Let’s talk kombucha. If you’re like, what is kombucha? Well, read on!
In this article I’ll explain more about what kombucha is, what the health benefits are, and most importantly: how do you make your own kombucha?
So, what is kombucha?
The simple answer is: it’s fermented tea. It’s a fizzy drink with a sweet taste, made out of tea, sugar and yeast. It’s slightly alcoholic because of the fermentation process, but contains less than 0,5% alcohol.
Kombucha is made by fermenting sugared tea using a “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”, also known as SCOBY. It’s also called “the mother” – like when you buy organic apple cider vinegar with “mother”. It’s a strand of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the drink a cloudy appearance. This what a scoby looks like (it doesn’t look very appealing!):
You need one of these to brew your own kombucha. I bought one online from happykombucha. As soon as you’ve got your hands on one and start brewing, however, it will naturally produce more scoby’s, also known as “baby scoby’s”. So if you have a friend who’s already brewing kombucha that you know of, it’s worth asking them if you can have one of those baby scoby’s! I give mine away for free as they keep on growing and growing.
What are the benefits of drinking kombucha?
Kombucha is rich in beneficial probiotics. It also contains antioxidants. This 2014 study confirms that the fermentation process of kombucha makes it rich in probiotics. Probiotic bacteria are similar to healthful bacteria that can be found in the gut. Consuming these probiotics may improve the overall gut health – it can help treat diarrhea and there are even studies that suggest it may help ease the symptoms of IBS! (source)
Is it safe to brew your own kombucha?
I’ve been brewing my own kombucha for over a year now and my gut seems very happy with it. I’ve never become ill or anything, but I must warn you that it is very important to keep the environment you make the kombucha in as sterile as possible. It has never happened to me, but mold could grow on your scoby if you don’t handle it with clean hands. Make sure the scoby doesn’t touch any metals – take off rings before handling a scoby. Because of the acidic composition, kombucha will leach toxins from the metal. Avoid this by using glass fermentors and wooden utensils.
You might also be interested in…
How Does a Vegan Diet Affect Your Gut Health? (Warning: Poop Talk)
- 6-8 tea bags (Make sure to use a base of “real” tea, be it green, black, or white)
- 160 grams organic cane sugar
- 1 scoby
- 2,5l water
- I use a glass jar that holds about 2.5 litres. Always make sure the tea is lukewarm/cold enough before pouring it in the jar, as it can be dangerous to pour hot liquid in a glass jar!
- Boil a big pan of water (2,5l) and put 6 to 8 tea bags in it. Add 160 grams of sugar and stir occasionally. When it reaches it’s boiling point, remove the pan from the heat and wait half an hour before removing your tea bags.
- When the sugared tea is cool to the touch, pour it into your glass container. Now add the scoby. It might float, sink, or something in between – do not worry because the position of your scoby will not influence the brewing process.
- Find a spot to store your container – not in full sunlight. I put it in a cupboard.
- “Burp” your kombucha daily by opening the lid slowly – this releases the gasses so there is no pressure on the jar.
- It can take anywhere from 5 to 18 days for kombucha to be ready. If this is your first time, try tasting a little bit every day and see if it’s to your liking. If the brew tastes fruity and not like tea, it’s ready. Keep tasting the kombucha until it has reached a flavour that you like, but don’t wait too long – I once totally forgot about a batch and the taste was just like pure apple cider vinegar, yuck!
- When your brew is ready, put it in another container in which you plan to keep the drink in, and place it in the fridge. This will slow down the fermentation process. Remember to leave the scoby sitting in a small amount of the brew in its brewing jar (about 125 ml) so you can use it for the next brew.
- Enjoy your kombucha as it is, or add some ice cubes on a hot and sunny day! 🙂