A little about kombucha, according to whatiskombucha.com:
Kombucha is a tea-based beverage that is often drunk for its health benefits or medicinal purposes. Kombucha is a living health drink made by fermenting tea and sugar with the Kombucha culture. The result can taste like something between sparkling apple cider and champagne, depending on what kind of tea you use.
The first recorded use of kombucha comes from China in 221 BC during the Tsin Dynasty. It was known as “The Tea of Immortality”. Kombucha tea has been reported to be a cure-all for a wide range of conditions including baldness, insomnia, intestinal disorders, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, and cancer.
Supporters say that Kombucha tea can boost the immune system and reverse the aging process. Kombucha tea is said to contain antioxidants, compounds that block the action of free radicals (activated oxygen molecules that can damage cells). For people who have cancer, proponents claim the tea can improve the body’s defenses (especially in the early stages of cancer) by detoxifying the body and enhancing the immune system. After the body has been detoxified, the tea is said to help repair and balance the body and fight off disease. In rats it’s been shown to protect against stress and improve liver function.
Kombucha is available commercially and can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria which forms the kombucha culture which is often referred to as the “mushroom” or the “mother”.
I don't know about all the cure-all benefits but I do know how it makes me feel and that is nothing short of awesome! I no longer have coffee in the morning but have 2 glasses of kombucha (please do not start drinking that amount from the get-go, start with 3 oz and work your way up - your digestive tract will thank you!). I have more energy than I ever thought possible. I'm getting more accomplished in day than I ever thought I could. I feel, for a lack of a better word, cleaner. Meaning, my body seems to be functioning better. Workouts at the gym feel like nothing. I'm making weight gains lifting every few days. My joints feel like they've been lubed up and oiled. I'm stretching as part of my gym routine but I seem to be getting more flexible than I have been in years.
|Brewed tea with sugar cooling on the counter|
- I make mine in 1 gallon glass jars. Be very careful about using ceramic or any other kind of reactive container as the acidity of the tea will leach nasties into your drink. For 1 gallon of kombucha, boil approximately 1 gallon of filtered water in a stock pot and add one ounce of loose tea or about 10-12 bags of your tea of choice. My favourite is jasmine green tea. Let it steep for about 15 minutes or so.
- With a fine mesh colander, remove the tea while transferring the liquid to your vessel of choice.
- Add one cup of sugar to the brewed tea. Any type works, I just use a white sugar. Make sure you are using sugar cane though and not sugar from sugar beets as this is a GMO. Stir until dissolved.
- Let the tea sit and cool to room temperature. The next step is to add the scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) and if you add it too soon, you could kill it. You can get a scoby (also known as a kombucha mushroom or mother) online or from a friend who brews. I got my starter kit from Oregon Kombucha on Amazon.
- Make sure that the tea is room temperature and, with clean hands, add the scoby and one cup of kombucha from the previous batch. If you have a starter kit, the scoby will be swimming in kombucha, just add the entire contents to your sweet tea.
- Put a clean tea towel over the mouth of your vessel and secure with string or elastic. This will keep out dust and bugs while enabling your scoby to breathe.
- Store it in a dark cabinet/area for anywhere between 7-25 days. Start tasting after 7 days, the drink will be sweeter as the scoby will not have consumed all the sugar. Just keep tasting everyday until the flavour is perfect for you. I personally love a 15 day ferment, slightly sweet with a vinegar/acid tang.
- Once it's ready, remove your scobys (there will be 2 now because a "baby" would have formed during the ferment) and put put them, along with 1 cup of kombucha, in a large bowl (these are ready to go for your next batch). You can bottle your bucha and start drinking right away or you can store it in the fridge for an extra 2 days for a secondary ferment which will produce more carbonation. When you transfer it to covered bottles/containers, this is also the time to add flavourings if you like. One of my favourites is lemon and ginger juice.
- And repeat until the end of time!!
Enjoy this fabulous drink!!