Kombucha : A Living Drink
September 22, 2018
Kombucha is a fermented sweetened tea that’s been around for centuries. It has a tangy and sweet flavour, and can be “double fermented” with fruit or juice to make a fizzy drink similar to soft drinks.
Kombucha is a fermented drink that contains a variety of nutrients and beneficial acids. It can help maintain and support gut health, and is an excellent way to bring more diversity into your Real Food protocol.
Make your own Kombucha
It’s not uncommon to see kombucha in stores and supermarkets, however making your own kombucha is simple, and can be a fun process.
BHT sells SCOBYs in the shopfront. $15 will get you the living elements you need to brew your own kombucha.
It’s kind of like having an alien living on your kitchen bench, that you can also drink…
But… the sugar…?
To brew kombucha you must first make a heavily sweetened tea using sugar. Understandably, some people worry about the sugar content, but there’s no need : your living drink takes care of the sugar for you during the fermentation process. The beneficial colony of bacteria consumes most of the sugar, so it has minimal effect on blood sugar.
The sugar is simply the food for the beneficial bacteria to thrive, and the beneficial acids, enzymes, and probiotics are a result of the fermentation.
But.. the caffeine and alcohol…?
While the caffeine is believed to be cut to a third of it’s original level due to the fermentation process, if caffeine is a concern, kombucha can be made with caffeinated or decaf tea, and even with green tea. To protect the culture, it is good to use at least 20% regular black tea though. Hollie has had years of success using White Tea only.
Kombucha can contain very small amounts of alcohol, typically around 0.5% or less, which is similar to an over-ripe banana. Some store bought brands contain more alcohol and are typically sold in a different section of the store and require ID for purchase.
Okay, I’m going in… what do I need?
Kombucha SCOBYs are available at the BHT shopfront for $15.
You will receive a SCOBY (acronym for “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast,” also sometimes called a “mother” or “mushroom”) and approx ½ cup of living kombucha tea.
You will also need :
1½ teaspoon loose tea OR 2 tea bags
¼ cup sugar
3-4 cups water (un-chlorinated)
a 1 litre glass jar or vessel
What sort of tea to use?
BHT recommends starting your kombucha batch with a White or Black tea. White tea will give a subtle flavour, whereas black tea will be stronger. Don’t use herbal blends. Once you’ve experimented for a while, and learned more about making kombucha, you can explore other options.
Combine hot water and sugar in a glass jar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. The water should be hot enough to steep the tea but does not have to be boiling.
1. Place the tea or tea bags in the sugar water to steep.
NOTE: Using a metal tea ball to contain loose tea for making kombucha is acceptable. The tea ball should be removed before adding the SCOBY and starter tea, so the tea ball will not come into contact with the SCOBY.
2. Cool the mixture to 20-25ºC. The tea may be left in the liquid as it cools or removed after the first 10-15 minutes. The longer the tea is left in the liquid, the stronger the tea will be.
3. Remove the tea bags or completely strain the loose tea leaves from the liquid.
4. Add starter tea to the liquid.
5. Add your active kombucha SCOBY.
6. Cover the jar with a beeswax wrap, a tight-weave towel or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band.
7. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed at 20-25°C, out of direct sunlight, for 7-30 days, or to taste. The longer the kombucha ferments, the less sweet and more vinegary it will taste.
Pour kombucha off the top of the jar for consuming. Retain the SCOBY and enough liquid from the bottom of the jar to use as starter tea for the next batch. OR Make your kombucha in a tapped vessel (like the one at BHT) and draw from the liquid whenever you like, always topping up with more cooled sugar tea to continue the ongoing living process of growth.
Here is a video showing you all the steps to kombucha making. NOTE : This woman is making a bigger batch, so her ingredient levels are different to what is suggested with a BHT SCOBY Kit.
Drinking your kombucha :
The finished kombucha can be flavored and bottled, if desired, or enjoyed plain.
Once the kombucha has finished culturing, remove the SCOBY and enjoy it plain or add flavouring. Berries, herbes, fruit, and spices are some options for flavouring your kombucha. There is no limit to the flavouring possibilities.
For a fizzy finished kombucha, try bottling it in a flip-top, Grolsch-style glass bottle or other tightly-sealed container.
Problems with your kombucha?
Get yours at Braidwood Holistic Therapies
BHT has Kombucha SCOBYs in starter tea in our shopfront. $15 each.
Come in on a weekend or phone (02) 4243 8032 to set up a time.