I am in love with Kombucha. I don't drink soda pop (haven't for probably about four years now...) but every once in a while I really want to drink something fizzy. Occasionally I will grab a sparkling water, but my preferred effervescent beverage is... (you guessed it...)... Kombucha. Unfortunately, drinking Kombucha is not a cheap habit. A bottle costs around four dollars. On the fortunate side, however, it is extremely easy to make.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha has started to gain in popularity over the past few years, but still very few people know what it is, let alone why it is supposed to be good for them. Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from sweetened tea. The Kombucha scoby digests the sugar in the tea to produce acetic, lactic and glucuronic acid which help with detoxification. The scoby is sometimes referred to as a "mushroom". It is not, however, a fungus. It is actually a symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria. (Note: Therefore, if you have a yeast allergy you probably shouldn't be drinking it...)
How to Make KombuchaThere are slight variations on how to make Kombucha. The recipe is taken from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.
You Will Need:
3 quarts water (filtered preferred)
1 Kombucha "mushroom" (Buy online or get it from a friend who makes Kombucha)
4 bags organic black tea (Where to buy.)
1 cup organic cane sugar (Where to buy.)
At least a 1/2 cup Kombucha from previous batch
To start, bring three quarts water to a boil in a large pot.
While that is boiling, measure out 1 cup of sugar, and get out four bags of organic black tea.
When your water has reached a boil, stir in the sugar. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until completely dissolved.
Next, add in your four bags of tea. Cover and allow to cool completely.
When your sweetened tea has cooled completely, remove the tea bags. Pour into a clean glass bowl/large jar. Stir in your half cup Kombucha from a previous batch. Place the "mushroom" on top.
Cover with a cloth and leave at room temp until ready to drink (typically 7-10 days--though it can highly vary). When it has finished brewing, transfer to the refrigerator.
How can you tell if it is ready?
You best bet is taste. I have found that my Kombucha can take anywhere from 3 days to 6 weeks to brew. Mostly this depends on the temperature of my house. In the summer, it brews quickly, in the winter, not so much. Also, typically, my Kombucha grows a second mushroom, though occasionally (especially if the mushroom has been in the refrigerator for a while...) it is ready when the old mushroom has just grown bigger. Again, my advise is: taste it. If it still tastes like sweet tea, it's not ready. If it is slightly fizzy, slightly sweet and tangy, it's ready. Just be mindful because if it goes too long it turns to vinegar... not that I know this from experience...)
I always remove the mushroom(s) and place in a small mason jar with enough Kombucha to cover so I have the ability to make another batch when I want. If you get a second mushroom out of your brew you can give it to a friend or check out this article for more ideas.