Have you tried Kombucha Tea? After a year of enjoying water kefir soda, I finally decided to take the plunge and give kombucha a try. I’m so glad I did! Kombucha tea is a drink made by fermenting black or green tea brewed with sugar. The result is a slightly effervescent, very flavorful tea that is delicious and very high in probiotics and enzymes!
Benefits of Kombucha
There are so many reasons to make your own kombucha tea. Check out this great infographic created by Kombucha Kamp to get a quick view of this incredible beverage:
Kombucha purchased at the store is expensive, but it’s easy to make at home. I’ve found it to be lower maintenance than kefir, as it doesn’t need to be fed daily. There are tons of benefits that are linked to drinking kombucha and other fermented drinks. My thought is that probiotics are so important to our health, it’s better to get them from a locally-sourced, live culture than it is to take them in tablet form. And besides, it’s so much more fun to sit down with a glass of yummy iced tea (maybe with a splash of fruit juice) than it is to pop a pill!
To brew Kombucha at home, you’ll need a starter. This is called a SCOBY, which stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (I know…not so appetizing. Now that you know what it stands for, go ahead and forget you ever read it). The SCOBY is a flat, pancake-like disk that forms on top of your tea as it ferments, you can get one from a friend or order one from a source like this one. You’ll also need some organic black or green tea bags, a cup of organic natural sweetener (but not honey, which could kill the beneficial bacteria and cause an imbalance in the ferment) and chlorine free water. For your first batch, you’ll need 1/2 cup of already-brewed tea…you can find this at a health food store.
First, brew a strong tea with 4 organic teabags in hot, chlorine free water. You can boil 2 or 3 cups of water, drop the tea bags in and let them steep for about 15 minutes. Then, remove the tea bags and mix in a cup of sugar (I use organic unbleached evaporated cane juice). Pour this into a large glass container, and add 3 quarts of filtered water and the 1/2 cup of kombucha. Finally, drop the SCOBY in and cover the opening of the container with a double layer of cheesecloth secured with a rubber band.
Place your kombucha in a dark place, where it won’t be disturbed. Let it brew for 7 days, and then check on it…you should see a new SCOBY at the top of the glass container, the old one will probably have fallen to the bottom (but it might be stuck to the new one, and that’s okay too). If you ever wondered why some people call the tea SCOBY “the mother,” it’s because it multiplies and provides a brand new SCOBY with every brew cycle. Pretty neat! You can toss the old one, or give it away…just put it in a little kombucha and pass it along.
Once you’ve removed the SCOBY, pour the kombucha through a plastic sieve (avoid using metal utensils with your tea, it’s not good for the cultures in the tea). The tea is ready to drink now, but if you’d like it a little fizzier you can add some fruit or fruit juice to it, place an airtight cap on top and let it sit for one more day. Then, pop it in the fridge and drink a little every day…delicious and so full of beneficial probiotic goodness!
- 3 quarts filtered water (no chlorine)
- 4 organic black or green tea bags
- ½ cup already brewed kombucha tea
- 1 cup organic evaporated cane juice
- Kombucha SCOBY or cultures (get one from a friend, or order online)
You'll also need a glass jar, a plastic strainer, cheesecloth and something to secure it to the top.
- Wash and sterilize the jar. Boil 3 cups of the water and and steep the tea bags in it until you have a very dark, strong tea.
- Dissolve the sugar in the hot tea. Let it cool to room temperature.
- Pour the tea in the jar, then add the brewed kombucha and the SCOBY. Pour the rest of the water into the jar.
- Secure a double layer of cheesecloth over the jar lid with a rubber band or canning ring. Place the jar in a dark place where it won't be disturbed (you'll want it to be room temperature).
- Let the tea brew for 7 days. Remove the cheesecloth and carefully remove the SCOBY from the top of the jar. You may see the original SCOBY stuck to it, or it might have fallen to the bottom of the jar. Remove the old SCOBY (you can give this away or toss it) and set aside the new one in a container with a little tea.
- Strain the tea through a plastic strainer into a new, clean jar. Leave about 10% of the tea in the original jar to start a new batch. If you'd like, you can add ½ cup of fruit juice. If you'd like your tea more fizzy, make sure the jar has very little space left in it and cap it tightly. Let it brew for an additional day.
- Start the process over with a new batch of tea!
- Keep the finished tea in the fridge, and drink a little tea daily (it's a good idea to start with a little and work up).
Once you start brewing, you'll have a continuous cycle of kombucha to enjoy and share!
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