Kombucha seems to be one of those age-old hippy tonics that has been gifted a sudden revival- captured by health professionals and hipsters alike, kombucha has been given a brand new status as a popular and indeed funky drink to publicly enjoy.
Like so many health remedies that are good for you, Kombucha is actually easy to make at home. It costs very little to brew and it is a great addition to your daily diet.
1 liter of water
1/2 cup organic sugar
4 organic black tea bags
1 cup pre-made kombucha (from a previous batch or a commercial bottle)
1 SCOBY* (bought or given from another source)
15 mins (+ 7-10 days) Minutes
1 bottle (+ more!)
Boil the water and then pour it into a large glass jar or container.
Add the tea bags and sugar.1
Stir well and allow to steep until the water cools (this can be left overnight too).
When the tea is cool, remove tea bags and add the pre-made kombucha and the SCOBY.2
Cover the container/jar with a towel or muslin and secure it with an elastic band.
Allow this to sit for 7-10 days in a shaded dry place.
*The recipe and method is indeed very basic. You do need to find yourself a starter culture that is called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) The SCOBY can often be found in health food stores, online or perhaps given to you by a friend that already makes kombucha at home. When you brew kombucha, you will find that the SCOBY grows and multiplies, so anyone brewing their own fermented drinks will often have an excess of starter cultures that they can provide you with. Once you have the SCOBY, all you need to make your first batch is ½ a cup of sugar and 4 black tea bags.
While that may not sound like the base of a healthy probiotic beverage, the SCOBY feasts on the tea and sugar, converting it into healthy organic acids and creating an effervescent fermented beverage with a slight tang that is both tasty and good for you.
Kombucha has been fermented and brewed for over two millennia and has been said to have qualities that detoxify the body and energise the mind. Because it is naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, Kombucha is a probiotic beverage rich in living enzymes and healthy bacteria. This has a myriad of benefits such as helping to improve digestion, fight candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, increase mental clarity, and enhance mood stability. Kombucha is also extraordinarily rich in anti-oxidants which means it has the power to boost your immune system and energy levels.
When you make kombucha at home you may find that it will ferment at a different rate depending on the outside air temperature – so you may find that in winter, you need to brew a little longer, and in summer four or five days may be enough.
The kombucha should taste sweet but not too sweet, a touch vinegary but not too vinegary. You can add a squeeze of lime juice and some chopped ginger or try adding some chopped fruit (apple or strawberries work well), or herbs (mint is lovely), or citrus, ginger or turmeric. It is deliciously refreshing, rejuvenating and energizing- the perfect beverage to enjoy on these warm Spring days.
At the end of 7 days, try the kombucha and see how it tastes. If it is too sweet you can leave it a little longer, if it is too vinegary, it may have been left a little too long – it will still be ok to drink, but maybe next time you can shorten the duration. As you make more batches you will be able to tell how long to leave it fermenting for your own liking.
When you are happy with the taste, remove the SCOBY and strain the liquid into a new jar to store in the fridge to drink. You will need to keep 1 cup of the kombucha for your next batch! You can store the SCOBY in this 1 cup of liquid until you are ready to make a new batch.