If you frequent any Health Food store or the health food section of most groceries, you have probably heard of this drink the Chinese referred to as “The Elixir of Immortality”. It turns out that the fizzy drink with a tinge of vinegar taste also packs a punch for your health.
So What is this amazing drink?
Take a look for yourself:
Now, I know what you are thinking, what is that? Well, that’s not the drink, it is the essence of what gives life to this drink we call Kombucha. Pictured above is a SCOBY, which is short for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts”.
Kombucha’s first documented use was 221 B.C. in China during the Tsin Dynasty. However, the name was coined in Japan in 415 AD when a Korean physician called Kombu or Kambu treated Emperor Inyko with the tea: “Kombu” + cha, which means tea.
The effervescent drink is created through the process of fermentation when the yeast from kombucha bacteria eat sugar within a brewing tea. The bacteria releases beneficial acids and enzymes and creates an environment in which more beneficial bacterial cultures thrive. At its base is a SCOBY culture, which looks very much like a rubbery white or beige pancake and is placed in sweetened tea to start the process. As the SCOBY digests the sugar it produces a plethora of organic acids, including glucuronic, lactic, acetic, butyric, malic and usnic acids. It also produces vitamins, including B and C, amino acids and other beneficial enzymes. The upshot? The acids, vitamins and enzymes combine to produce healthy benefits. One of the greatest is its probiotic benefits.
The additional health benefits include:
- Helps treat gastrointestinal (GI) complications
- Increases calcium absorption
- Increases metabolism and aids weight reduction
- Reduces joint pain and inflammation
- Helps prevent certain cancers, such as pancreatic, breast and colon cancer
- Aids detoxification of the human body
- Helps lower cholesterol
- Helps control blood pressure
So why do they call it “The elixir of immortality?”
Due to a special process called chelation, which occurs when iron found in the brewing teas (primarily black and green teas) Kombucha has the added benefit of creating an energy boost. Chelate iron helps boost blood hemoglobin, which improves oxygen supply and stimulates energy on a cellular level. As a result, Kombucha is particularly useful in the treatment of chronic fatigue associated with anemia. According to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, iron amino acid chelates are better absorbed, less toxic and have fewer side effects than other forms of iron. So while it may not make you immortal, when consumed regularly, it provides life-giving energy.
So are you ready to make your own? I have spent a LOT of time over the years perfecting my recipe and the process in which I make Kombucha at home. I have compiled that here for you and I am ready to finally share it with you!
What you will need:
1 Healthy SCOBY (can be acquired from another home brewer)
1 Cup Organic “White” Sugar
1 Gallon Filtered Water
8 Bags oolong tea (this is what i use myself, i consider it to be the best taste)
3/4 C. Starter kombucha tea (I like to use Synergy plain for this)
1 gallon or larger sized glass container (no plastic spout, no “sun tea” jars)
1 white flour sack towel
1 rubber band
a wooden spoon
a pot that can boil at least a half gallon quantity of water
Before you begin your Homebrew
Please read the following Tips to help you. As I said above, this is all information I have gathered over the years that will help you to not run into as many problems as I had, because brewing Kombucha can sometimes be quite tedious.
– Never use anything to brew your kombucha in, except for a glass container, preferably one that can brew 1 gallon at a time. You can find the kind i use here:
– Use a wooden spoon when stirring tea, and transferring your scoby to the brew jar.
– NEVER use any containers, utensils, etc. that have been washed with soap. Always use hot water to rinse/clean anything that will come in contact with your scoby or your brew.
– Always rinse your hands with HOT water before handling your scoby, i also like to go a step further and put a TBS of apple cider vinegar in my hands as though it is hand sanitizer, before handling the scoby.
– NEVER touch the scoby with metal utensils, ever.
– Use a clean, white “flour sack” type of towel to cover the kombucha brew, fastened with a rubber band, to keep out flies and other contaminants. Do not cover with air-tight lids. after a few uses, you will wash this in VERY HOT water, no soap, and air-dry. You can find them here:
My Personal Homebrew Kombucha Process:
1. Bring half of gallon of water to a boil
2. Add sugar to water and let boil for 5-10 minutes
3. add tea bags and let steep 12-15 minutes
4. remove tea bags from water
5. put brewed and sweetened tea into glass container for brew
6. add remaining filtered water to brewed tea.
7. When temperature of tea reaches just above room temp. (not at room temp, but slightly warmer, but not too hot to touch with finger, add 3/4 c. of starter tea. (if you wait too long and it reaches room temp, reheat in pot, if you add scoby at room temp, you run the risk of having it mold)
8. Gently add scoby to the tea mixture. Ideally, the scoby will remain at the top, but it may sink, this is normal.
9. Place flour sack towel over the top of container and seal with rubber band.
10. Place in a room temperature, dry place for brewing. (a pantry is ideal, but if it has to be “out” place it somewhere that doesn’t fluctuate in temperature and is out of the sunlight)
11. Wait 7-10 days for Kombucha to brew. You can test the kombucha by placing a straw into the brew and tasting it, do not recommend until at least day 7.
When brew is complete, place your scoby in another glass container and cover it while you prepare a new brew and use some of your newly-brewed kombucha as starter tea. and do the process, step by step again.
This is my Freshly Started Home Brew Kombucha