If you are into healthy and natural products you have probably heard about Kombucha by now.
Kombucha, is known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese and it is believed to have originated in the Far East around 2,000 years ago. Kombucha is a fermented beverage of black tea and sugar (from various sources including cane sugar, fruit or honey). It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that are responsible for initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar. After being fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, b-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic), which are said to have the following effects**:
- Improved Digestion
- Weight Loss
- Increased Energy
- Cleansing and Detoxification
- Immune Support
- Reduced Joint Pain
- Cancer Prevention
** This statement is based on online research. I am not a doctor nor an expert and my opinion shouldn’t be taken in replacement of medical advice.
Kombucha, Healthy or not?
While many kombucha fans believe the drink can cure almost any ailment you can think of, science hasn’t quite provided any evidence yet. A few studies suggest kombucha may have very real health benefits including the ability to improve respiratory function, soothe ulcers, boost energy, improve metabolism, and promote detoxification in the body. However, most of these studies have been conducted on rats; however very little research has looked at kombucha’s health effects on human bodies. Still, kombucha does boast health benefits in the form of antioxidants and probiotics, or healthy bacteria that have been linked to improved immunity, attitude, and general health.
Most importantly, kombucha doesn’t seem to pose many health concerns or side effects except when consumed in excess or brewed in unsanitary conditions. Either of these circumstances may result in upset stomach, acidosis (when the body contains too much acid), or allergic reactions to mold or bad bacteria that may form in an unsanitary batch.
How to Brew Kombucha at Home
Ready to give kombucha a try? There are all kinds of kombucha recipes you can try at home. Recipes vary by flavor and intensity, and the best way to find your preferred kombucha is to experiment with a variety of recipes. So get your chef had on, and wrap that apron around your waist and get ready to experiment!
You’ll need the following equipment to get started:
- Tea (either bagged or loose)
- Starter tea (a little bit of kombucha) (optional)
- SCOBY, which you can obtain by:
- Purchasing a starter culture (called a “mother”)
- Using one from a friend who has extra from their own home brewing
- Growing your own from scratch using these instructions 15
- Large glass jars
- Flavorings such as fruit juice, chopped fruit, honey, herbs, spices, or flavored tea (optional)
- Stock pot
- Small funnel
- Smaller glass jars to store the finished product
The kombucha brewing process generally looks something like this (recipe adapted from The Kitchn):
- Mix the tea base: Steep the tea and dissolve the sugar into the tea.
- Transfer the sweetened tea to jars and add a SCOBY to each jar: You may choose to add starter tea during this step.
- Ferment the mixture for seven to 10 days: Taste the kombucha after seven days, and continue to ferment until you achieve a flavor you like. The tea should be mildly sweet and noticeably tart. As soon as you like the taste, you can bottle the kombucha.
- Remove the SCOBY: You may use it to start another batch of kombucha. Store the SCOBY in sweet tea in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it again. Around every other batch, you’ll be able to separate the original kombucha SCOBY (the “mother”) from the new SCOBY layer (the “baby”) that forms on it. Once you’ve separated them, use the baby to start the next batch of kombucha and compost or share the mother.17
- Bottle the finished batch: Use the small funnel to pour the kombucha into the smaller jars. Set aside a little bit of kombucha to use as starter tea for another batch, if desired. This is also the time to add any flavorings.
- Carbonate the kombucha: Allow it to sit at room temperature (make sure it’s not exposed to direct sunlight). After one to three days, move the kombucha to the refrigerator. (Note: Some recipes suggest transferring the finished kombucha directly to the refrigerator, instead of letting it sit out to carbonate. This results in a less fizzy kombucha).
If you give it a try, let me know what you think! It is an acquired taste so don’t knock it down at the first try. If anything, you can always use it as a toner for your face to rebalance your skins natural Ph, or as a salad dressing with your favorite salad combination!
Pages like http://www.culturesforhealth.com/ have everything you need to make your own Kombucha.