You have probably noticed by now that Kombucha is everywhere! At least it is in Central Oregon. I remember the first time I had Kombucha. It was at the Port Townsend, WA Farmers Market where I was selling my handmade glass beads and jewelry. My friend Rainie had a food booth and we traded a necklace for credit at her both. That summer I started many Saturday mornings with her delicious quiche, sauteed greens (usually Kale) and a large glass of her homemade Kombucha. I had never heard of Kombucha before, but knew I enjoyed the taste and felt great after my breakfasts. Now I know much more about Kombucha and it’s health benefits and even enjoy making it myself. It’s really so easy!
Kombucha is an effervescent health drink made by fermenting tea and sugar with the help of a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts). The first recorded use of Kombucha, then known as “The Tea of Immortality”, was in China in 221 BC. Since then it’s use has spread across the globe. This refreshing beverage has a unique flavor that can be somewhere in between sweet apple cider vinegar and champagne.
Kombucha is a wonderful example of how the process of fermentation actually increases the nutritional content of a food or beverage. As the SCOBY digests the sugar, it produces several organic acids, B vitamins, vitamin C, enzymes and probiotic bacteria (pro=in favor of and biotic= life). It is an excellent alternative to soda which contains absolutely no nutritional value and is detrimental to health.
The acids produced do many helpful things for our bodies including detoxifying both metabolic and environmental toxins, assisting blood circulation and encouraging the intercellular production of energy. B vitamins provide an energy boost, vitamin C helps regulate our immune system and the probiotic bacteria are particularly beneficial to our digestive and immune systems.
There are several methods and recipes for making Kombucha. I am sharing the way I use that has worked well for me:
1. Boil 1 gallon of water. Remove from stove.
2. Add 12 green or black organic tea bags. Steep 3 minutes for green tea and 4 for black tea.
3. With a wooden spoon, stir in 1 cup organic sugar until dissolved.
4. Let cool to room temperature.
5. Pour mixture into a large 1 gallon glass jar.
Add a SCOBY and 2 cups of starter kombucha. I purchased both of mine at our local Natural Grocers.
6. Cover your jar with a breathable cloth and secure with a rubber band or string.
7. Keep in a warm place away from direct light for 7-30 days. I keep mine on top of my refrigerator.
8. Taste after 7 days. It is finished whenever you are happy with the taste. Less time will give a sweeter taste, more time will give more of a sour taste.The longer it ferments the less sugar it will contain. I usually let mine go for 30 days because I like it less sweet.
9. Pour into growlers or smaller bottles and put lids on them, reserving 2 cups of kombucha and the SCOBY to start your next batch.
10. Let sit at room temperature for 3 days to build up fizz.
11. Transfer your bottles to the fridge and enjoy!
Use the same process to start a new batch. Over time your SCOBY will grow and can be divided. Share with your friends!
Making Kombucha is not for everyone. If the idea of growing a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts in liquid and drinking it freaks you out, that’s ok. There are so many great companies doing it for you. I like to look at the labels and find the one with the least grams of sugar per bottle.