What is Kombucha?
Consumed for thousands of years, kombucha, a fermented tea drink, has been known to improve digestive health, immune system and general vitality. It starts as a tea full of polyphenols which is then fermented with a ‘scoby’ which introduces and grows the healthy bacteria in the kombucha.
Why is it good for you? Not only is it re-introducing lost strains of good bacteria, kombucha also stimulates the release of stomach acids to aid in breaking down and digesting incoming food.
- 1x kombucha scoby (you can pick up starter kits like this one
- Kombucha starter (100ml of starter liquid)
- 1/4 cup of raw organic sugar – this feeds the bacteria but doesn’t end up in the final product
- 1 litre of filtered water
- 2 organic black tea teabags (or loose leaf equivalent)
You will also need a ceramic pot or glass jar to store your fermenting kombucha that allows at least cms of breathing space once you fill it with 1.1 litres. Stainless steel brewers are commonly used when making beer but damage the beneficial bacteria in the scoby when making kombucha
- Start with clean dry hands and clean dry equipment to ensure you don’t introduce any unwanted bacteria to the mix.
- On a stove top, bring the water to a boil in a clean saucepan. Once it is bubbling, add your teabags/loose leaf tea and turn off the heat to allow the tea to steep for five minutes and then remove the tea bags/tea leaves
- Add the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve (remember – avoid using anything stainless steel).
- Cover your sweetened tea with a clean tea towel so nothing falls into it and leave to cool to room temperature.
- Pour the whole brew into a glass jar and add your scoby and the starter juice, mix and cover the jar with a dry, clean cloth and an elastic band.
- Allow the tea to ferment at room temperature for up to 7 to 10 days during which time a new scoby will form on the surface (in hot weather, it ferments faster). The growth of the new scoby can vary. It is not unusual to see rounded opaque patches and or brown jellyfish-like tentacles forming underneath the scoby. These rounded patches are not mould if no green fuzzy growth that mould produce is seen. If any mould is seen, discard the brew and start again with a new scoby and clean equipment. Taste the kombucha after 3 days of fermenting to get a sense for what it tastes like. The kombucha tea should taste pleasantly sour and faintly sweet. The longer you leave fermentation, the more sugar ferments outs and the more sour/tart the brew becomes.
- Once the kombucha tea has reached a taste you like and a new scoby has formed, remove the newly formed scoby and 100ml of the kombucha tea to start a new batch and repeat the process. If the newly formed scoby forms stuck to the older scoby simply tear off the new SCOBY to use with the new batch. Dispose of the older scoby.
- You can drink the remaining kombucha tea straight away or refrigerate.
- If you want a fizzier kombucha drink, (also known as secondary ferment), pour the kombucha tea into a glass bottle and place a lid tightly on and leave at room temperature. After 1 to 2 days, you can drink or refrigerate.
- Larger quantities of kombucha may be prepared from the second batch onwards, by increasing the ingredients proportionately.
Kombucha is best consumed 20-30 minutes before meals to improve digestion of the meals. Start with just a shot of 30mls a day and slowly build your way up to half a cup to 1 cup per day.
Your kombucha can be kept refrigerated (for up to two week in fridge or up to two years in freezer) when you are not fermenting. The kombucha tea can be kept in refrigerator for up to two weeks
Mould can form on the culture if the brew is not acidic enough – usually because insufficient starter was used. It can also form because of poor hygiene. If there is any mould on your culture throw it away and do not risk drinking it. Insufficient air flow to your bre can also spoil it, hence why we cover it with just a cloth and not a lid. Kombucha can become spoiled with a variety of other microorganisms, depending on the environment and conditions under which it is brewed. The acidity of kombucha will normally protect against harmful microorganisms, when spoiled, it will smell or taste unpleasant.
Kombucha isn’t for everyone – those with histamine issues, some allergies and some digestive issues react to the bacteria in kombucha. Not sure if kombucha is for you? Ask Carly !