Kombucha is a fermented drink, popular since ancient times. It’s a simple fermentation process, with the end result being a sparkling probiotic drink. The added benefit of Kombucha which is getting everyone excited is after fermentation Kombucha contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes and other goodies which can help with,
- Increased Energy
- Immune Support
- Reduced Joint Pain to name a few.
I must admit I am a tad cheeky and do like to freak people out by showing them my Scoby!! ha-ha
What’s a Scoby?
Well it’s the gross looking gluggy like critter that you brew Kombucha from. Scoby stands for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria or Yeast. I well and truly freaked everyone in my home out a few weeks back when I brought my scoby out after over 12 months of holidaying in the dark depths of my kitchen cupboard.
A Kombucha scoby is NOT meant to look like this. This is what happens when you don’t feed it properly for 12 months or more, I think it’s a mirror image of the state my own health was in before I started taking care of it!
I was able to revive the sad-looking Scoby above, you can see the baby floating at the bottom of it, this is what I used to start a new batch. The chickens and the garden got to feed on the creature above that, this was at least 12 months old and wasn’t fed sugar or new sweet tea mix, or had a portion of old liquid removed as is recommended regularly if you’re not using it for longer periods…whoops, lol I must admit it wasn’t the first time this happened, it was a good 12-18 months last time I left one, and it came back to life as well. I just discarded the majority of the liquid then did another new batch and it was back to life with no issues.
The Scoby is super important in the process, and after each batch your starter Scoby (which is sometimes called the mother) will grow an extra one underneath, this is affectionately called a baby, cute right! (I love using the word affectionately when talking about something as gross looking as a scoby lol)
(If you look to the right side of the pic above you can see the separate layer of scoby, that’s the new baby)
Now you can use this new one to get an extra batch going, you can pass it onto a friend or you can keep it aside to use at a later date. Always ensure you’ve got 1-2 glasses of Kombucha liquid (mother tea) with it to keep it alive, which goes into each new batch. Just think of it as Little Miss Scoby taking some luggage with to its new home. The mother Scoby can give you a month of brewing, so just ensure if giving away to friends that you do have fresh one for yourself.
Where can I get a Scoby?
If you don’t have any fungus loving friends to pass one onto you, check online a lot of people share them, if they’re not in your local area you may just have to pay postage, or ask your healthy friends, or at a local health food shop, someone usually knows someone who makes Kombucha.
Clothing From Kombucha!
How’s this, not only is it a healthful elixir but Kombucha can even be made into clothes, I kid you not!! The Kombucha culture (Scoby), when dried, becomes a leather-like textile known as a microbial cellulose that can be molded onto forms to create seamless clothing. The Kombucha textile is similar to cellulose and is sustainable and compostable. In 2014, designer Sacha Laurin debuted a clothing collection made entirely out of Kombucha textile. Check out more of her talented designs here.
What’s in Kombucha?
A main ingredient for Kombucha is sugar, but don’t freak out, you need it to feed the yeast during the fermentation process. At the end of the process, there is very little left. Same goes with the caffeine content in Kombucha as it’s brewed on black tea, if you’re concerned about this, you can use half black tea and half decaf tea. Using black tea usually works out to about a third of the caffeine of that which is was brewed with, so if you have issues with your health and can’t do caffeine this is something to consider. I can’t sleep if I have caffeine so I consume mine in the mornings and it doesn’t seem to have an effect on my sleep.
How Much Kombucha should I drink?
There is no set rule with the consumption of Kombucha, as it is a probiotic, a lot of people consume 150ml three times a day. It’s always a good idea to try starting with maybe one dose a day to ensure it agrees with your body. It really is a personal thing and depends on your body. When it is brewed for longer period, all the sugars are fully converted into organic acids during the fermentation process. It is recommended to brew it longer if you suffer from candida or are diabetic. In this case in can be quite beneficial for those with candida, read more info here at Kombucha Health.
Blueberry flavoured Kombucha. You can see the Blueberries floating in the top of the bottle.
The recipe I usually use is below but you can find recipes all over the web. They’re tonnes of different recipes all over the internet, in books and magazines. Everyone has a different way they prefer to make it. The basic ingredients are Scoby, white sugar, black tea and clean water (not chlorinated or fluoridated water). You may want to buy bottled water if you can’t get your hands on good quality water, chlorine and other yukkies in the water will kill your Scoby. I’ve also included a second recipe if you would like to follow with another ferment to flavour your Kombucha.
Ensure you equipment is clean and that you are using clean filtered water only.
You will need a stainless steel saucepan or I use my Thermomix.
A large wide mouth glass jar for fermenting. (The wider mouth is easier for scoby retrieval)
- 1 Scoby and Mother Tea (approx 1-2 cups)
- 2 litres Filtered Clean Drinking Water
- 4-6 Black Tea Bags
- 150 grams white sugar
Using a clean Stainless Steel saucepan (I use my thermomix)
Boil the water
Once its boiled, turn off and add the sugar
Then add the tea bags to brew for 10 minutes
Remove tea bags
Let sit until cool
Pour cooled tea into fermenting jar along with Scoby and Mother Tea. You do NOT want to add a hot liquid to your Scoby or you will kill it.
I cover jar with paper towel secured by a rubber band.
Allow to ferment in a clean, darker area of your kitchen away from excessive heat. I put mine in a cupboard in my kitchen.
Leave for 1-2 weeks to ferment. If it's cooler you might want to leave a little longer, 7 days is usually enough.
After fermenting, you can then add liquid (ensuring you leave enough mother liquid for your next batch) to a bottle for your second ferment to flavour it.
Details in next recipe.
Scoby’s are very fragile sensitive little critters.
Be kind and gentle. Don’t over handle. Don’t add hot liquid to it. Don’t leave it in direct sunlight. Don’t use nasty chlorinated, fluoridated water.
Remember it’s a fungus, it likes cool ,dark places to grow.
After your initial ferment you can do a second ferment and add flavouring in the way of fresh fruit, see below recipe.
This is my Blueberry Flavoured Kombucha.
Flavoured Kombucha Second Ferment
Glass bottles with sealable lids in desired sizes. I usually just make up a large single bottle
Fresh or frozen fruit to flavour with. There are recipes on line for adding herbs and other liquids.
- Fermented Kombucha Tea
- Fruit for flavouring
Ensure you leave enough Mother Tea with your Scoby for the next batch. After you complete the following second ferment steps it's time to get started fermenting with your Scoby again.
Using a funnel, (you may want to strain it, I don't bother) fill your desired sealable bottle/bottles with the Kombucha Tea leaving a good breathing gap at the top
Then you will want to add approximately 20% fruit to the liquid. Don't stress to much on this, my measurement changes each time and I'm always happy with the final flavour. In a one litre bottle I add a handful of fruit.
Close lid of bottle and leave to ferment for another week. After one week you can check the flavour, I'm usually happy with 1-2 weeks fermenting for this stage.
Then pop in the fridge, ready to drink. 🙂