Kombucha

It has been two years since my last blog post. I plan on starting to post recipes again, and will begin another Whole30 on February 15th. My blog is generally a “paleo” food blog, but I’ve decided to make my first post back about Kombucha, considering the time I started drinking it coincides with my last blog post.

A question I’ve heard dozens of times over the last 2 years since I started drinking it…

What IS Kombucha?

My response is usually “Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage.”

This answer doesn’t usually suffice. People have more questions… and that’s where this post comes in.

I started drinking Kombucha (AKA “mushroom tea”) two years ago when I was getting recurrent throat infections, on a different antibiotic every month and was having stomach problems because of it. I couldn’t eat much, my stomach was upset all the time, I was losing weight and lost my appetite. And if you know me at all you know how much I love to eat and how terrible this was for me. Kombucha detoxifies, provides vitamins and amino acids, and helps with digestion through its probiotics.

Kombucha is pretty expensive, but with its popularity growing, more people are starting to brew themselves to save money. I have to say, I was pretty scared to brew it myself. I was afraid of mold, cultures and bacteria… but the more I read about it, and the more people I met that had done it themselves, the more excited I got at the thought of making it myself. A friend from work told me she had been doing it for a few months, so I decided to buy the book “Kombucha Revolution” by Stephen Lee after having borrowed it from her for a couple of days. I ordered a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) online (Amazon) from Karma Cultures and started gathering supplies.

This is my first time trying to make Kombucha for myself, so I decided to take some pictures and take you along the journey with me.

The Karma Cultures Company sends you an Easy Brew recipe for a 1 Gallon jar along with your SCOBY, and in only 5 steps it was pretty easy to follow.

What will you need? A SCOBY and “starter tea” (included with the SCOBY at Karma Cultures), purified water, 6 tea bags (organic high quality is best, green, black, oolong or a combination), organic evaporated cane sugar, a tea kettle, a wide mouthed gallon glass jar, a thermometer and patience.

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Step 1: Make the Tea – Boil 4 cups of water and let 6 bags of tea steep for 10 minutes.

Step 2: Sweeten Tea – Stir until the sugar has dissolved. This is the food for the culture to “eat” over the next 7-28 days

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Step 3: Cool Tea- putting a SCOBY in too warm water can kill it or cause mold

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Step 4: Add healthy bacteria (SCOBY)

Step 5: Wait, ferment. Cover with a cloth and elastic band, and keep in a warm dark place (in the cupboard above my fridge.)

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Day 3: You can start tasting at this point. Take a straw and go to the side of the jar and take a sip. If it’s still too sweet, let it sit for a few more days. 7-28 days is the suggested

amount of time.

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Day 7: I hate to admit it, but I made my boyfriend test it out first. I was a little afraid about how it would taste, and he’s brave when it comes to things like this. He tried it and he liked it, so I tried it and to my pleasant surprise it tasted like Kombucha! Just a little bit too sweet for my liking, so I let it sit for three more days.

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Day 10: Harvesting! Once your kombucha is to your likings, it’s time to bottle. Gently remove the SCOBY and bathe it in Kombucha in a clean glass bowl (and prepare to start the process all over again!)

You can finish the process at this point. Once you refrigerate the kombucha it will stop the fermentation process. You can flavor with different juices, I decided to add a few slices of fresh ginger to my green tea kombucha. I also decided to let it sit at room temperature in the capped bottles for another 48 hours to ferment a little longer and add more carbonation.

Why drink it? What are the benefits?

As I’ve mentionned before, I drink Kombucha for its probiotic properties and how it helps with digestion. I’ve read articles about people suffering from disorders (such as MS and arthritis) who swear by its healing properties. It has been around for centuries, and its origins go back to Asia and Eastern Europe. It’s full of B Vitamins, amino acids and enzymes to help you get through your busy day. Some people drink it once a day, some twice, some three times.

What does it taste like?

Well, that can really depend, and differs from one batch to the other. I prefer the ginger flavor and a blend of green and black tea. It’s crisp and refreshing, and just a little bit sweet.

For more information I suggest buying Kombucha Revolution by Stephen Lee, this is where most of my information in this post has come from.

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