Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easy Homemade Kombucha

If you told me two years ago that I'd be brewing my own kombucha regularly, I would have laughed in your face. Sure, at that time I loved to drink kombucha and knew about its health benefits, but the thought of making it in my own kitchen scared me. It seemed too complicated. And what if something went wrong? And where on earth would I find myself a starter culture, also known as a "mother", mushroom (because of the way it looks), or SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). Yeah, at that time, I was perfectly content with buying bottled kombucha in the health food store and had no desire to make it myself.
Let me back-track a little. Many of you know what kombucha is. You may be avid drinkers of this probiotic tonic. Maybe you, too, make it at home. But I know there are many of you out there who haven't the slightest idea what I'm talking about here. What the heck is kombucha? Why on earth would you drink fermented tea? And why does that mother-scoby-starter culture thingy look like a placenta?! Fear not, my friends, I'm here to explain what this whacky tea is and why I'm obsessed with it.

Now, I don't claim to be an expert on the subject of kombucha. There's something really awesome called Google that can show you the many people in the world who are and they can answer questions about it far better than I ever could (and I link to them at the bottom of this post). So I'll keep it simple here. Basically, kombucha is tea sweetened with sugar, which then gets a starter culture (aka mother, scoby, or mushroom) added to it. This mixture of tea, sugar, and culture then ferments. As it ferments, the culture basically digests the sugar (making the beverage practically sugar-free if feremtned long enough) in the tea. Over time (about 7-10 days) you are left with a probiotic-rich, crazy healthy, and bubbly drink, which tastes a bit like fizzy vinegar. Yup.
Kombucha has been around for over two thousand years. The Chinese called it "the immortal health elixer", and for good reason. Kombucha has crazy amazing health benefits, including the ability to detox the body. It actually contains beneficial enzymes that aid the body through its natural detoxification mechanisms! And because kombucha is teaming with beneficial bacteria and yeast (it's a probiotic beverage), it dramtically aids digestion, which in turn benefits every single part of your body. After all, true nutrition can only be obtained when we have impeccable digestion and healthy gut flora. Because of these properties of kombucha, plus its high antioxidant content, this beverage is most definitely immune-boosting, as well, and can help fight off a wide variety of illnesses and ailments.
I think the best tip I can give you to successfully brew your own kombucha at home is to get yourself a quality symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) from a reliable source. I bought mine here in Seattle from a local kombucha-brewing company called CommuniTea and it is healthy, thriving, and producing some awesome kombucha. Another important tip is to use organic tea and organic cane sugar. Your kombucha SCOBY will be using both of these as food, and you want your culture to thrive without any toxic chemicals found in conventional tea and sugar. I use organic gunpowder green tea and organic cane sugar to make my kombucha and the results have been amazing.

Since I don't consider myself an expert on kombucha making, I'm not going to provide my own recipe here. Instead, I'm providing you with links to the most reliable sources for all things kombucha. These resources helped me tremendously when I started my kombucha-brewing journey, and they also provide answers to any and all possible questions relating to the subject of kombucha. You can even buy your own SCOBY online from this well-respected company if you don't have a nearby source for one.

Kombucha Resources:
Kombucha Kamp- This website provides all the information you need to start making your own kombucha. You can even buy your SCOBY from here and a starter kit to help you get started.
CommuniTea-This is the company I bought my kombucha SCOBY from and here is the recipe that they use to make their amazing, traditional, kombucha. A must-read!
Nourished Kitchen- Excellent read about kombucha, plus it provides more links for further reading.
YouTube-Watching videos about kombucha-making finally motivated me to make my own. Just watching videos is enough to greatly boost your knowledge and get you on your way.


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