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How to Make Kombucha

How to Make Kombucha

Kombucha is a slightly fizzy, tangy beverage made from fermented tea.  It’s been around for centuries and has a wide variety of reported health benefits including detoxification, immune support, improved digestion, improved liver function, increased energy and even cancer prevention.  In its most basic form kombucha is just sweetened black tea that is fermented by a kombucha mother (also known as a SCOBY).  The mother feeds on the sweet tea and converts it into healthful acids such as glucuronic acid, a potent detoxifier.  Despite being made from tea and sugar, kombucha tastes nothing like either of these ingredients.  I think it tastes kind of like mild champagne with a hit of vinegar – weird, but good.  Here’s how it’s done:

How to Make Kombucha

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Pour water into a saucepan and bring to a boil (keep it covered to reduce evaporation)
  • Remove from heat, add sugar and stir until completely dissolved
  • Add tea bags and let cool until it reaches room temperature
  • Strain the tea into a wide glass container.  I use a mason jar because they’re easy to store and I have a ton of them.  Wide containers tend to work best so you could also try using a bowl.  Whatever you choose make sure it’s glass because other materials can increase the chance of contamination.
  • Add the premade Kombucha and gently place the SCOBY on top, leaving at least an inch of headspace (it’s okay if your SCOBY sinks).
  • Cover the jar/bowl with cheesecloth, a coffee filter or a thin towel (you want to keep dust and bugs out but still allow for some air flow).
  • Place in a warm spot (preferably in the 70’s) for 7-14 days.
  • Start tasting it after a week, the longer it ferments the more acidic and less sweet it will be.  When it reaches your desired acidity, strain the liquid into an airtight glass container and store in the fridge.

Notes:

  • It’s growing!  When you make Kombucha the SCOBY multiplies.  Either SCOBY can be used for your next batch. They can be reused indefinitely so keep one and give the other to a friend!
  • Keep it coming – start brewing a new batch right away.  When transferring your finished Kombucha to storage containers first remove ¼ cup for your next batch.  Add your SCOBY and more sweetened tea and if you time it right your next batch will be ready by the time you’re finish drinking your first.
  • Kombucha warnings – Kombucha has been consumed safely for hundreds of years, but it’s not without some element of risk.  Warnings typically involve contamination and allergic reactions.  You can minimize these risks by making sure your hands and all containers used are well cleaned.  Make sure your kombucha ferments completely (at least a week and no remaining tea flavor) but not so long that you get sour lemon face when you drink it.  If you’re new to kombucha, especially if you’re prone to allergies, it’s wise to start out slow – only drink an ounce or two the first couple times.  As with anything, observe your body’s reaction and if it makes you feel bad – don’t drink it!  Many sources also advise against drinking kombucha if you are pregnant, nursing or below the age of 5.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/montage_man/4353666847/

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