Kombucha is one of my favorite drinks. It’s not something I used to like. In fact, I didn’t even start to drink it until my first whole30 when my friend said SHE was drinking it during her whole30 and she liked the fizziness and the taste. I bought some from the grocery store (ginger, I think) and it took me about a week to finish the bottle. It’s an acquired taste, for sure! But, now that I have had it again and again, and I’ve learned to make my own, I can’t get enough of it! I know that it’s good for my gut health, it’s tasty, and who doesn’t like fizz?? It’s a great replacement for soda or other carbonated beverages. You can flavor it in a variety of different ways, too!
Let’s get into What Kombucha Is!
According to Kombuchakamp.com (the company I purchased my kombucha SCOBY through):
“Drinking Kombucha promotes better health by detoxifying and improving the efficiency of your digestive system which boosts immunity. All fermented foods are good for you in this regard – let your palate help you decide which ones are a good fit for you!”
So, like the sauerkraut and carrots I fermented, kombucha is good for your digestive health! It’s been used for a couple thousand years in a variety of cultures. Some of the possible benefits include:
“*Probiotics – healthy bacteria
*Alkalize the body – balances internal pH
*Detoxify the liver – happy liver = happy mood
*Increase metabolism – rev your internal engine
*Improve digestion – keep your system moving
*Rebuild connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism
*Boost energy – helps with chronic fatigue
*Reduce blood pressure
*Relieve headaches & migraines
*Reduce kidney stones
*High in antioxidants – destroy free-radicals that cause cancer
*High in polyphenols
*Heal eczema – can be applied topically to soften the skin
*Speed healing of ulcers – kills h.pylori on contact
*Help clear up candida & yeast infections
*Aid healthy cell regeneration
*Reduce gray hair
*Lower glucose levels – prevents spiking from eating
Unlike antibiotics, which kill ALL of the bacteria in your body, even the good stuff, probiotics re-establish the natural ecology of the intestinal flora. Probiotics are said to boost immunity, enhance mood, fight allergies, detoxify the body and rid the body of disease.”
(cited from www.kombuchakamp.com)
How can I get some kombucha?
I started by buying it from the store in the nature’s market or organic section; there are a variety of brands that sell some delicious kombucha! But, if you’re drinking it every day like me, it gets expensive. It’s about $3.50 a bottle!! Which brings me to…
How do I get the supplies to make kombucha at home?
This is such a smart idea if you drink kombucha with any regularity. It really takes care of itself as it’s brewing! A SCOBY is what you use to brew your kombucha; it stands for “Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast”. Sounds amazing, right?? 🙂 What happens is, the SCOBY sits in tea that you brew and eats sugar that you mix into that tea. As it eats it, the tea transforms into a fermented beverage (like what happens when you make sauerkraut or yogurt). By the time it’s done brewing, there is a minimal amount of sugar left in it – if anyone’s worried about the sugar content!!
I purchased my SCOBY from Kombucha Kamp. I would highly recommend this company. I would NOT purchase a dehydrated SCOBY or one from someone you don’t know. Heck – if you live near me, I’ll GIVE you one! In addition to your SCOBY you will also need some “starter liquid” which is just fermented kombucha.
How do I make kombucha?
I’ve include pictures of the process below to help illustrate how easy it is!
1 gallon glass jar (a “brewing vessel” as I call it later on; I got mine off of amazon awhile back)
1 cup starter liquid
1 cup sugar (I use organic cane sugar, do NOT use regular, store-bought sugar; it needs to be GREAT quality. Just remember the sugar is not for you – it’s for the culture to eat)
4-6 tea bags (I recommend organic black and green tea)
a piece of t-shirt or cotton cloth and rubberband
- First, fill a pot with FILTERED water and bring it to a boil. You do not need a whole gallon of filtered water, yet. Boiling this little amount and adding cool/room temperature filtered water will help bring the water to the correct temperature for the SCOBY (you do not want to burn it and you do not want it to be too cold).
- At this point, fill a pitcher up with filtered water to get to room temperature for the 6th step.
- Once the water is boiling, turn the burner off and add 2-3 bags of black tea. After about 3 minutes, add the 2-3 bags of green tea. After another 3 minutes, remove the tea bags (you don’t want to leave them in longer as it will make the tea bitter).
- Now, stir in your sugar until it is dissolved.
- Let the water cool until it reaches almost room temperature.
- Pour the sweet tea into the gallon jar (brewing vessel). Fill the rest of the jar up with filtered water.
- Place the SCOBY in the jar (it may float, sink, or sit in the middle of the jar – any of these positions are fine).
- Pour the starter liquid on top of the sweet tea and SCOBY – this will get the process going.
- Cover with the cotton cloth and rubberband so that insects and dust cannot get inside.
- Place in a warmer (between 72-84F), darker area to brew. I leave mine in the pantry, which backs up to our fridge. If necessary, add a heater to your jar to keep it at the ideal temperature.
- Let it sit for about 2 weeks (I always put the date on a little sticker on the top so I don’t forget when I started it), depending on the air temperature. If it’s hotter out, it may brew faster. Taste test it by sticking a straw in the jar, plugging it to trap some liquid, and then release that liquid into a cup (I don’t drink straight from the brewing vessel because I don’t want to contaminate it). If it’s bitter, yet still a little sweet, then you’re good to go! I like mine a little more on the bitter side, but it’s all about palates. Keep in mind that if it’s too sweet then it has not finished fermenting and there is still too much sugar left in the vessel.
- Remove the SCOBY and place it in a glass bowl. Pour at least 1 cup of the kombucha onto the SCOBY to keep it moist and for your next batch (that’s your new starter liquid!).
- Now, add any flavorings you want to to some glass bottles with tight-fitting lids. (I use old store-bought bottles that I have removed the stickers from and run through the dishwasher. I can usually fill 5 16oz. bottles with a 1 gallon batch of kombucha.) You can add a whole variety of things! Strawberries, blueberries, cherries, ginger, basil, mint, etc.! The list goes on and on. I’ve used fresh fruit juice, whole fruit, fresh ginger, fresh herbs… Look to my post in a couple of days about how I used essential oils in my latest batch of kombucha!
- Pour the kombucha over the flavorings you added to the jar. Fill close to the top to help with carbonation.
- Place the jars in a warm, dark place again (and be careful – strawberries and ginger make a TON of carbonation, so you may have an explosion if they create too much!!) and let them sit for 3-5 days. This is called the second ferment!
- At this point, you should start your new batch so it’s ready for when you’re out of this one!
- After 3-5 days, I usually pour the kombucha from the bottles through a piece of cheesecloth and then pour it back into the bottle. I don’t like to keep the fruit or herbs in there longer, and I like to strain some of the lingering yeast. It’s all a matter of preference.
- Place your bottles in the fridge to stop the fermentation.
- Now you’ve got fresh, homemade kombucha that will last FOREVER! (Good luck not drinking it all within a few days!)