You guys, I just made my own kombucha. From scratch. And it was amazing!
In case the hipster train has skipped you entirely, there’s a recent kombucha fad that’s taking over the nation. But the joke’s on us, since kombucha has been enjoyed for several centuries in Eastern Europe, Russia and Japan.
What is kombucha? Essentially, its a fermented drink made from a “scoby” (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts) placed into sweetened green or black tea. The scoby consumes the sugars and, in exchange, produces a range of probiotics, organic acids like glucuronic acid, gluconic acid, lactic acid, acetic acid, butyric acid, malic acid and usnic acid; vitamins, particularly B vitamins and vitamin C, and antioxidants. It’s essentially a powerhouse of health in a bottle.
When I drink kombucha, I notice an increase in energy, reduction of belly bloat, a more settled digestive system, and a reduction of anxiety. Others report joint health, immune health and even cancer resistance (although none of these benefits have been “proven”). Much in the way we take zinc and echinacea for colds, people drink kombucha for the way it makes them feel, whether or not science has verified proof of the outcome.
A good friend had an extra scoby from a previous batch of kombucha that she offered to me, and I jumped at the opportunity to start brewing my own batch.
The initial process takes about 10 days. First, I started by brewing 8 bags of black tea with a cup of sugar in a large, one gallon jug. I added my scoby, filled the rest of the jug with water, covered it loosely, and set it in a dark corner of my kitchen to ferment for the next week or so. (It can ferment anywhere from 7-30 days, depending on how acidic you want your tea to be.) During this time, my scoby went from a gelatinous disk to more of a jellyfish, with long, slimy strings growing in every direction.
Once the tea is fermented, I transferred it to individual bottles that each contained a small amount of organic juices (lemon, ginger, and berries are all easy and popular). I capped each bottle and let it finish a second ferment for a few more days. Once completed, I popped them in the fridge to stop the process and enjoyed them cold!
Let me tell you, homemade kombucha tastes quite different than store bought. It’s smoother, less acidic, and (obviously) more customizable. Plus, I save the $3-4 per bottle that I was spending previously! And since my 2 year old loves it as much as I do, I can control what she’s consuming and monitor exactly what goes into each batch.
Have you tried making your own kombucha? What do you do differently? What flavors are your favorite? I’d love to hear!