Kombucha – what is it? How do you make it? Why drink it?
Like so many others at the moment, I have discovered fermented foods. I’ve gone to a couple of workshops, read books, researched on the internet and have now got many jars of brews happening! With all their happy gut bacteria, freshness and great taste, we really enjoy them.
Sauerkraut, vegetables (especially garlic) and kombucha are my favourites and in the new year, I will be starting to make my own kefir rather than buying the rather expensive commercial one.
So what is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea. Made with black or green tea and sugar, a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) and some kombucha from another batch, it is left to wild ferment with a cloth over the jar for about a week or to taste. Once you then decant the brew into a bottle, you can flavour or leave plain for a second ferment when more carbonation occurs. I couldn’t get over how easy it was when I first made it!
The sugar is what feeds the fermentation process so there is not much left at the end of the process, depending on how long you leave it to ferment. So, the final brew is somewhat more acidic than when it started. Because of this, depending on the state of your teeth when you start drinking it, and the acidic level of the final brew, wait at least 30 minutes at after consuming the kombucha to brush your teeth.
But why is it good for us?
Unfortunately, in the modern world, the food and drinks we consume lack nutrients, are over processed and our bodies suffer. There are many studies out there showing that our guts are lacking certain bacteria or have too many of certain ones and not enough of others, throwing out our bacteria balance in the gut. This can lead to digestive and possibly psychological issues, with some studies showing the gut-brain link is strong.
During the fermentation process, probiotics grow, it contains some B vitamins, vitamin C and it also contains the antioxidants of the tea it is made from. Probiotics help with digestion and the immune system. There are many strains of bacteria that grow, unlike commercial yoghurt which usually only contains two.
When starting out with fermented foods, take it slowly! They can cause discomfort if too much is consumed too quickly.
- The water needs to have at least the chlorine filtered out as the chlorine kills the bacteria which is what we are trying to grow!
- I prefer loose leaf tea as so many tea bags contain plastic now.
- Your first SCOBY should come with some brew to start your batch.
- When straining the tea into the jar, a metal strainer can be used but do not use metal for straining it into the bottle.
- Make sure the jar has been thoroughly washed and dried with no soap residue left. You can reuse the same jar a couple of times before washing it again.
- Use a glass or ceramic jar for brewing and storing. Because of the acidic content of the brew, metal is not suitable.
- With each batch, a new SCOBY will grow and they can then be separated to make extra batches and to the point where you could be growing a SCOBY farm! They can be stored in a SCOBY hotel which I will write about in another post.
- It doesn’t matter if the SCOBY doesn’t float. It can depend on temperature. A new SCOBY will form on the top.
- 1 Litre filtered water
- 1 Tbspn organic green tea leaves
- 1/4 cup organic raw sugar
- 1/2 cup kombucha from a previous batch
Boil the water.
Make up the tea in a jug or large jar
Allow to steep until it becomes room temperature.
Strain into a large jar, leaving room at the the top.
Add the 1/2 cup of kombucha and SCOBY.
Cover with a folded tea towel and secure with an elastic band.
Store away from direct sunlight for a week or until brewed to your taste.
Once the brew is to your taste, carefully pour / strain into a bottle, leaving about half a cup of kombucha and the SCOBY to use for the next batch.
P.S. I hope you like the new website!