Let’s talk about that wonderful fermented drink that everyone raves about! Trying to buy it from the store costs an arm and a leg so most of us resort to attempting to make it on our own. Why do we go through the effort though? Natural probiotic cultures are hard to come by in our current SAD (Standard American Diet) diet, cultures of which kombucha is high in. Beneficial bacteria are essential to proper digestion and overall health. With 90% of serotonin (Happy hormones) being made in the gut, not to mention the majority of our immune system is drastically affected by how healthy our gut is, it is insanely important to keep that part of out system in top shape. (This is the reason cultured yoghurts have become a sales hit in recent years.) And how do you not love something that fights Salmonella and E.Colli. I also found THIS article on a study done on damaged skin of mice which showed that topical application sped up the healing process as well as increased the hair follicle count! Kombucha BandAids, hair cream, or skin cleanser anyone? (Hmm… I hear a project in the works)
Beginning the Brew
The most important part is having a descent starter brew which is easily picked up from your local health shop and the occasional quick stop. (I found mine a the Centra not far from my school!) You might have to do some taste trials to see which one is bubbliest, but as long as its active you shouldn’t have many issues.
Since my brews are small for apartment living, I’ve gotten my recipe down to quart jar size and usually have 2 going at alternating times for a weekly dose. (One batch started and 3 days later start another on)
Batch 1- Grow your Scooby (Starter Batch)
Plain black tea (or Green)
Cheese cloth or microfiber cloth
For the first batch I put boiling water with 2 tea bags in a 3/4 of a quart of water with 1/4 Cup of sugar. This part is usually what I do in the evening and let it dissolve the sugar and get to room temperature till the next morning. (The sugar tea mix needs to have all the warmth gone otherwise it will kill the Kombucha cultures and you’ll end up with rotten sweet tea that has zero benefits.) Note as well that you CAN NOT use decaf tea because the Kombucha needs to feed off of the caffeine.
Next morning: Today you get to add your bubbly to your mix! You could use a whole bottle the first time just to be safe, but a half would be sufficient and then you get to drink the rest. You don’t need to drink the first batch anyway as it’ll be more like vinegar, but makes for good cleaning. Cover your jar with you cloth and a rubber band. This part is important otherwise your Kombucha can’t breathe and turns to some odd smell and looks gross. (It also needs a cloth to keep the fruit flies out, cause they love this stuff.) Let the bubbles breathe!!! For approximately 5-7 days… You should have a lovely film like “mushroom” scooby beginning to grow on the top of your brew by day 3 or 4.
Batch 2 – Let’s make drink-able tea
At the end of week one when you have your scooby developed, you can make another sweet tea batch as above, and once cooled, transfer your scooby and 1/4 of your Kombucha Starter Batch into the fresh sweet tea. Ferment for another 5-7 days and there you have it! It should be bubbly, and taste slightly tangy. If it sits for another week, don’t fret, You essentially just created DIY Apple Cider vinegar without the apple cider. You can use this to wash your fruit and veg from the store, replace it for your vinegar cooking uses, make chemical free floor cleaner, put a dash in your dishes when there is a flu bug going around for some extra kick… and potentially as a skin cleanser and healing aid, but I have yet to try that out. Happy Fermenting!
If you have questions of comments, please post them below!