My First Kombucha
Satisfying Fermented Libation
I have invested so much money into GT’s Kombucha products over the year that I should be a stockholder by now! How wonderful to finally be able to enjoy this amazingly healthy and tasty libation for just pennies now.
Fermented foods form part of the raw vegan diet as they are a great source of probiotics and B vitamins. Kombucha, which originally came from China, has been around for over 2000 years. This fizzy, sweet and sour brew is reputed to have extraordinary health benefits and has even been credited with helping control cancer growth. One of the active ingredients – glucaric acid – is thought to actually make the liver more efficient. It is very cleansing to the digestive system as the beneficial microorganisms in the “scoby” assist in clearing the gut lining. Here is a good article on kombucha from Natural News. There is a small amount of residual alcohol in kombucha due to the fermentation; While it is good for kids, perhaps limit them to a glass a day.
Sea Monster or Alien?
In the photo below you see a collage of the SCOBY – which stands for “symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria”, actually a cellulose disc of microorganisms that thrive on the tea and sugar you add to make a batch. It has the somewhat daunting appearance of a sea animal or alien. When you make a batch, the Scoby produces an offspring (and now I have to figure out what to do with mine — most likely I have to buy a new container to start more batches!)
Easy Recipe and Preparation
To make a batch of kombucha you need a glass container that will hold at least a gallon of liquid, some thick cheesecloth or a clean linen pillowcase, a large rubber band, purified water (I used alkaline), and plain vinegar for cleaning everything. If you plan to do a “secondary fermentation” in which you flavor the basic brew, some glass bottles with plastic tops. You can also buy specialized bottles that have a long neck and tight closure in order to get it more bubbly. (see photo below)
My dear friend, Dr. Katherine Murray, gifted me everything I needed to get started. All I had to buy were the supplies to make my first batch:
2 tea bags of black tea (no flavoring)
2 tea bags of green tea (plain)
1 cup sugar (I bought the organic cane sugar)
12 cups of purified water
Boil the water and then remove from heat. Add the tea bags (best to snip off the strings and labels) and let them steep, stirring in the sugar. Let cool to warm (not hot as it would destroy the scoby) and pour into the container that has the scoby. Cover with the cloth to keep out bugs and germs and secure with a rubberband. Now just put it in a dark ventilated corner, room or closet for 7 days. You can drink the brew as is (always retain at least a cup or two to keep the scoby fed until you start another batch.)
Note: Make sure to clean everything that touches the brew with vinegar and hot water beforehand to avoid contaminating your precious scoby!
What makes this drink so spectacular is the tremendous variety available to you for flavoring. This is called “secondary fermentation.” Once you have “ripened” your brew over at least 7 days you can transfer it to clean bottles and add anyflavorings you like. Experiment with herbs, spices, citrus, ginger, berries etc. On the left is a combination of green apple and some orange blossom extract (yum!) on the right is a nod to my favorite GT blend called “Trilogy” – lemon, ginger and cranberries. This article below is a great one on the subject. Enjoy!