Kombucha is a fermented tea who’s history goes back some 2,000 years. It is produced by using a culture called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Community of Bacteria and Yeast) or mother which feeds on the sugar in the tea, fermenting it, and reproducing itself in the process. It’s taste is similar to sparkling, apple cider.
The SCOBY is like a tiny biochemical factory producing beneficial bacteria and yeast, acetic acid, gluconic acid, and B vitamins in the finished Kombucha. The health claims for kombucha are wide and varied. I like the following as a balanced explanation of its health benefits;
“In both the literary reports and also in the many personal experiences reported during my focusing on Kombucha, the broad palette of complaints relieved by it is conspicuous. This Is explainable on the basis that Kombucha does not target a specific body organ but, rather, it influences the entire organism positively by effecting a stabilization of the metabolic situation and through its detoxifying effect of its glucuronic acid. This leads in many people to a heightened endogenic defense capacity against those toxic influences and environmental stresses which inundate us from many sides, resulting in the Invigoration of a damaged cellular metabolism, and the restoration and firming tip of one’s well-being.
Some of the health-promoting properties ascribed to Kombucha-tea require further research. However, other active mechanisms are entirely proven both by scientific testings and experientially, such as: regulation of the intestinal flora, cellular strengthening, detoxification and dross elimination, metabolic harmonization, antibiotic effect, facilitating pH- balance. “1
|SCOBY after 1 week|
1 pt komboucha
1 cup black tea
1 Tbsp sugar
|Fully grown SCOBY @ 3-4 weeks|
1- brew 1 cup of black tea
2- add 1 tblsp sugar
3- let cool to room temperature
4- in clean half gallon jar add tea to 1 bottle commercial organic raw and unflavored komboucha
5- cover opening with clean cloth. SCOBY must breath to grow. The surface of the tea and top of the SCOBY is the most favorable area for aerobic bacteria to grow, while anerobic bacteria will grow in the bottom of the jar. The oxygen available on the surface of the tea is also the perfect environment for the yeast to grow.
6- a small scum-like mass will grow in a few days
7- in 3-4 weeks a SCOBY will form, conforming to the shape of the jar. It needs to grow to about 1/4″ thick. Time to grow depends on temperature and humidity. Let nature take it’s course.
|SCOBY placed in Tea|
1 gal water
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 black tea bags
4 green tea bags
1- boil 1 gallon of water
2- dissolve 1-1/4 cups sugar completely by stirring with whisk
3- add tea bags and steep to desired strength (5-10min)
4- let cool to room temperature, about 2 hrs
5- pour tea into large glass jar or bowl (must be glass)
6- add the SCOBY and the tea it was grown in. Adding the tea it was grown in lowers the PH. Around 4.5 is desirable. Do not touch the SCOBY with metal. Use wooden utensils or your hands. Watch out, it’s a slippery bugger.
7- cover jar or bowl with clean cloth and place away from light or cover with dark towel. In my experience fruit flies can get through cheese cloth.
8- let ferment for 7-14 days as the SCOBY eats the sugar in the tea. The fermentation needs temperatures in the 70-80 degree range. A heating mat may be required in cooler climates. The tea will turn from sweet to sour as fermentation progresses. The tea should be 2.7 to 3.2 ph when finished, but you can judge by taste by periodically tasting a small sample of the brewing kombucha. It should become progressively tart as time passes. I’d suggest buying some commercial kombucha first to familiarize yourself with the proper taste.
9- remove SCOBY and place in bowl or jar and cover completely with the fermented tea to keep it moist. It can be kept in a sealed bowl or jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 months if covered with the tea and no closer than 1 inch from the lid of the bowl or jar.
10- transfer the kombucha tea to bottles or jars and store in refrigerator. Fill to brim in tightly sealed jars. Without air the bacteria action stops but the yeast will generate additional carbonation over the course of a few days.
11- keep about 25% of the tea for the next batch you make to maintain a consistent result
12- there will be residue on the bottom of the jar in which the kombucha was fermented. You may strain the kombucha through a clean cloth but it’s not necessary if you don’t mind the pulp.
13- a baby SCOBY will grow on top of the mother every other batch or so. Remove it and use to brew your next batch. You can give the “mother” (original SCOBY) away or compost it.
14- The SCOBY can take on many odd appearances. The only concern is mold, which will look like mold on bread. If this happens throw it out, including the tea it was in, and start over.
1 Frank,Guenther W., “The Fascination of Kombucha“, http://www.acupuncture.com/herbs/kombucha1.htm
Written by Peter Wright
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