To Brew or Not to Brew?

For some folks, Kombucha has been shared as a beverage to steer far away from. For others, this drink is one that has brought incredible health benefits. Those that love it make great claims for how it aids in improved health. According to Mother Earth News in an article printed March 17, 2014, Kombucha provides a multitude of good reasons for why one should consume this beverage. Please read the following for a brief explanation for just what Kombucha has to offer: Mother Earth News on Health Benefits of Drinking Kombucha Tea Kombucha can be purchased at your local health food stores under the name of Synergy in a variety of flavors, but the catch is, they are anywhere from $3 to $5 per bottle. This gets pricey! For you more adventurous folks, the is a less expensive avenue… brew your own! That’s right, make it yourself. It’s not really that hard! Just remember cleanliness is next to Godliness, right? Be sure to keep everything sterile…that is key! Follow these simple steps and you will be well on your way to drinking your own home-brewed Kombucha:

STEP 1: First, you need some basic supplies and equipment: a quart jar, a gallon jar, 1 c. measuring cup, wooden skewer, wooden spoon, funnel, black tea (preferably tagless), flavored tea (your preference), sugar (organic unrefined cane sugar the best), and a SCOBY. (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast-This can be purchased from a reputable vendor or gotten from a person whom you trust.) Be sure all utensils, containers, and your hands are thoroughly washed. Beneficial bacteria does wonders, bad bacteria introduced due to uncleanliness can wreak havoc!

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STEP 2: Take your quart jar and fill approximately 3/4 or slightly above 3/4 full with purified water. Place your wooden skewer into jar (surface tension breaker-very important) and heat on high in the microwave for 10 minutes. It will be VERY hot. Remove from microwave and immediately add 1 cup of organic unrefined cane sugar. Stir until dissolved.

1qt jar filled with purified water + 1c organic unrefined cane sugar

1qt jar filled with purified water + 1c organic unrefined cane sugar

STEP 3: Place 6 black tea (tagless) bags, and 6 flavored tea bags into the quart jar while water is still VERY hot. Completely submerge teabags until saturated. Cover and allow to cool to room temperature. Flavored tea is a preference. I prefer Red Raspberry, sometimes Orange Spice. Where others simply put 12 black teabags and enjoy that.

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STEP 4: Once sweetened tea has reached room temperature, you are ready for second part of the process! (Heat will kill the beneficial bacteria and fermentation will never take place if the tea has not completely cooled before this step.) Take your one gallon glass jar (clean and sterilized) and pour the contents of the 1 quart jar into it. Remove teabags. Add purified water to fill the gallon jar until it is nearly 1 1/2 to 2 inches from the top. (Leave enough to place the SCOBY so that it may rest comfortably at the top of the liquid.) Now gently place SCOBY into the liquid and allow it to “seat” itself comfortably. Often the SCOBY will rise to the top and adjust itself floating in a flat position above the liquid. (Do not panic if this does not happen! It is still ok.)

Kombucha

STEP 5: Cover jar with cheese cloth or coffee filter (anything that will allow it to “breath” while keeping any flying insects out of the jar). Secure the cloth or coffee filter with a rubberband and then place jar in a dark and quiet cupboard to “rest”.

STEP 6: In approximately two weeks you can begin drinking your Kombucha. The SCOBY has been working hard converting the sugars and it now contains many of the much sought after probiotics and vitamins promised by the process of fermentation. Flavor is a preference and some people prefer their Kombucha a bit more on the acidic side. For them, leaving the Kombucha to brew for as long as four weeks is preferred. By the end of the two weeks, the “mother” SCOBY will have produced a “baby”, another whole new layer of SCOBY which can be utilized to start yet, another gallon of Kombucha! Do not be alarmed if you see what appears to be brownish yellowish threads of material hanging down from the SCOBY. These are simply pieces of yeast and are a natural byproduct of fermentation as it does it’s job! Do be alarmed if you see ANY sign of mold. SCOBYs are NOT mold! If you see mold throw out the entire batch and start over. Please know that if you are diligent in washing equipment and hands and sterilizing jars, etc. mold will not be a problem. I have not had to throw a batch out yet. (knock on wood)

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STEP 7: When the Kombucha has reached your preferred taste, it is time to bottle! For some, this is it. The Kombucha tea goes into the bottles, is capped off, and refrigerated. For others, (like myself), they prefer a 2nd fermentation. If you would like to experiment with different flavors, you might like to attempt a second fermentation process of only a couple of more days. My all-time favorite Kombucha is Red Raspberry Kombucha made with 6 black tea bags, and 6 red raspberry tea bags. (Check Google for recipes) After the initial two weeks, I pour the Kombucha tea into jars and fill 2/3 full with Kombucha. I then top them all off with organic, no sugar added cherry juice, cap them, and let the jars sit out for another two days. This adds additional flavor as well as a bit of effervescence (for those of you who prefer a little bubbly).

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That’s it. That’s all there is to it! Now it is simply time to reap the health benefits of your very own brewed Kombucha! Let me know what you think!

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