The most popular use for Kombucha is that of a digestive aid. It contains a vast amount of probiotics which help regulate the digestive process. Drinking this tea after a large meal gets rid of that ‘food coma’, as it helps speed up digestion. Drinking this after a course of antibiotics does the body wonders. As antibiotics kill all the bad bacteria, unfortunately, they may kill a lot of the good bacteria as well – which can lead to a plethora of digestive and yeast issues.
It has been said that Kombucha may promote the healing of the following ailments by bringing the body back to balance, giving itself the ability to do what it’s supposed to do – heal itself.
- Weight Loss (reduced sugar cravings)
- Detoxifies the liver
- Increases metabolism
- Improves digestion
- Rebuilds connective tissue, cell regeneration
- Soothes arthritis, gout, asthma & more
- Alleviates constipation
- Boosts energy and helps with chronic fatigue
- Reduces blood pressure
- Relieves headaches and migraines
- Reduces kidney stones
- High in antioxidants
- High in polyphenols
- Improves eyesight
- Heals eczema (can be applied topically to soften skin)
- Prevents arteriosclerosis
- Speeds up healing of ulcers (kills h.pylori on contact)
- Helps clear up candida and yeast infections
- Aids healthy cell regeneration
- Reduces gray hair
- Lowers glucose levels (prevents spiking from eating)
Now! On to the fun part …. making your own Kombucha
- 1 gallon glass container (the wider the jar, the larger the Scoby will grow)
- extra containers for decanting
- tightly woven cloth (cheesecloth) or paper towel
- rubber band
- glass or ceramic pot to boil water (no metal pots!)
- 4 quarts purified water
- 4-5 black tea bags or 4-5 tsp loose black tea (or a combination of both)
- 1 1/3 cup organic cane sugar
- 1-2 cups starter liquid (from a previously fermented batch)
- a Scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast)
* Give your mother Scoby a name. Mine is Aegle (pronounced eee-glee), after the Greek Goddess of radiant good health!
* Purchase starter kit here: http://store.Kombuchakamp.com/ or if you’re lucky, and know someone who brews their own Kombucha, ask to get in on the fun and adopt one of the baby Scobys!
- Heat water in pot and bring to a boil. Once it has boiled, turn off the heat.
- Add teat and steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags and stir in sugar until dissolved.
- Let tea cool to room temperature
- Add tea to your large glass container with your starter liquid and your Scoby
- Set the container in a warm ventilated area out of direct sunlight for 14-21 days (the longer you ferment it, the stronger it is); on top of the refrigerator is a good spot. The Scoby may rise to the top or sink to the bottom, either way is fine. A new culture will always form at the top.
- When you are ready to test your Kombucha, take a straw and gently slide it beneath the new Scoby and have a sip. When it has the right balance of sour and sweet, then you are ready to decant! A good brew tastes like a lightly carbonated iced tea.
- Keep decanted Kombucha in the fridge in air-tight containers (see below for suggestions)
**** Never let the Scoby come in to contact with any metals. If you need to remove the Scoby(s) prior to decanting, do so with your hands or chopsticks. Never metal utensils. Ever.
SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast
- Ginger Beer Plant
- Mother of Vinegar
FIVE SIGNS YOU HAVE A HEALTHY BREW
The type of tea used to brew Kombucha is one of the most important influences in how the finished Kombucha will taste. However, not all teas are appropriate for making Kombucha.
- Black tea tends to make a bolder-tasting, amber-colored Kombucha. Kombucha made with black tea is often described as having a fruity flavour reminiscent of apple cider but can vary greatly. Experiment with English Breakfast, Ceylon, Darjeeling, etc. as different teas and combinations of teas can create undertones that are woody, earthy, and smokey.
- Oolong tea provides the amber colour of a black tea but the partial fermentation of the tea leaves balances the flavor creating a more even-toned flavor that is somewhat fruity, somewhat grassy; essentially a flavor between a black tea and a green tea. Oolong makes a very nice base flavor upon which to add flavorings after the primary fermentation process is complete.
- Green teas generally offer a lighter color and a grassy taste profile. Try jasmine green tea which makes a particularly tasty Kombucha.
- White teas make a very delicate and flowery-tasting Kombucha.
- Herbal teas can be added for flavour but must be used in combination with black or green teas. Remember, herbal teas with oils must be avoided. Combining strawberry herbal tea with oolong tea makes a particularly tasty brew.
