What is it?
Kombucha Tea is a fermented drink consisting of sugar and black or green tea that is cultured by a series of microorganisms into a sour drink. The making of the drink involves a ‘scoby’, which stands for a Symbiotic Community Of Bacteria and Yeast which is also know as ‘ the mother’. These organisms feed off the sugar and the tea in the mixture. Once the mixture becomes sour it is ready for consumption.
The scoby is a weird white spongy, rubbery looking thing with bits of brown stringy bits hanging off it.
You will need to get a scoby from a friend. As the culture grows it has ‘ babies’ and you can separate the scoby and give it to someone else. You can also buy them online but I haven’t tried this.
Why is it good?
We are actually more bacteria than we are human! We have bacteria in and on our whole body and our cells DNA are outnumbered by these little critters DNA 10:1. Can you believe that? I get so excited when I talk about this as it complelty blows my mind. We are more bug than human! The vast majority of this bacteria (microbiome) is in our gastrointestinal track. Having a healthy balance of bacteria in our small and large intestine is crucial for good health.
There are millions types of different bacteria strands. Some are beneficial to our health and some are not. We are always going to have ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in our gut but it is the balance between the two that is really important.
Different types of microorganisms feed on different things in the gut and guess what? Bad bacteria feed on junk food and good bacteria feeds on healthy foods, in particular the fiber from fruits and vegetables.
Good Bacteria in Our Gut helps us with
- The Break down food we would not otherwise digest (mostly the fiber)
- Produces some nutrients such as Vitamin K and some B vitamins
- Provides a defense system in our body against deadly pathogens
- Helps with DNA expression for some of our genes that are involved with immunity
When Kombucha is consumed the cultures are also consumed which then helps increase the good bacteria in our gut.
Here is a fantastic animation on our microbiome so you can understand why balancing our gut bacteria is soooooo important.
You will need;
- 2 liter glass jar
- 2 x 1 liter air tight glass bottles
- 1 cup sugar (any sugar is fine as the culture feeds on bacteria)
- 8 black tea bags (2 table spoons of loose leaf)
- 1 liter of boiling water
- 1 liter of room temp water
- 1 Scoby
- Some starter culture (a bit of existing kombucha)
- Pour 1 liter of boiling water and sugar into the jar and stir so it dissolves
- Add the teabags to the hot water and let it brew for 20mins.
- Remove teabags and let it cool
- Pour the mixture into 2-liter glass container. Don’t use metal or plastic, as it is not good for the SCOBY
- Add the remaining water
- Add the SCOBY to the top of the mixture
- Cover with muslin cloth,tea towel or paper towel and place an elastic band around the top
- Sit in warm spot out of direct sunlight for 7-14days (approx). The SCOBY will feed on the sugar and the tea. You can taste the mixture every few days. Once it becomes a little bitter like vinegar it is ready to go. If it is colder you may need longer for it to ferment.
- Remove the SCOBY into a bowl with some liquid.
- If you want to flavour it now is the time (if you don’t want to flavour go straight to step 11). Add any flavour you like to the jar. Some of my favorites are ginger, lemon, berries, ginger and turmeric, beetroot & mint. Keep the flavouring in the jar for a few more days on the bench top. You may get another scoby that forms on the top during this time. This is ok. You can just remove it in step 11.
- Pour the liquid into an airtight glass bottle through a funnel and a strainer to strain the flavouring.
- Close the sealed bottle and sit on the bench for a few more days to carbonate. You will see the bubbles starting to rise to the top
- Serve and enjoy. The way you drink your kombucha is entirely up to you. Some people shot it others drink it like a drink or mix it with some sparkling mineral water.
A few notes about the scoby
- It is possible for a scoby to go ‘bad’. If the scoby goes black or grows mold on it this is not a healthy scoby. Remove the outside layers and discard and try starting again. If it continues to go black you may need to get another scoby
- Remove the outside layers every few brews. You can pass these scoby ‘ babies’ on to friends or discard.
- Taste the mixture every few days to see where the fermentation process is at
- If you go away or want to have a break from fermenting just pop the Scoby in the fridge. This like all fermented foods brings a halt to the fermentation process.
- Make sure you start off however with small quantities and build it up as your body make take some to adjust. Start with a shot and build it up to 2 glasses a day max. Even though it is good for you there is such a thing as TOO much off a good thing. Remember its all about balance.
- Talk to your scoby everyday… say nice, loving things to it. This seems to help. No seriously it seems to help. Don’t ask me why – just listen to the crazy lady and speak to your scoby, if you can sing without dogs howling then perhaps this would be good too!
Try it out and let me know how you go! If you are already into Kombucha do you have any cool flavours ? Please feel free to share your experiences and insights in the comment section below!