What is Kombucha tea?
Known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese and originating in the Far East around 2,000 years ago, kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage of black tea and sugar (from various sources including cane sugar, fruit or honey) that’s used as a functional food. It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that are responsible for initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar. After being fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, b-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic), which are tied with the following effects:
- Increased Energy-produces iron and b-vitamins which help to energize the body.
- Cleansing and Detoxification-counteracts liver cell toxicity
- Immune Support-antioxidants and vitamin C help the immune system
- Reduced Joint Pain-high in glucosamine and collagen supporter helps prevent arthritic joint pain, and reduces wrinkles on the skin
- Cancer Prevention-glucaric acid reduces the risk of cancer
- Improved Digestion-high levels of probiotics and enzymes which help prevent and heal leaky gut and stomach ulcers
The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as a “SCOBY” (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Although it’s usually made with black tea, kombucha can also be made with green tea too.
Want to make kombucha tea? Read on…
Below are directions forwarded to me from my girl friend who introduced me to kambucha tea and then gave me a scoby to start making my own, though the recipe directly following are the ingredients that I choose to use because I like the flavour:
- 1-2 cups of Kombucha liquid and SCOBY from last batch or gifted batch.
- 1 scoby
- 5-6 black tea bags or a combination of black and green. Tea must be caffeinated and absolutely (no herbal or loose leaf) (I have used Tetley and Lipton)
- 1 c coconut sugar
- 3 quarts plus ½ c sterile (non chlorinated) water hard boiled 1 minute.
- Gallon Jar sterilized in oven. (bake 350f 15 minutes)
- Coffee filters unbleached so SCOBY is able to feed on oxygen.
- Elastic band
- (Optional) Apple cider vinegar in spray bottle spray on coffee filter to ensure no contaminants get into jar during brewing process.
To speed the fermentation, I put my brew outside for an afternoon in 30c temperature, wrapped in a heavy woven carpet to ensure that no light would penetrate through.
- Sterilize all utensils and glassware
- Boil enough water to fill 3 quart jars keeping in mind water will dissipate when boiled.
- Hard boil water for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat, add sugar and tea bags.
- Leave at room temperature overnight (*do not add SCOBY to hot water!)
- Next morning: Remove tea bags. Add SCOBY and document on calendar when added.
- Your scoby may float or sink, it doesn’t matter. The new baby will always form on top after brewing.
- Cover with one coffee filter holding in place with elastic band.
- Wrap jar in a towel, ensure that top is not covered by towel to allow for oxygen.
- Let stand without disturbing in warm, dry, ventilated space for 7-10 days.
- After 7-10 days decant into smaller jars and refrigerate for consumption.
- What to do with the new baby SCOBY?
- Keep it and create a SCOBY HOTEL or gift it to a friend.
- Info about scoby hotels:
Remember to keep your SCOBY in at least 1 cup of its own juice and refrigerate.
How to test for readiness?
- Slip a straw between the SCOBY and side of jar then take a sip.
- If it’s sweet patience grasshopper this means the sugar hasn’t been fully eaten up and it’s not ready.
- It shouldn’t be too tart (vinegary) either unless that’s how you like it.
- It should have effervescence and be tangy.
- If you leave it for up to 20 days you can use it in salad dressings as you would apple cider.
- The properly brewed Kombucha can be utilized this way as well.
*Note brewed Kombucha tea when left in fridge covered will be absorbed over time by the SCOBY so add fresh tea from new batch when the fluid looks low.
*Brewed Kombucha can be left in fridge for up to 2 months but it will change flavor slightly.
*If you like you can add fresh fruit to your Kombucha to infuse your desired flavor.