fermented

Kombucha

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So you’re curious about the ‘Booch’, huh?

What is Kombucha? 

Kombucha is a lightly effervescent fermented beverage made with sweet tea, sugar, yeast and bacteria – don’t worry it’s the good and helpful kind of bacteria! The bacteria and yeast work together to ferment the tea and in turn produce a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) that usually floats along the top of your brew of tea, it looks sort of like a rubbery disk or mushroom. The yeast ‘eats’ the sugar and the bacteria survives off the tannins of the tea creating a pleasantly tart & refreshing drink!

Kombucha has been around for many centuries but has really gained popularity in the last several years because of its many health benefits. There are no clinical studies yet to back up the health claims although asking any regular Kombucha drinker should confirm its benefits. Some of the bonuses you may experience from drinking kombucha are increased energy, digestive aid, gentle detoxification, weight loss, reduced joint pain and a boost in your immune system! Not to shabby for a drink, huh??

The increase in immunity can be credited to the wave of beneficial bacteria the body gets from kombucha giving the body has a greater chance of fighting off anything trying to bring it down. Drinking kombucha before meals can also aid in weight loss since it helps the body process food easier while getting the most nutrients from the food. Helping us digest food means less bloat and for things to move smoothly, if you catch my drift! Kombucha is high in glucosamine which is a naturally occurring chemical found in the human body, over time it can help those creaky joints feel better!  Glucosamine is used by our bodies to produces a variety of other chemicals that are involved in building tendons, ligaments and the thick fluid that surrounds joints. (WebMD) Kombucha won’t relieve pain immediately but it’s a great reason to continue to drink it along with its other awesome benefits, not to mention its yummy taste!

Prices of kombucha vary but here in eastern NC it goes for $4-$5 a bottle. My daughter and I both enjoy it so that could be a very expensive addition to our monthly budget so we started brew our own, and it’s so easy! You can get a SCOBY and 1-2 cups of starter tea from a friend if you know someone already brewing or you can buy them online. I read you can grow your own from an unflavored bottle of store bought kombucha, there are mixed reviews on if this still works. I’m a DIY kinda girl so I gave it a shot! Mine grew perfectly so this is just my personal experience.

I bought the unflavored bottle of kombucha from our local health food store, poured in a jar, covered it with a thin cloth (NOT a lid) and let it sit undisturbed for 5 weeks. You should have a SCOBY formed by week 2 or 3 but the starter tea needs to be strong so letting it sit for 4-5 weeks is necessary. After that you are ready for your first brew, how exciting!!

How to brew?

There are manyyyy different ways to brew but this is mine.  You’ll need:

– Organic Black Tea

– Organic Cane Sugar

– filtered water (I love my Berkey)

I make a gallon at the time so I save 2 cups of starter tea from each brew to start the next, this is a very important step so make sure you don’t forget!

Boil around 6 cups of water, add 8 bags of organic black tea and let steep for 5 mins. Dispose of the tea bags (great addition to your compost pile!) and add 1 cup of organic cane sugar. This is your tea concentrate.

Add your tea concentrate to your gallon size glass jar and add enough cold water to almost fill up the jar but save room for your 2 cups of starter tea and SCOBY. You want it to be room temp before adding your starter tea and SCOBY so the heat doesn’t damage the bacteria and yeast. Alternatively, you could let it sit out overnight to come to temp, I just like to get it all done at once so I add cold water to speed up the process 😉

Now place it where it can sit without direct sunlight or being jarred, a pantry or cabinet works great. Cooler temps = longer fermenting time and warmer temps = faster fermenting time. It’s Spring here now so we’re in the ideal temp range and 7 days is perfect for my first ferment. Everyone has a different taste preference so taste it periodically and experiment with how long you like yours to ferment, the longer it goes the more tart it will be.

After 7 days are up if you like the way it taste you are done! You can transfer it to jars or bottles and store them in the fridge.

If you want more fizz like store bought kombucha you can do a 2nd I like to use these brew bottles to flavor and add fizz to our booch. The flavor combos are endless so experiment but be careful not to use bottles that are not meant to hold carbonation or they can explode! 😳 I let our 2nd ferment sit out 2-5 days, again temps and sugar content of flavoring used will make a difference so burp your bottles every couple of days to be safe and enjoy experimenting!

Leave me a comment below and tell me what your favorite flavor is and if you brew your own!

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