Brewing your own Kombucha health drink

Probiotic drinks are all the rage these days and kefir and kombucha tea are amongst the most popular. Before we learn how to brew our own kombucha tea, let us learn a little more about it.

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is said to be an over 2000-year-old health drink from northern China. Kombucha (also known as Manchurian fungus, tea fungus or Chinese fungus) is a fermented beverage with a slightly acidic taste and is prepared by sweetened tea that is fermented by a gelatinous colony of microorganisms.

Benefits of kombucha

Kombucha can be helpful in treating arthritis due to its cartilage strengthening properties. It is also known to help improve digestion and other gastrointestinal problems. Other benefits include relieving migraines, stimulating metabolism, serving to treat ulcers and kidney stones and benefitting vision. It can also be used to treat many degenerative diseases and is very beneficial for hair health.

How to brew your own kombucha?

There are two ways to make your own kombucha, either you buy a mushroom/kombucha scoby + one of the kombucha starter kits for sale or you create your own Scoby using ready-made kombucha from the grocery store.

Step 1: Boil 1 litre of water.

Step 2: Pour the water into a plastic, glass or ceramic bowl. Add tea to the water (black or green without flavour) and allow to soak for 15 minutes

Step 3: Pour 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir so that all sugar dissolves in the liquid. Try to avoid metal tools when brewing kombucha as metals can damage the culture. The sugar will be “eaten” up by the fungus and it is the sugar that allows the fungus to grow.

Step 4: Pour all liquid into a 3-litre glass, plastic or ceramic container. Add 1 litre of cold water.

Step 5: Let the liquid cool and when it has reached the right temperature, you can add 2 cups of starting fluid (ready-made kombucha drink) and the Scoby.

Step 6: Cover the jar with a piece of cloth and secure it with an elastic band. Place the jar in a warm and dark place – around 23 degrees. The hotter the place it stands on, the faster the brewing goes, but direct sunlight can damage the fungus. Now just wait!

A new layer of cream-colored scoby should begin to form on the surface of the kombucha in a few days. It usually joins the previous scoby, but it’s okay if they split up. You can also see pieces of brown fibres floating under the scoby, sediments that accumulate in the bottom and bubbles that accumulate around the scoby. This is all normal and is a sign of healthy fermentation.

After 7 days, start tasting the kombucha every day, pouring some of the liquid into a cup. When you reach a balance of sweetness and acidity that is pleasing to you, the kombucha is ready to bottle.

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