Kombucha is the New Super Drink
Okay, so if you asked me six months ago what I thought about Kombucha, I would have thought that was the name of a foreign film. Today, however, I have a very different opinion on the subject. Seemingly out of nowhere, Kombucha has taken over the health food world (and I’m all about it)! Kombucha is full of antioxidants and vitamin B – it is said to promote a healthy gut, and speed of metabolism.
So, what the heck is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea! Essentially, Kombucha consists of black or green tea (sometimes both) that is saturated with sugar, and then is combined with a bacterial culture (called a SCOBY) and yeast. Don’t fret, we will get into more detail further down. SCOBY sounds like a crazy word, but it’s really not that wild – it’s a bacteria (the good kind).
SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. Fancy science talk, I know. Basically, this means that bacteria and yeast work together (symbiosis). The SCOBY is needed to create Kombucha, but also the SCOBY is a product of the Kombucha. I know, its super confusing and I don’t know if anybody fully understandswhat the SCOBY does, but its a necessary part of the process.
When you are starting your Kombucha, you need a SCOBY. Simple as that. You can either grow your own, or you can purchase one on Amazon. You can even get one off of somebody that is already making Kombucha. Why? Because SCOBY’s are also a product of making Kombucha.
You start with a “mother SCOBY” that is added to your sweet tea, and over a couple of days will ferment the tea into Kombucha. Each batch of Kombucha will create a brand new, “baby SCOBY”. The baby SCOBY grows on the underside of your mother SCOBY and should be separated when full grown.
The Benefits of Kombucha
Okay, so people aren’t drinking Kombucha just because it’s fun to say and it tastes absolutely wonderful. It’s fizzy, has bits of SCOBY floating around, and kind of smells a little odd. But we LOVE it. We love it because it’s good for us, guys! Kombucha has ridiculous health benefits, and we all want to be healthy, right?!
How To Make Your Own Kombucha (Continuous Brewing System)
For starters, I grew my own SCOBY from scratch. Everything I had read online stated that I needed an unflavoured raw Kombucha to start my SCOBY, and I couldn’t for the life of me find this anywhere. I lived in a small city, and so my options were quite limited. I opted for GT’s Gingerade Kombucha, because it seemed like the most basic flavour that was available to me. While everything I read said this wouldn’t work – it did! My SCOBY grew beautifully, within about 2 weeks and I was ready to start brewing my own Kombucha.
Growing Your Own SCOBY
Unless you choose to purchase a SCOBY from Amazon, or from a fellow Kombucha brewer, you will need to make your own. This sounds like a daunting task, but trust me when I say it’s easy peasy!
You will need:
- 1 bottle of GT’s Gingerade Kombucha
- 4-5 bags of Natural Tea (black)
- 3 cups of Clean Water
- 1/4 cup of Raw Sugar
Once you have these ingredients rounded up, it is time to start growing your little SCOBY friend.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Add tea bags, and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Remove tea bags, and pore tea into glass jar (mason jars work for this) leaving enough space for 1 cup of kombucha.
- Add GT’s Gingerade Kombucha to glass jar, and cover with tightly woven cloth (This will keep bugs and debris out, but lets the mixture breathe).
- Place in dark place at room temperature for 10-14 days, until SCOBY has formed at the surface of the tea.
You may combine green tea with black tea once you are brewing your large batch of Kombucha, but as for now, your growing SCOBY is happiest with black tea!
Brewing Your Kombucha (The First Fermentation)
I opted for a continuous brewing system when making my Kombucha because it is more safe! My Kombucha is rarely sitting stagnant, because every couple of days I am draining the Kombucha and supplying my SCOBY with new sweet tea! I also have an endless supply of Kombucha on hand, which I obviously love!
To set up your own continuous brewing system, you are going to need:
- Large glass jar with spout (this is the one I have)
Yeah, that’s it, really. Aside from the obvious ingredients in Kombucha, the only difference between a continuous brewing system, and a traditional brewing system, is the spout! The real difference is your behaviour with the SCOBY and it’s fermented tea. Every week or so, you will be draining the liquid into your individual jars, leaving 20% of the Kombucha in the brewing system. You will then top it up, and continue as normal.
So, let’s get started. You will need:
- 1 Large glass jar with spout
- 7 cups of clean water
- 1/2 cup of raw sugar
- 6 bags of natural tea (black, green, or both)
- Starter tea (Kombucha – GT’s Gingerade)
- Boil water.
- Dissolve sugar in water.
- Steep tea and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Remove tea bags.
- Pour sweet tea into large glass jar and add starter tea (Kombucha).
- Add the SCOBY with clean hands (be sure that the tea is room temperature or it may kill the SCOBY).
- Allow to ferment for 7-10 days.
- Drain 80% of Kombucha into separate glass jars (with seals) and begin secondary fermentation process.
- Top up continuous brewing system with more sweet tea at room temperature.
That’s it, friends! I would say 90% of the Kombucha brewing process is waiting! It’s that simple!
Flavouring Your Kombucha – Secondary Fermentation
I’m not going to go into too much detail in this section because everybody does it differently! Lately, I have been so freaking lazy in doing this, and I just purchase an organic juice from the store (I love grape) and I use this to flavour my Kombucha! My only downfall with this method, is I find it is not quite as fizzy as I would like.
I used fresh fruit in the past, and this created a lot of fizz, however the fresh fruit created an odd consistency on the surface of my Kombucha.
I use old GT’s bottles because they still deal relatively well, but you can purchase actual fermenting bottles on Amazon and I imagine they may work better!
I am still in the process of perfecting my secondary fermentation, as I would really like to have a flavourful drink that was also fizzy and delightful!
If you have any tips for making Kombucha fizzy, please drop them in the comments!