If you have ever been to a Whole Foods, you have probably heard of the “yogi’s choice” beverage: Kombucha, coming in anywhere between $3 and $7 per bottle. Kombucha has a myriad of benefits that are superior to other beverages, hence the enthusiasm and willingness to shell out top dollar for it. Chinese medicine has even coined it the “Immortal Health Elixir.” Here we’re dishing on WHAT (the hell) IS Kombucha, what are all of the benefits and HOW can you save money and brew it yourself.
First off, WHAT IS KOMBUCHA?
Kombucha has been around in other cultures for over 2,000 years, with rising popularity in the U.S. in the last 3 or 4. It is simply sweetened tea combined with a SCOBY: Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. It is considered a colony because of it’s ability to reproduce (or “mushroom”) a group of genetically identical organisms living together. It is also one of the best forms of probiotic (because it is fermented, cultured) we can incorporate into our diet. Contrary to popular belief, there is no mushroom involved in kombucha. The ‘Mother’ SCOBY reproduces identical organisms, the ‘Daughters’, which gives it the appearance of a mushroom, but is scientifically a completely different type of fungi.
Second, WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS?
The list can go on forever, but these are the top benefits of drinking kombucha:
- Because there is natural fermentation process due to the yeast and bacteria, there is a high amount of probiotic in each glass. Probiotics improve digestion which directly correlates to clear skin, improved mood, candida prevention and an overall healthy day-to-day lifestyle.
- It is rich in an abundance of enzymes and bacteria that your body needs for a complete detoxification. Kombucha is very high in Glucaric acid which supports the liver and aids in a natural body detox, and has been known to fight cancer. It helps the body assimilate food more easily.
- Kombucha is naturally rich in antioxidants which support the immune system and energize the body.
- Kombucha is loaded with glucosamines which increase synovial hyaluronic acid production, meaning: it supports the preservation of collagen aiding in joint pain and arthritis.
- There are many studies that show how kombucha can be associated with weight loss due to the acetic acid content (just like apple cider vinegar). I personally think it might increase the metabolic rate, but more importantly, making the lifestyle switch to drink kombucha as your afternoon ‘pick-me-up’ instead of a latte, cookie or chips is the reason people have had weight loss success.
OK, now: How To Brew Your Own Kombucha:
- Prepare the sweet tea. I brew in a 2.15 gallon jar leaving 20% room at the top, using 10 English Breakfast tea bags and 2 cups of organic cane sugar (the sugar reduces about 90% during fermentation). The measurements will largely depend on the size of your brewing container. Roughly: 1 cup of sugar per gallon of tea.
- I brew the tea directly in the container because my kitchen resources are low with minimal space and equipment, but it is VERY important to let the tea (+ container) completely cool before adding the Scoby. I waited 24 hours. Don’t forget to remove the tea bags if you’re using the same container.
- Pour 1/2 cup of the other kombucha into the jar (this gives the brewing process a head-start).
- With really clean hands, place the Scoby on top of the liquid. It should float, if it doesn’t at first – it will situate to the top of the jar within a few minutes. I used metal tongs before I knew that metal+SCOBY is a bad mix (hence the photo above), avoid metal contact with the Scoby!
- Place the dish towel on top, as a lid, and close with rubber band to prevent fruit flies from entering. The images above with the lid are when I was just brewing the tea, once you add the Scoby, the gases need to escape in order to ferment so you use a dish towel, cheesecloth or coffee filter.
- Let sit in the corner of your kitchen at room temperature (75 degrees-ish) for about 10 days. You can taste it to check if it’s ready, it should be a good mix of sweet and tart. I did not brew in front of the window, just for the photos!
- Bottle into airtight containers (old kombucha bottles, mason jars) and place in the fridge. You’re ready for another brew! The bottled kombucha will last a little over 1 month.
- When you get ready for your next batch, make sure the Scoby is placed in the fridge with liquid (preferably from the kombucha) in between brews.
TIP: If you know anyone who brews their own kombucha, they can give you one of the ‘daughter’ scoby’s that grows off of their ‘mother’. Thanks Maria!
There you have it! Any tips? Will you attempt at brewing your own kombucha? Dish below or Tweet @allgoodhealth_!