"Kombucha is a tea-based beverage that is often drunk for its health benefits or medicinal purposes.
Kombucha is a living health drink made by fermenting tea and sugar with the Kombucha culture. The result can taste like something between sparkling apple cider and champagne, depending on what kind of tea you use.
The first recorded use of kombucha comes from China in 221 BC during the Tsin Dynasty. It was known as “The Tea of Immortality”.
Kombucha tea has been reported to be a cure-all for a wide range of conditions including baldness, insomnia, intestinal disorders, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, and cancer.
Supporters say that Kombucha tea can boost the immune system and reverse the aging process. Kombucha tea is said to contain antioxidants, compounds that block the action of free radicals (activated oxygen molecules that can damage cells). For people who have cancer, proponents claim the tea can improve the body’s defenses (especially in the early stages of cancer) by detoxifying the body and enhancing the immune system. After the body has been detoxified, the tea is said to help repair and balance the body and fight off disease."
I myself have noticed great health benefits in drinking kumbucha on a daily basis, especially since I have a history of very poor gut flora and related health issues.
But now, onto how to make kumbucha as I make it in my kitchen. Please note that disclaimer since I have met quite a few people who make kumbucha who have their own methods and they work equally well - this method just seems to work the best for our household.
First I start with filling two gallon jars each with the following ingredients:
- 1 cup cane juice crystals (use white sugar if that is all you have)
- 4 Tablespoons of loose organic tea/4 tea bags of organic tea (Any tea is fine as long as it is organic and as long as you put in at least 1 Tablespoon/tea bag that is caffeinated. Also don't use naturally decaffeinated teas either.)
- 1/4 cup fruit (frozen blueberries and strawberries are my favorite to add, but I have also added peaches, raspberries, cherries, and even apples and applesauce)
Then, for each gallon jar, heat up 3 quarts of water to boiling and dump it over the sugar, tea, fruit mixture.
Let the tea cool to room temperature.
Now you need to have a SCOBY, which stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast, or otherwise referred to as the “mother” or “mushroom”.
Again, these SCOBY's are available on the internet just like the milk kefir grains, but it is even better if you can get one from a friend. And, if you are local, I have at least three in the back of my refrigerator that could be given away at any time. To tell you the truth I keep them there because I experiment a bit some times with my kumbucha and have been known to kill a few SCOBYs in my day.
All right, back to the process. Next you need to add a part of a SCOBY and about 1/2 cup of the previous batch to your new tea. Here is a picture of the SCOBY I pulled out of my previous batch, cut in two and removed the strawberries from.
Here is part of the SCOBY and a half cup of the just finished kumbucha just added to the new strawberry batch. The other batch I made, was made with chai tea and applesauce.
I then cover the two gallon containers with cloth and rubber band to allow the mixture to ferment and breathe. The fermenting process takes 5 to 10 days and it depends upon the size of your SCOBY and the temperature of your room. A finished batch should have formed a new SCOBY on top that is whitish in color and the tea should have a bit of a vinegar smell, be bubbly, and not look like syrup anymore - the SCOBY by this time will have done its work and digested the sugar and turned it into many wonderful digestive aids and acids.
Caution - When you start drinking kumbucha, start off slow. Kumbucha detoxifies your body and carries out harmful substances that have made homes within you. This process should be done slowly, but over time you can drink as much as you feel is necessary to maintain good digestive health.
When my kumbucha is finished, I strain it into a glass dispenser I keep in my refrigerator. I just add the new to the old and every once and a while I clean out any SCOBY that develops in the dispenser (it happens slowly since the process slows down due to the cold temperature).
That's it. I hope you are encouraged to start your own.