Kombucha: This tea is said to have originated in Asia. The name is a combination of: kombu – Japanese for kelp and cha – the Japanese word for tea. It is now consumed all over the world because of its many health benefits. It’s made from a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture/Colony Of Bacteria & Yeast), which some erroneously call a mushroom due to the resemblance.
A SCOBY is a gelatinous pellicle correctly called a “kombucha scoby” – which is, essentially, a colony of bacteria and yeast. When brewed successfully, the fermentation process creates a health tonic.
The two organisms that are living together (symbiotic) within this scoby will release byproducts during the fermentation process that have many health benefits, such as antioxidants and B Vitamins.
One gallon of kombucha is made by brewing black or green tea (around 8 tea bags) and dissolving one cup of sugar in it, allowing that to cool and pouring the tea and sugar mixture into a wide-mouth gallon glass jar. Fill the jar almost to the top and make sure the mixture is completely cooled before adding your kombucha scoby and one cup of already prepared kombucha.
Everything must be sterilized thoroughly before making your tea. If you don’t have a friend who makes it and could give you a scoby and starter kombucha, then you can order online. Gaia Brand has a great starter kit that’s inexpensive.
Cover the lid with a tea towel and secure with a rubber band. Place your jar in a cool, dark, sanitary area. I place mine inside my kitchen cupboard where it is dark and the perfect temperature.
Allow it to sit and ferment for at least 8-10 days. I prefer to brew mine for 14-17 days. If something goes wrong in the process, you will know! You will be able to see, taste and smell that it has gone bad. If that happens, then throw it out and start all over from scratch with all fresh ingredients, including a completely new scoby.
I’ve brewed my own kombucha on and off for 15 years now and I’ve never had a batch go bad. I sanitize everything in the dishwasher and sanitize the area where I’m working and always wash my hands thoroughly before handling any of the materials.
How do you know when it is ready to drink? That is up to you and your taste buds. If you like it sweeter, then go ahead and bottle it for drinking earlier and if you like it more acidic, then brew it longer.
If you’d like to flavor it when it’s ready, give it a good stir first (use wooden or plastic utensils – no metal) and pour into glass bottles. Leave some space at the top of each.
Save your “mother” scoby and the newly formed one (you’ll get a new “baby” scoby each time you brew a batch) in a sanitized glass jar with at least one cup of the prepared kombucha you just made, place a lid on top and set aside in a dark, cool area – you’ll be using those to start another batch and you’ll also have the option of sharing the new scoby with a friend who’d like to try making kombucha.
Place about a 1/4 Cup of any 100 percent juice or 100 percent juice puree into each of the bottles. You can also add some fresh peppermint leaves or fresh ginger juice – the flavoring possibilities are many and you can get creative in your combinations of flavors.
Cap those bottles tightly and store in the fridge. Allow the flavors you added to marinate for 2 days and your kombucha is ready to drink! Careful removing the lid – naturally occurring carbonation can cause the lid to pop off quickly and can be dangerous.
Don’t shoot your eye out, Kid! Some people choose the glass bottles with attached lids in order to avoid a situation like what Ralphie from A Christmas Story faced with his Red Ryder BB Gun. You’ll be o.k. – just take precaution.
Here are some of the many possible health benefits of drinking a half cup of kombucha daily: probiotic, boosts the immune system, improves energy, improves digestion, can help with a good night’s sleep, relieves stress, improves cholesterol levels, improves insulin resistance, balances blood sugar levels and provides you with beneficial acids that trigger enzymes which help dissolve proteins.
There are some counter-indications to be aware of. Those who have acidosis, ulcers, gastritis and SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth) should avoid drinking kombucha.
Also, the fermentation process does create a very small alcohol content (.5 percent or less). https://www.healthline.com/
Always do your research and/or check with your health care practitioner before trying.
Kombucha should be consumed in small amounts. Drink only a half a cup a day and if it tastes a bit too strong, dilute it. If you purchase store-bought, choose a brand that has less than 2 grams of sugar and only drink half a container a day.
Remedy Brand is my personal favorite. If you’re trying to quit soda, this might just be the perfect solution.
Be Well and God Bless you.
I drink a ton of Kombucha, the 8% stuff is amazing.
The pellicle is just that – the pellicle. It is not the SCOBY. The SCOBY is inside the liquid itself. You do not need the pellicle to brew kombucha, but you do need starter tea (aka, SCOBY).
I’ve been home brewing kombucha for a while and have tested this; results in perfect kombucha every time, no pellicle necessary.
In addition to my previous comment: the pellicle is simply a byproduct of fermentation, it’s just a cellulose mat. Sure, some of the yeast and bacteria may adhere to the pellicle, but the real gold is inside the liquid itself: aka, the SCOBY. The culture of bacteria and yeast live and breed inside the tea throughout fermentation, that’s the stuff you want!