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Make it Yourself Monday: Kombucha

Most of you have probably heard of this probiotic rich tea based drink.  Over the past several years it has grown in popularity and it is now available in any health food store.  But it is super pricey- definitely not something I could afford to drink every day, even though at the recommended 4 oz per day a 16 oz bottle would last four days.
A young kombucha mother.

But did you know it is super easy to make yourself?  I'll tell you how.

There are two methods, depending on your resources:
  1. Find a friend, neighbor, favorite blog author (I have at least one SCOBY a week that I can send, and I've sent one all the way to Cali before), or person on craigslist who can give you a SCOBY (it stands for something, but I can't remember what... something colony of beneficial yeast) or "mother", OR
  2. Start from a bottle of plain commercial kombucha.

For the first method you would simply:
  1. Brew one quart of tea using 3 tea bags (must be black or green, no earl grey) and 1/4 cup of white sugar (I know I know, but it has to be white sugar... don't worry, most of it is consumed).  Allow this tea to cool to room temp.
  2. Add the scoby and 1/4 cup of the liquid it came with to the tea in a glass or ceramic container.  Cover securely with a piece of muslin or a dishcloth- I use a rubber band to secure the towel to keep the vinegar flies out.  Place in a dark out of the way place that is FAR AWAY from any other ferments you have going on in your kitchen.
  3. Wait four days, then taste the tea.  If it's as sour as you like, bottle it in whatever you have (leftover soda bottles, kombucha bottles, mason jars, grolsch style bottles... whatever floats your boat), assure the lid is tight, and ferment another 24 hours at room temp so your kombucha becomes fizzy.  The refrigerate.
That's it!

Kombucha mother- side view.
Starting from a bottle of commercial kombucha is a little more time consuming, but it is a good option for those who can't find a mother to start with.
  1. Buy two bottles of commercial kombucha- I like and used GT's, but any brand should do.  All kombucha should be raw and I have never seen a brand sold that wasn't, but just in case, make sure it's raw.  What you're looking for is lots of sediment and floaty looking things in the bottle.  Also, make sure you buy the plain kind.  You can drink some of the kombucha- in fact, you really only want the bottom 1/4 cup of each jar, with all the yeast and sediment.
  2. Brew your tea, using one cup of water, one tea bag, and 2 T. of sugar.  Allow the tea to cool to room temp.
  3. In a one quart mason jar (or any glass container you have handy) mix the room temp tea and your 1/2 cup total kombucha, making sure to include all the yeasty strands and sediment from the bottom of the bottle.  Cover with a cloth and secure with a rubber band.
  4. Place the kombucha mixture in a place in your kitchen away from other ferments.  In about a week a film should start to form on the surface- this is the mother beginning to form.  If any mold begins to form discard the mixture and start again, but since enough acid is included this is unlikely.
  5. When the film is about 1/8 inch thick brew another batch of tea using 1 quart of water, 3 tea bags, and 1/4 cup of sugar.  Allow to cool, place in your glass or ceramic vessel of choice, and carefully add your mother.  It doesn't matter if the mother floats or sinks.  Cover again and place back in your kombucha fermenting spot.  Allow this to ferment for two more weeks.  By this time your mother should have thickened significantly.  WARNING:  This two week kombucha will be very sour- you can do with as you may, but it is too sour for most tastes.  Some people use it to rinse their hair as you would with ACV.
  6. Then you're ready to brew your kombucha as per the instructions above.
I like my kombucha 5-7 days brewed, but this differs greatly depending on your taste and the ambient temp of your house.

Benefits of drinking kombucha:
  • curbs appetite and sugar cravings.
  • Great source of probiotics to improve digestion
  • Detoxifies the body and eases the load on the pancreas and liver.
  • Contains glucosamine, which is good for joints.
  • Can greatly reduce symptoms of depression, fibromyalgia, anxiety, and similar dissorders
  • Rich in anti-oxidants.
Of course, not everyone can get used to the taste.  I'm pretty sure I was drinking the kind with spirulina in it when I let my mom have a taste, but she reacted very violently to the taste.  And my husband refuses to taste it because the mother grosses him out and he says it smells like feet (men can be such babies, right?).  But I personally drink it because of the health benefits AND because I enjoy the slightly sour, slightly fizzy taste of the tea based beverage.

Do you like kombucha?  Have you tried it?


Candace said...

I love Kombucha! I let mine get really sour! By the way... thanks for getting me started on this mysteriously fun probiotic beverage!


SCOBY: Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast

Cait said...

I have to tell you, I am terrified of tasting it. I may try it soon though.

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