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Kombucha is a fermented tea product, commonly brewed at home using black or green tea and sugar. It's been said to boost your immune system, contains TONS of good probiotics (hello gut health!), promotes disease prevention, protects the lungs, may improve mental health, is antibacterial (yes- this one surprised me as well!), helps maintain a healthy liver, can help manage diabetes, and is beneficial for the cardiovascular system. (read more here: https://draxe.com/7-reasons-drink-kombucha-everyday/)
You can purchase it pre-bottled, but it's more fun to have a science experiment growing on your kitchen counter. Here's the basic steps I follow.
- You'll need a starter SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). It's basically a slimy rubbery disk that is alive. You can get one online and have it shipped to you, or reach out on a local crunch or yardsale facebook page and ask if anyone has any they're looking to re-home. Each brew yields a new baby SCOBY and after a while you'll end up with a hotel full of them.
- Brew some tea! I used this Mesozoic Malt from Tea-Historic (a local-ish small business that also can ship). Boil some water, drop in the amount of tea leaves, let it steep, then strain (or use a tea infuser, which I couldn't find today)
- Add cooled tea and a cup of organic sugar, stir with a wooden or plastic spoon. Metal can cause a funky reaction.
- Add to your brew jar. If you're just starting your first brew, you'll now add the cup of starter tea and SCOBY to the jar (I keep my Mother and her baby SCOBYs in the jar in between brews).
- Fill almost to the top with cool/lukewarm water. You want the temperature to be between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Stir. Test PH to make sure it's 4.5 or below. Add a splash of white vinegar if it's too acidic.
- Cover with a cotton cloth and rubber band (this is to keep bugs/dust/foreign matter out). Place in a warm spot out of direct sunlight where no one will mess with it.
- Don't touch for 7-10 days. You want a thick film to grow on top- this is a new SCOBY :)
- Using a pippet, sample your brew. If it's still too sweet let it ferment a few more days. If not, you can drink it as is, bottle and put in fridge, or bottle (optional: add fruit juice or fruit) and let it ferment for a few more days in a cupboard to get extra fizzy.
- *Tip: don't clean any of the containers with soap, just use hot water and a little vinegar. The soap can hurt the kombucha cultures.
Fun? Funky? Healthy!
Do you like booch? Have any brewing tips? I'd love to hear about your Kombucha experiences! If you're interested in the kit I started with, I've linked it below. I've done about 5 batches so far and It's wonderful! The company has excellent customer service and sends you a live SCOBY in starter tea when you're ready to begin brewing your own kombucha.