Once the initial fermentation period is complete and the Scoby removed, you can consume the Kombucha as is or choose to add additional flavourings. Common options for additional flavourings include fruits, juices, herbs, and spices. Flavour extracts such as vanilla, almond, coconut, etc. can also be used. Flavoring agents can be added to the Kombucha either just prior to drinking or they can be added to the Kombucha and then the mixture can be stored in an airtight bottle for a second round of fermentation (see below). As a general rule of thumb:
- If flavouring with fresh, frozen, or dried fruit, start with 10% to 30% fruit and 70% to 90% Kombucha. Note: dried fruit often yields less flavor than fresh or frozen fruit.
- If flavouring with juice, start with 10-20% juice and 80-90% Kombucha.
- If flavouring with herbs, the variety and strength of herbs varies so greatly it’s best to come up with the best ratios and combinations for your taste preferences.
- For flavour extracts such as almond extract or vanilla extract, start with 1/4 teaspoon extract per cup of Kombucha and adjust to taste. Remember the flavour will develop during the second fermentation period.
- Blueberries and raspberries
- Blueberries and cinnamon
- Blueberries and fresh ginger
- Strawberries and fresh ginger
- Strawberries and raspberries
- Cherries and almond extract
- Fresh peaches
- Fresh pears
- Pears and almond extract
- Goji berries
- Cranberry juice
- Pear juice
- Pomegranate-blueberry juice
- Apple juice and cinnamon
- Grape juice
- Lemon juice and fresh ginger
- Lime juice and fresh ginger
- Pineapple juice, coconut water, and coconut extract
- Vanilla beans (split open) or vanilla extract
- Fresh or candied ginger
- Coconut extract
There are advantages to taking the time to allow the now-flavored Kombucha a second round of fermentation. A second fermentation period allows the flavours to meld and achieve a deeper and more complex flavor profile. Further, if bottled in an airtight container, the live yeast and bacteria in the Kombucha will continue to consume the tea and sugar that remained after the primary fermentation process was completed and the Scoby was removed, along with any sugar from juice or fruit added for flavor. A by-product of fermentation is that the sugar is turned into carbon dioxide giving the Kombucha the fizzy texture it is often known for.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SECOND FERMENTATION
- Remove the Scoby from the finished Kombucha (again, do not use metal utensils, use hands or chopsticks)
- Add the desired flavoring and mix to combine
- Bottle the flavoured Kombucha in airtight bottles (see below)
- Allow the Kombucha to remain bottled for 2 to 14 days at room temperature.
- Once the secondary fermentation process is complete, the Kombucha can be strained of the fruit or herbs if desired. The liquid can then be rebottled and stored on the counter or in the refrigerator. We recommend storing Kombucha at room temperature for no longer than 14 days, as carbonation can build up. The more sugar that is in the flavoring, the faster the carbonation will build.
- The Kombucha may need to be strained again prior to consumption as the active yeast and bacteria in the Kombucha will continue to ferment the beverage (even in the refrigerator) at a slower rate and can produce small immature Scobys (looks like small blobs of gel) or stringy brown yeast particles. While neither is harmful if consumed, both have an unpleasant texture.
We recommend glass containers for bottling and storing Kombucha. While essentially any glass container with a lid can be used to store Kombucha, to obtain the best levels of carbon dioxide, which gives Kombucha its characteristic fizzy texture, it is important to bottle Kombucha in truly airtight bottles. For example, canning jars make wonderful storage vessels for finished Kombucha but they are not truly airtight and carbon dioxide will leak from them resulting in flat tasting Kombucha. To avoid flat Kombucha, you may use the white plastic mason jar lids. They are air tight! Other options is Grolsch-style flip bottles / jars or old wine bottles fitted with new corks. Both adequately contain the building gas and keep the Kombucha better carbonated.
Use caution when opening the bottle. Creation of carbon dioxide during the secondary fermentation period means the contents of the bottle will be under pressure and caution should be used when opening the bottle. We recommend covering the bottle with a cloth to catch any spraying liquid, and opening the bottle slowly while applying downward pressure.
Alcohol content. A quick word of warning about alcohol content in flavored Kombucha. The manner in which most people flavoUr and store their Kombucha for a secondary fermentation period will result in only a very minimal amount of alcohol (generally purported to be less than .5%). However, in cases where a large proportion of a high-sugar flavoring is added to the Kombucha, a very long secondary fermentation period is utilized, or the flavored Kombucha is stored for an extensive period of time prior to consumption, it is possible to build a higher level of alcohol content. Consequently, we urge you to always use good judgment when consuming flavored Kombucha.
SCOBY HOTEL MAINTENANCE
Do you have an overabundance of scoby babies? Click here for instructions on how to maintain a healthy scoby hotel!