Via Facebook I acquired my first mother/scoby and am on my way to creating my very first batch of home-brewed Kombucha! A scoby is actually an acronym for, Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (sounds pleasant, yeah!) The scoby/mother looks like a beige or white rubbery pancake. It is placed in sweetened black or green tea and turns a bowl full of sweet tea into a biochemical powerhouse, brimming with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and health-giving organic acids!
Kombucha is a “safe” homebrew option because it produces a bacterial component which ferments the alcohol (produced by yeasts) into an acid that in turn, decreases the amount of alcohol in kombucha. The acidity and mild alcohol content of kombucha typically resists contamination from most airborne molds and bacterial spores making it ideal to maintain.
I do suggest doing your fair-share of educating yourself on the process (much like canning, for those who are familiar) there are precise steps to follow and sterileness is key.
Why would one want to drink a tea made from fermented bacteria and yeasts? Because it’s GOOD for you! Kombucha has been brewed throughout China, Japan, Russia and Eastern Europe for at least two thousand years. The yeasts and bacteria in kombucha are known for producing antimicrobial defense molecules, enhancing immunity. The fermented tea is also referred to as an adaptogen which means, that it has a normalizing effect in living organisms. Drinking kombucha can help metabolize and bring your body into balance without harmful effects.
The organic acids found in kombucha are helpful with different parts of our bodies. Highlighting a few, glucuronic acid which also creates glucosamine is a great detoxifier aiding with allergies and liver cleanse. Glucosamine supports cartilage, collagen and synovial fluids that lubricate our joints (arthritis.) Another is lactic acid which helps to increase the body’s energy supply by increasing oxygen levels in the blood, supporting muscular activity. It also encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, which in turn, improves digestion and aids the body in breaking down nutrients.
It goes without saying, as young children we’ve been programmed to believe that things that are good for you, taste bad: spinach, cauliflower without cheese, brussels sprouts! Kombucha may be an acquired taste for some, I describe it as a pleasantly effervescent taste on your tongue, a tickle to your taste-buds, similar to sparkling apple cider or champagne (fancy!)
If you are intrigued you can buy pre-made Kombucha at many health or convenience stores in all sorts of flavors like GT’s Gingerade (below)
What you need:
4-5 tea bags: Green or black tea (1 bag of fruit tea may be used)***stay away from herbal/spice teas, the oils are too strong and can affect the fermentation
1 Cup Sugar (refined works best) and when it is finished fermenting, the sugar is mostly used up anyways
12 Cups H20 (water)
Large stock pot
Large glass jar
Boil water, add sugar + tea. Turn off heat, let steep at least 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and allow the mixture to cool ***completely, warm water can kill the mother/scoby.
Put in a big glass bowl or jar with a wide lid opening. Only use glass! Anything else may pose health risks. Add the mother/scoby, it will float near the surface or sink a bit, both are fine. Cover with a cloth + rubberband.
Wait 1 week to test and see if you like it. Wait a few days longer for stronger tea.
Keep in an undisturbed place with neutral temperature.
Once brewed to your liking remove the mother/scoby and strain tea into another jar/growler to store in the refrigerator.
Note: Kombucha mother/scoby with grow another mother/scoby on top of the original after 1 week. Peel off the new mother/scoby and place it in a plastic bag or covered glass container with at least 1 cup of original fluid from it’s tea of origin. Otherwise it will die. Use it to make another batch or give to a friend!
PS There are some health risks posed when fermenting kombucha. The Mayo Clinic + Western Medical sites claim there is no scientific research to support kombucha. Clearly this is bullshit but I do advise you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions!