It’s KOMBUCHA Tea!!!! It’s a lot of fun to say (KomBUCHA, KomBUCHA, KomBUCHA), but its even more fun to drink! Imagine a nice cold refreshing glass of your favorite tea, with a little kick that will make your mouth (and the rest of your body) beg for more! Oh, and it’s super healthy AND cheap to make at home! A total win win win!!
First, I need to thank my buddy and fellow blogger, Rachel, for posting a fantastic how-to on Kombucha. Her post inspired me to start my own batch, so without her, this post would not be here today! You can visit her and read about her great adventures in mommy-hood at her Reflective Mom blog
What is Kombucha tea? It is made from a sweetened tea (usually either a caffeinated or decaf. black or green tea), but the majority of the sugar ferments out. So, for my fellow Southern belles who are looking for a super sweet tea, this probably is not the best choice. But, trust me on this one. I think you will still love it!
The tea is fermented over 7 days to several weeks using a SCOBY (more on it below) which ferments (or eats) the sugar in the tea, making it more acidic. The grand result is a delicious drink that is probiotic and vitamin rich.
What in the world is a SCOBY, and where does one obtain such a thing? A SCOBY is a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast! Yea! Sounds like just the thing you want to use to make a delicious tea, right? YES, actually it is! Simply put, a SCOBY is a culture of bacteria and yeast, needed to ferment Kombucha. Every batch of Kombucha creates it’s own SCOBY, so if you know someone who makes this tea, ask them for one of theirs. You can pay it forward with your SCOBY’s once you brew your own batch. Or, if you are like me, and there was no SCOBY to be found anywhere near Ashe County, NC, you can buy one here!
If you go the mail order route, just make sure that you know when your SCOBY is going to be delivered. I’m no expert, but a SCOBY sitting in a hot mailbox for an extended period of time is probably much less then a fabulous idea.
A little history on this great stuff. This ain’t no crazy trend or latest craze, and Hollywood didn’t make it famous. Kombucha tea, also known as “The Tea of Immortality”, originated in East Asia around 220 BC during the Tsin Dynasty. Fast forward to 2015, and at about $4 for a 8 or 12 oz. bottle, you can find it in just about any grocery store. But, who wants to pay $4 when you can easily make it at home for less then $1 a gallon?
What you will need:
I LOVE this Kombucha starter kit! It has everything you need to get started! Great for gifts, too!
For my Girl Scout types that are easily prepared for any situation, here’s what you need to gather from your pantry:
A gallon size (super clean) glass (no plastic) jar
4 quarts of water
8 tea bags of your favorite green or black tea
1.5 cups of white sugar (no substitutes)
1 SCOBY (get here)
1 coffee filter and a rubber band
1/2 cup of Kombucha from previous batch
Heat water and add sugar. The water does not have to be boiling, just hot enough to dissolve the sugar. Add the tea bags, and let the tea cool to room temperature. This is really important because if your water is too warm, it will kill your SCOBY. Pour the tea into your jar. If this is your first batch of Kombucha, add 2 cups of white vinegar (or 1/2 cup per quart). But, if you have Kombucha tea already made, then add 2 cups of Kombucha. Now, add your SCOBY.
Cover the jar with the coffee filter and secure it with a rubber band (this keeps bugs, etc. out of your tea). Store your jar out of direct sunlight, in a place that is at least 70 degrees F. I placed mine in a cabinet above the fridge.
Kombucha needs to brew for at least 5 days and up to several weeks. The longer you brew, the more acidic and more nutritious your tea will be!
During this time, a new culture will begin to form. The longer you let the tea brew, the whiter and thicker your new “baby” SCOBY will be.
I tested my tea (easiest way to test is with a straw) at 7 days, but I wasn’t super happy with the taste.
I checked it, again, at 10 days, and decided to hold out until the 14 day mark. At 2 weeks, my tea was slightly carbonated, tasted awesome, and I was ready to indulge! It was delicious drinking it as is, but I decided to take it a step further to the “Second Ferment”.
Second fermenting involves adding either fruit or an all natural fruit juice (no added sugar) to your tea, then seal it tightly. Let it sit at room temperature for 2-3 days, or until carbonated to your taste. Be careful opening the jar, as the increased pressure from the carbonation may cause an initial, minor explosion. After 2-3 days, refrigerate your tea for a bit. Then, let your taste buds and your body reach a whole new level of delight from your own home brewed, totally healthy, quite lovely Kombucha tea!
Love Kombucha, and have a favorite recipe?! Please let us know by commenting below! We’d love to hear from you!!
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