How to Make Kombucha Tea
Kombucha tea is a wonderful, fermented drink that promotes digestive and over all health for those who drink it. Kombucha has quite an interesting history which can be discovered by searching “kombucha” on Wikipedia. Essentially, what we know as kombucha here in America originated in Russia, but this type of fermented drink has roots in China and possibly Japan, as well.
Why Drink Kombucha Tea?
If you are here to find out how to make homemade kombucha, then you probably already know the benefits of kombucha. I’ll give a brief overview of the purported health benefits of kombucha for those of you who are still unsure.
Kombucha contains bacteria (the good kind) and yeast and helps to populate the digestive track with probiotics. As I’ve discovered in my own journey toward health, a healthy digestive system is essential to overall good health. Balanced gut flora is the answer to many ills.
Kombucha also contains many acids (these acids are what keep dangerous bacteria from growing and creating a deadly brew), one of which is glucaric acid. Glucaric acid, in short, is important to liver function. Glucaric acid is also being studied as a cancer preventative.
One of my personal reasons for drinking kombucha is that, in addition to the health benefits, it is fizzy and has helped me to overcome my soda cravings as I’ve settled into a traditional foods (and thus, soda-free) diet.
What does Kombucha Taste Like?
A SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast)
What You’ll Need:
1 cup of organic cane sugar
2. Place 3 organic black tea bags and 2 organic green tea bags in the water.
3. Steep for 15 minutes.
6. Place SCOBY, 2 cups of kombucha and room temperature sweetened tea in a large glass container.
8. Put the container in a quiet place in your home (not in a dark closet, it does need some light, but not much.) and let it brew for at least 10 days.
- You can make your own SCOBY. Here’s how. It does work and I made my first SCOBY this way. It took nearly a month. If you know someone who makes his or her own kombucha, then I’m sure he or she will be glad to give you a SCOBY as a new one grows with every single batch of kombucha made. We always have six of the above batches (three double batches) going at once and therefore, plenty of SCOBYs.
- If you do not want to make your own SCOBY and do not have a friend from whom you can get a SCOBY, you can buy a dehydrated SCOBY online. Find a Kombucha Starter Kit here!
- You must use a glass jar to brew your kombucha. No plastic pitchers or metal containers, please! The SCOBY is an excellent “cleaner-upper” and will leech all sorts of ick from plastic and metal containers. The container you use must be glass and nothing but glass. I use thiswithout the lid. Your kombucha needs air.
- Use only filtered water. Do not use tap water. The chlorine that is found is most tap water will kill the culture.
- Use only organic cane sugar. Do not use honey. Do not use sucanat. Do not use any other form of sweetener than organic cane sugar. Non-organic cane sugar can kill the culture because of the bleach in the sugar left over from the processing of the sugar. Other sweeteners do not provide the correct pH for the culture to thrive and could leave you at risk for mold and other safety issues. I don’t recommend using processed cane sugar for any purpose except making kombucha. Since the yeast uses up the sugar during the brew process, it is not present in the finished product.
- Use only organic black and green tea. Organic black tea MUST be used for the pH balance reasons listed in the above note. Organic Green tea is optional, but recommended. Do not attempt to use any other type of tea when making homemade kombucha. Using non-organic tea is up to you, but organic tea is non-GMO and should contain less fluoride than conventional tea.
- When cooling the sweetened tea mixture, do not let it cool too long. The longer the tea sits out in the open with no SCOBY, the more likely the sugary mixture is to attract dangerous bacteria. At the same time, do not use tea that is above body temperature because heat will kill the culture. As soon as it reaches room temperature, pour it in the glass container with the SCOBY and starter kombucha.
- Cover your kombucha with a flour sack cloth and secure with a rubber band. Do not cover it with an air-tight lid as kombucha needs air to work its magic.
- Brew kombucha for at least 7 days and up to 30. How long your kombucha takes to brew will depend on the temperature in the room where the kombucha is brewing. During the summer months, we’ve found, it takes less time to brew. Our “sweet spot” for kombucha in our home is between 10-12 days. Before ten days it is still too sweet because the yeast has not used up all of the sugar for its biological processes and after 12 days, it’s stronger than we like.
- Do not drink kombucha that appears to be moldy. If you follow the advice I’ve given here, it is not likely that you will ever have moldy kombucha. However, if you do, throw out the entire batch-SCOBY and all.