, but away from sunlight.
Leave your kombucha to brew for 7 to 10 days (depending on your taste preference). During this time your kombucha mushroom will grow a baby kombucha mushroom which will look like a clear jelly over the original mushroom piece.
After 7 – 10 days pour around 700ml of your kombucha tea out of your jar and bottle for either second fermenting or to drink as it is. Be careful not to pour out your kombucha scobys (you should now have two).
Top up the jar of kombucha tea with fresh, cooled brewed tea as above and start the process again.
This is when after bottling your drink, you allow it to still for a further 2-5 days (ideally in the fridge to stop it from becoming more sour). The end result is a bubbly champagne-like refreshing drink. Other ingredients such as ginger root, lemon or other fruit can be added at this stage. These items can be added by cutting them into small pieces or by juicing them then pouring the juice in with the kombucha tea, which is my preferred method.
What I have learnt:
- The longer your kombucha brews the more vinegary it becomes (and indeed will turn to vinegar eventually).
- Every time you change your kombucha tea, a new baby scoby forms (find friends to give these two).
- Decaffeinated tea and different types of sugar can be used, although the tannins really are needed for good kombucha tea.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners and honey while fermenting as these can reduce the potency of the culture.
- You can dehydrate your extra scobys and make sweets from them.
Do you make your own Kombucha tea? If so what’s your favourite flavour?
Here’s some links to some more information on Kombucha:
Food Renegade: How to Grow a Kombucha Scoby.
Mother Earth News: Health Benefits of Drinking Kombucha Tea.
Seeds of Health: What is Kombucha Tea?