Kombucha 101

Chances are by now you’ve heard the word kombucha mentioned around the health and nutrition world. Perhaps you know exactly was it is and drink it often. Or you could have no clue what the heck I’m talking about. Komboo-who?! This wonderful health elixir is something I’ve been drinking regularly for years and absolutely love! It has many health benefits and is a good alternative to soda and alcohol. It’s gone pretty mainstream and can be found in most grocery stores, but can also be easily made at home in your own kitchen. So here’s your kombucha 101 class.

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha, pronounced kômˈbo͞oCHə, is a fermented beverage that dates back thousands of years. Though the exact location of origin is not confirmed, it’s thought that the beverage originated in China.

Kombucha is the result of fermenting sweetened black (or a mix of green) tea with a “scoby” (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) yeast for 7-10 days. It can be bought in most grocery stores or made at home right in your kitchen. The result is a fizzy probiotic rich beverage that’s delicious and nutritious.

Benefits

The health of our gut dictates the well being of our entire bodies. Everything starts in the GI tract with 70+% of our immune system lying in our guts  and 90% of our serotonin being made there. That’s why keeping it in balance is of the upmost importance. These days taking probiotics is on many people’s list but let’s take it one step further. Consuming foods that having naturally occurring probiotics is even better! This is where kombucha comes in. Along with other fermented foods (sauerkraut, miso, kimchi), kombucha contains probiotics, tiny bacteria. Probiotics help proper digestion by helping keep the gut in balance. This can assist in the assimilation and absorption of vital nutrients, keep inflammation down, maintain a healthy weight, reduce our risks of most diseases, and more.

How Do You Make It

There are a few ways you can start making kombucha. The first (and easiest) way is to find someone who can give you part of their “scoby” or “mother”. One can also purchase scoby starter kits online.

The third way (and how I originally made mine) is to purchase a plain kombucha from a health food store. Make sure it’s an original, unflavored one. Let the kombucha sit out on the counter until it reaches room temperature. In the meantime, brew up some sweet tea.

My Kombucha Tea Mixture

  • 1 gallon glass jar, wide mouthed (I found mine at Target)
  • 16 cups of filtered water
  • 9 tea bags (I do a mix of black and green. 5 black and 4 green)
  • 1.5 cups of sugar
  • 1 store bought original kombucha

Directions:

  1. Place 16 cups of water in a large pot. Bring to boil.
  2. Take pot off hot stove and stir in tea bags. Set timer and let steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove tea bags after 5 minutes and mix in sugar.
  4. Cover and let sit until the tea reaches room temperature.
  5. Combine bought kombucha and tea to glass jar.
  6. Cover jar with cheese cloth or paper towel and secure with a rubberband.
  7. Let sit for several weeks. You should notice a film growing on the top. This is the MOTHER!

Note: If you are getting a scoby from someone, follow the same directions minus the store bought kombucha. Instead, just add the sweet tea and scoby (plus a bit of its liquid) together. Fermentation will take around 7-10 days depending on the time of year. In the winter months the fermenting process takes longer and vice versa in summer. Just depends on the temperature of the room that it’s stored. Taste test around the 7 day mark to see if it’s close to the desired taste. The longer the fermentation, the more vinegary.

Flavoring

If you’ve checked out kombucha at a store, you’ve probably noticed the wide range of flavors. Ginger, pomegranate, apple, lavender, you name it. This happens in a second round of fermenting. While you can use cold-pressed juice to flavor kombucha, I enjoy using chopped fruit and herbs.

One of my go-to flavor is ginger and lemon. Simply cut up fresh ginger and squeeze fresh lemon into your kombucha. Voila! Another yummy flavor is apple and rosemary. I find this phase the most the fun. You can really experiment and come up with some incredibly delicious and unique flavors.

Are you going to make kombucha? Please let me know along with the combinations you decide. <3

Happy Booching!