Throughout many of my blogs on preventive medicine and nutrition, you’ve likely noticed that I’ve spoken quite a bit about the fermented tea drink, kombucha. This drink is very beneficial to a preventive-based diet, and to nutrition in general, as the tea helps to clean the body of toxins through its ingredients. Kombucha has become extremely popular as a health-food trend, but those who are looking to incorporate the healthy fermented tea into their diet might not want to spend $5 on a bottle from the store or market everyday. To solve this conundrum, you can simply make your own.
Before I dive into how exactly to make kombucha, I want to introduce some odd vocabulary that I’ll be using throughout this blog in case any of my readers are unfamiliar with the drink.
Kombucha: a fermented tea. A traditional health practice from ancient Japan.
Fermentation: a change brought about by a ferment, as yeast enzymes, which convert grape sugar into ethyl alcohol.
Scoby: an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.”
Baby Scoby: a smaller scoby that forms on the top of the kombucha during the fermentation process.
Starter Liquid: a strong batch of kombucha used to aid in the brewing of a new batch.
There are tons of recipes out there to follow, but for the purposes of this blog, I am relaying a list of ingredients specific to a recipe from The Kitchn, a fellow home and wellness blog. Once you master making kombucha once, you can start to experiment with different quantities and flavors. To make a one gallon batch, you will need the following:
3 1/2 quarts hot water
1 cup sugar (regular granulated sugar works best)
8 bags black tea, green tea, or a mix (or 2 tablespoons loose tea)
2 cups starter liquid (ask a friend for extra if they brew kombucha, or purchase some)
1 scoby (again, ask a friend for one, or purchase one)
Making Your Kombucha
The process is fairly simple once all of the ingredients are obtained. Heat the water until it is almost boiling. Once bubbling, stir in the sugar until it is dissolved. At this time, you can steep the tea bags until the hot water has come to room temperature. After your sweet tea has cooled, mix in the starter liquid – this will make your tea more acidic to protect your kombucha from bad bacteria during the initial fermentation process. Now it’s time to add your scoby! Transfer the liquid mix to a 1-gallon glass jar and carefully add the scoby to the liquid. Cover the jar with a cloth or breathable yet secure lid. Most sites recommend a coffee filter or cloth towel secured with a rubber band.
And there you have it – let the kombucha rest and ferment for at least 7 days. At that time you can start test tasting the drink to determine how much longer to ferment it. Some choose to have the kombucha sit for up to 30 days before enjoying it. When you are ready to bottle your kombucha, you can remove the original scoby carefully and use it for another batch if desired. If you are going to make another batch, remember to keep a small sample of liquid from your newly brewed kombucha to use as a starter liquid.
Now that you have mastered making kombucha you can begin drinking this health-packed, slightly carbonated, sweet and tart tea daily. The strong cultured bacteria will help to clear your body of unwanted toxins and restore health to your microbiome. Even if you’re not planning on drinking kombucha everyday, it also makes a great substitute for sodas.
Enjoy your kombucha and stay tuned for more healthy tips and recipes.