What is Kombucha
Kombucha is a fermented tea.
Essentially you make a gallon of very strong tea with a cup of sugar, allow it to ferment with a beneficial bacteria called a SCOBY, here is the acronym:
SCOBY is also called “the mother”. You may recognize that term from raw apple cider vinegar with the “mother”. (By the way I also am making my own raw apple cider vinegar). After the initial fermentation you can add fruit or veggie juice, allow it to ferment some more and then store in the fridge and enjoy.
1 Gallon of Kombucha contains 1 cup of sugar
Did I say SUGAR??? That WHITE POISON I so passionately preach against? Yes Sugar…however the sugar is not for you; the sugar is the food for the SCOBY. As is the “gasp” caffeine in the tea. You MUST use caffeinated tea as it feeds the bacteria.
By the time you drink the Kombucha the sugar and caffeine are consumed by the SCOBY and the only sugar you will be drinking is fruit sugar from any fruit juices you may add in the second fermentation process.
Now there are some amazing health benefits to Kombucha…also called Tea Kvass or you may have heard of Beet Kvass but before we get into those you should know you don’t have to make your own. You can pay $3-4 dollars for about 12-16 ounces at the grocery store, however, if you want to save money and have a better Kombucha, you can make it yourself for about 10-15 cents per quart…you will either spend time or money; the choice is yours!
Drum Roll…the health benefits…
1. Destroying Cancer Cells: Russians found that regions of their country where Kombucha or Kvass was consumed had extremely low cancer rates. Today we know the reason is due to D-Gluaric acid which a study published in the NIH states “Some human subpopulations could have reduced risk of cancer development by ingesting food rich in D-glucaric acid or self-medication with D-glucarates alone or in combination with other chemopreventive agents.” There are reports of people using Kombucha as part of their natural health plan to heal cancer; please check with a licensed health professional on all matters pertaining to your physical health and well being.
2. Boosts the Immune System: The SCOBY feeds on the sugar and caffeine and the “waste” produced by the SCOBY is beneficial bacteria! The good guys that keep your immune system and your brain working better. There are reports of improvement from viruses such as the common cold to HIV virus after regularly using Kombucha.
3. Detoxifies your liver: The rich vitamins and minerals along with the compounds such as D-gulcaric acid, assist the liver in eliminating all sorts of toxins from the body. This alone makes your entire system work better.
4. Normalizes bowel function: Again, the good bacteria in the Kombucha boost the good bacteria in your body to improve all forms of digestive and intestinal problems, even constipation and diarrhea. 5. May eliminate or improve arthritis and arthritis type conditions such as gout and even kidney stones. Günther W. Frank who wrote Kombucha, Healthy Beverage and Natural Remedy from the FarEast, believes these conditions are improved as the D-gluraic acid makes the calcifications that cause these conditions water soluble so they can be eliminated by the body.
The bottom line with Kombucha
Because of the naturally produced beneficial bacteria…Probiotics…regular use of kombucha has been reported to help ailments related to this bacteria being out of balance. Think anything related to your immune system, mood, mental clarity and digestion.
The side effects of Kombucha…if you get your immune system and digestion and brain working properly lots of great things can happen…right? Please seek the advice of a licensed health professional in all matters pertaining to your health.
Can You Drink Kombucha While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
Learn more about drinking kombucha while pregnant or breastfeeding, in this article by Mom Loves Best.
You can learn more from these folks who have researched and written about Kombucha:
My Tea Vault, Lisa has done a great job with researching the health benefits of Kombucha! Check out her post…
- 6 organic black tea bags oolong is really good
- 1 cup organic sugar
- Purified Water
- Cheese Cloth
- Rubber bands
- 1 gallon glass jar
- 4-6 glass jars with screw or lock top lids
- Homemade fruit juice or frozen organic fruit juice concentrate
- I don’t have a picture of boiling water…I think you know how to do that. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, remove from the stove and add 1 cup Organic sugar (no honey doesn’t work well because it is an anti-bacterial and the SCOBY is…bacteria) and 6 organic black tea bags. Allow to steep for 20 minutes, stir, remove tea bags and squeeze out all the liquid.
- Your bottle will look like this…although the SCOBY may fall to the bottom at first, that’s OK.
- Put the tea brew into your jar and add cold water almost to the top
- Cover the jar with a cheese cloth and secure with a rubber band (real high-tech, right?) Put the jar in a warm dark place…for me it’s the hot water closet. I’m talking with Phil about putting up some shelves in here for my brewery! There are two fermenting cycles…this is the First Fermenting.
- First Fermenting: Allow the “buch” to ferment for 3-4 days You will know it is ready for the next step if it does not taste like super strong sweet tea but more like a slightly sweet and sour weak tea. I stick a straw under the SCOBY and sip it. No Fender did not try the tea and pass out on the floor…he is just extremely tired from our long walk in the woods, chasing chipmunks and squirrels and swimming in the river at the bottom of our lot.
- Now for the FUN Part…when the Buch tastes right, slightly weak sweet and sour tea with a bit of a “bite”, you can add fruit juices to flavor it and make it taste fabulous like Martenillis’ or a sparkling juice. Some people like to put a bit of raw ginger, which is also a great health benefit. My fav is apple and lemon or cranberry. Grape juice will give it kind of a champagne or wine effect. Be creative, look on line for ideas. I bet Pinterest has some good ones.
- First strain the Kombucha into a bowl and then pour into your clean glass jars or bottles. The bottle should be 2/3 full of Kombucha. I usually MAKE my own juice with my juicer but you can also buy organic frozen concentrate. I used concentrate for the cranberry kombucha. My sister-in-law, Cyndi used a raspberry apple blend that was really good. Of course, fresh is always best. If you use frozen concentrate you will need to make it according to the package directions first. Add the juice to each bottle (ratio: 1/3 juice to 2/3 kombucha) Seal each bottle with a screw top lid or a locking lid (no corks). Put your sealed bottles back in your dark warm place (mine is on top of the hot water heater) for a few more days.
- How to tell when the second fermentation is ready. One of my jars is plastic. I fill it 2/3 full with the juice/komucha mixture and seal it tight. Set it in the warm dark place (hot water heater) and each day I test it by squeezing the plastic jar. At first it has some give to it. I know the buch is ready when the plastic jar is hard and tight, no give. Now it will be FIZZY! and YUMMY!