Kombucha…. ITS ALIVE!!!
Kombucha is a fermented tea that is comprised of…
1. A SCOBI: SCOBI stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.
2. The Inoculant; a “starter” liquid from previously existing Kombucha.
3. The Substrate: a sweat tea mixture i.e. tea + sugar
By combining the above ingredients and allowing the process of fermentation to occur, the tasty and delicious beverage known as Kombucha begins to take over your life.
A few more details…
Fermentation in food processing is the process of converting carbohydrates in to alcohol or organic acids using micro oraganisims, yeast or bacteria under anaerobic conditions.
History of Kombucha:
In the earliest Kombucha origin story, the 1st emperor of china consumed lingzhi or“The elixir of immortality”. The beverage dates back to 221 B.C. Many versions exist in cultures from Japan, and Russia that have individual recipes for fermented tea.
Kombucha fits into any lifestyle and diet and make a perfect starting point for anyone who wants more healthy bacteria and yeast in the body. Other benefits include:
1. Promotes healthy bacteria in the gut
2. Supports healthy liver function
3. Boosts energy
4. Reduces blood pressure
5. Aids in healthy cell regeneration
Basically preparing and drinking Kombucha helps to support a healthy lifestyle and can improve ones ability to make further positive health choices leading to better overall body function and well being.
How to make Kombucha:
1. Buy a SCOBI
2. A bottle of your favorite Kombucha that is “live” or unfiltered (Synergy brand seems to always work)
3. Black, green, white, pu-erh or oolong tea
4. Organic cane sugar, pasteurized honey, or pure maple syrup
5. Clean filtered, non chlorinated water
Brew in glass, porcelain, ceramic, food grade plastic. Don’t use any sort of metal.
Getting started simple batch method: 1 gallon
1. Take 1 quart of the water and bring to just below boiling
2. Take 4-6 tea bags or 1-2 tablespoons of loose leaf tea and steep in a separate container than the one in which the Kombucha will ferment in.
3. Mix 1 cup of sugar into the hot steeping tea until dissolved completely.
4. Steep for 5- 15 minutes
5. Pour 3 quarts of water into Kombucha vessel.
6. Add the sweetened tea to the water in the vessel.
7. Allow for liquid to cool to luke warm temperature.
8. Then place your SCOBI into the vessel.
9. Add 1-2 cups of starter liquid (the bought kombucha)
10. Cover vessel with a breathable cloth, secured with a rubber band.
11. Place in a warm dark location at 75*- 85*
12. Allow fermentation to take place for 5-7 days. This will vary by the temperature and other conditions such as batch size
13. Test your Kombucha and see if you like it!
Putting the starter on top of the scobi acidifies the ph to the top of the vessel and adds a layer protection from bad pathogens.
Don’t drink all your Kombucha if you want more!!!
How to make your next batch:
1. Assemble tools
2. Start water boiling
3. Remove SCOBI and Starter Liquid (substrate) for next batch in separate bowl.
4. Rinse the vessel
5. Put tea in pot and steep
6. Remove tea bags and stir sugar
7. Pour cold water into vessel
8. Add sweet tea
9. Add SCOBI and Starter Liquid
10. Cover and allow to ferment
Continuous Brew Method:
2.5 gallon vessel with a spigot is used to brew up a batch.
8-12 tea bags
2 gallons of water
2 cups of sugar
2 full size SCOBI
2-4 cups starter liquid.
Brew as before…
When it tastes right start to drink, bottle or store. Do not take more than 50%. Add a “top- off” tea for the amount that has been used and wait for it to brew for 2-5 days. This allows for a continuous brewing without the previous method of creating a whole new batch.
How to get sick on Kombucha:
When first starting to drink Kombucha you may get sick. This is usually a response to drinking too much too fast. Drink 2-4 ounces mixed with water to see if your body accepts it. If you feel like you want to chug the buch it is probably a sign your body wants the good bacteria and is supplying nutrients to your bod! But take it easy and then you can enjoy more, more often. Back off if there is a problem.
The weird world of SCOBI:
The SCOBI is a zoogleal mat that is a mass of bacteria and yeast tied together with cellulose nanofibers.
The primary bacteria is acetobacter xylinum which produces a copious amount of cellulose, creating the thick spongy creamy white mass.
The byproducts of yeast fermentation feed the bacteria, and the byproducts of bacteria fermentation feed the yeast. As millions of micro beasties party like its 1999!!!
The SCOBI reduces evaporation of the tea and carbonation that is brewing while protecting the bacteria and yeast of their food sources.
The symbiosis of yeast and bacteria create anti bacterial and anti microbial situation.
Often the SCOBI will look strange to you, if not simply gross. This is okay and only is a problem when obviously molding, smells like rotten eggs or something has gone wrong. If is seems bad just throw it out and start again.