What is kombucha?
- Basically it’s a fermented tea and sugar drink
- It’s made by adding specific strains of bacteria, yeast (aka SCOBY) and sugar to black or green tea, then allowing it to ferment for a week or two
- The fermentation process produces acetic acid (also found in vinegar) and several other acidic compounds, trace levels of alcohol and gases that make it carbonated (Healthline).
- A large amount of bacteria also grow in the mixture. Although there is still no evidence for the probiotic benefits of kombucha, it contains several species of lactic-acid bacteria which may have probiotic function. (Healthline).
- Probiotics provide your gut with healthy bacteria and have been widely researched for their health benefits including promotion of health digestive tract and immune system.
What is the SCOBY exactly?
- “Scoby” is an acronym: Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast.
- And that’s exactly what it is, a syntrophic mixed culture of yeast and bacteria used in production of several traditional foods and beverages, case in point – Kombucha.
Is it really healthy?
- As far as the mainstream info platforms go the jury is still out.
- There have been lab bench and animal studies on kombucha that suggest the drink may have antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties. But they do not yet tell us if they translate to humans.
- Seems to me that the main health benefit comes from the green tea and then because of the scoby it’s also rich in potentially beneficial probiotics.
- Kombucha also contains antioxidants, substances that fight free radicals, reactive molecules that can damage your cells. The antioxidant in Kombucha is thought to have positive effects in the liver.
Can I get it wrong?
- Yes apparently you can.
- There seems there have been a handful of cases of people experiencing serious effects of toxicity associated with ingesting large quantities of improperly prepared kombucha.
- The risk of that is mostly attributed with over-fermented, brewed-at-home kombucha, as far as what I’ve read but I know you need to keep everything sterile and as pure as possible to protect the health and not contaminate the scoby as well.
- The advice seems to be if you do decide to ferment and drink your own brew of kombucha, do so in small doses in order to help minimize the risk. Also I would avoid it if you have a compromised immune system, you’re pregnant or little people with a young digestive system.
- I’ve also been recommended to start with small amounts when your first try it- just to introduce it to your own gut flora slowly and see how it reacts
- OK, Enough info, let’s brew….
2-3 Litre (sterilised) glass jar
1 cup of white sugar
yes, you can substitute for others, read more about that here: https://www.culturedfoodlife.com/what-kind-of-sugars-can-i-use-in-kombucha/
5-6 Green (or black) tea bags
Plastic sieve (optional)
Plastic funnel (optional)
cheese cloth/cotton tea towel and an elastic band
2-3 Litre saucepan or pot.
- Dissolve sugar in 2-3L of water in the saucepan on a low temperature
- Add tea bags and allow to brew for approx 15 minutes
- Remove tea bags and allow liquid to cool completely to room temperature (I leave for several hours)
- Pour liquid into the glass jar and add the scoby (with it’s liquid if it has some)
- Place the cotton cover over the top of the jar and fasten with the elastic band (no lid)
- Position jar in a dark, moderate temperature space (I use the top of the pantry) and leave Ita lone as much as possible for approx 2 weeks
- Once you can see a thick flip (mushroom looking texture) formed across the top the liquid and it’s been 10-14 days, it’s likely to be ready
- Remove the scoby (with tongs or rub your hands in vinegar and use those) and then pour 2/3 of cup pf the liquid in a seperate small jar to keep it until you want to brew again. It may seperate from the new layer, creating a second scoby each batch you make.
- Strain or directly pour the liquid into your preferred bottles to drink from and then flavour as you like. I’ve been adding fresh strawberries or ginger and lemon so far… stay tuned for essential oil options soon!!