What Is Kombucha & How To Make It

Kombucha is a probiotic rich tea beverage fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY)  with naturally occurring B vitamins and healthy acids. Its hard to get enough probiotics in our daily diet from food alone so fermented foods such as kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut are great ways but personally I really enjoy sipping this bubbly beverage because its so yummy and great in place of soda (or as a mixer when its brewed a bit longer). The ancient Chinese used to called this the “Immoral Health Elixir” for its long list of heath benefits such as killing candida, preventing cancer, clearer skin, eczema and improved overall mood and energy.No reason not to give it a try!

Ferment at home and stop wasting money on store bought kombucha that runs $6+ per bottle and make it at home yourself for pennies. All you need is:

-Black or green tea (I use 12 bags to a gallon)
-1 cup of sugar
-1/2 cup of starter

My first SCOBY baby

There are so many alternatives in the world of fermentation that I’m just going to keep this basic, simple recipe I used but if you add more starter, sugar or tea that’s okay – but keep it approximately around that measurement because it really needs to the sugar (you could use different types of sugar as well) and tea to feed it. Make sure your brewed tea is at least room temperature before adding starter liquid or you will likely kill all of the good stuff in there and it won’t be able to grow. I like to add the sugar while the tea is still warm to help it dissolve and then leave it overnight to cool so in the morning all I have to do is add my starter and SCOBY and cover with a paper towel tied down with a rubber band (it needs to be able to breath but we want to keep anything yucky out). You’re probably wonder two things now: “Where do I get my own SCOBY'”? and “What is ‘starter'”?

If you know someone who already brews then ask them to donate one to you with some starter as they would likely 1923514_10204573991664286_139252305706713378_nbe happy to share – will every brew typically at least one baby SCOBY pops up so we tend to have so many we don’t know what to do with them.If you don’t however, I wouldn’t recommend purchasing one as they can die quite easily and it might not be viable once it gets to you but its easy to make yourself if you just pick up a bottle of unflavored commercial kombucha and poor it into a glass container (you can use half and drink the other half – yum!) with paper towel or cheese cloth on top. Be patient and leave it undisturbed out of the way of direct sunlight (in a darker place if possible), this will probably take 2 weeks or so to see the SCOBY forming on top and the liquid can be used as starter! Starter is kombucha that has been fermented for a long enough time that it turns to vinegar – and also great as a toner, cleansing product, hair cleanser, salad vinegar and to drink in this stage too.

Check back after 3 days to give it a try using a spoon and if you like it, if its too sweet leave it be until you feel its just right. Often mine has been fizzy from the first brew but if you want to add some flavor you’ll have to do a second ferment where you can add any flavorings of your choice (such as rosemary and blueberries, kiwi – get creative!) but you will want some serious glassware for this that have a sturdy top and can withstand high pressure so they don’t explode. Just add your flavorings, seal and keep in a dark place for a few days and open with care.

There are countless varieties and so many different types of fermentation – kefir ( with water grains), jun (with honey and green tea, fermented coffee… the possibilities are  endless! Just make sure to stick to only about 4 oz. a day because there is such thing as too much of a good thing.

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