Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kombucha 101


Kombucha….what in the world is that, you ask?  It’s a little bit of heaven that I discovered earlier this year and have began to actively make at home for the last few months. 

Let’s start off with a definition (wikipedia):  

Kombucha is an effervescent tea-based beverage that is often consumed for its anecdotal health benefits or medicinal purposes. Kombucha is available commercially and can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria which forms the Kombucha culture, often referred to as 酵母.

I was at our local Health Food store and came across this wonderful drink. I took one look at the price and with a price tag of $4.00/bottle, I thought to myself that I could never afford it on a daily basis. Our store carries a couple of brands, but I decided to try GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha that was refrigerated.  I bought the Citrus flavour first.

KombuchaI have to admit, I was a little sceptical because when I read up about this drink, people have either loved it or hated it.  They say it tastes somewhat between vinegar and apple cider.  I love apple cider, so what did I have to lose?

When I got home, I strained the contents of the bottle into a glass as there was lots of sediment at the bottom.  This sediment is actually healthy yeast bacteria, but still, I didn’t want to swallow something slimy. 

Upon my first sip of the Kombucha, I was in love.  I proceeded to drink the rest of the glass.  It was bubbly and refreshing.  It actually curbed by appetite as my stomach was a little grumbly and asking for food.  I saved the rest of the bottle for later. 

So what’s the deal with this drink?  People have claimed for centuries that drinking KB regularly will have amazing benefits to your health.  Some examples are:  increased metabolism, improved digestion, probiotics, detoxification of the liver, boost energy and lower glucose levels.  I’m not sure if all of this is true, but I can tell you that from personal experience, I have increased energy and improved digestion ever since I’ve been drinking it regularly. 

So then I started contemplating and trying to figure out how in the world I could supplement my KB drinking habit.  The light bulb went off and I jumped onto the internet to research home brewing.  It seemed simple enough… brew some tea, add sugar and a SCOBY.  What the heck is that?   It’s an acronym standing for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast.  If you’ve ever made your own sourdough, you know what I’m talking about.  

So back on the internet I went to figure out where to get a SCOBY.  I had 3 options:  I could have ordered one from a company out East or in the States, find someone who already brews KB at home and get a baby SCOBY from them OR try to grow my own mother.  All I needed was a bottle of GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha (unflavoured).  Perfect! 

The next day I pulled my Sun tea jar out of the cupboard, brewed about 2 cups of sweet tea and added the bottle of GT’s Kombucha.  I covered it with a tea towel and stuck the entire jar into my closet with the hot water tank.  Your brewing vessel needs to be in a warm environment where there is enough air to circulate and where it can remain untouched for 7 to 10 days.   

In the meantime, I ordered my 2 gallon porcelain Kombucha vessel and heating strip from Hannah at a company called Kombucha Kamp.  (I also got valuable information from her site to help prepare my own brewing). 

I checked on my brew 10 days later and couldn’t believe my eyes…I have a new (and nice an thick) SCOBY growing on top of the tea.  Woohooo!  I was stoked.  Now I had something to start with. 

I brewed 1 1/2 gallons of sweet tea, added my Kombucha starter and the SCOBY to the 2 gallon vessel and stuck it on my countertop in the kitchen. 

April 22nd 003

2 gallon brewing vessel with a heating strip as I don’t keep my place very warm.

April 22nd 001

Beverage 001









The SCOBY working hard to ferment my sweet tea into Kombucha.

What you are left with after about a week is what you see in my glass.  I like to drink it straight from the brewer with a couple of ice cubes to cool it down. 

I also enjoy bottling it with flavours such as citrus, ginger or cranberry.  Now I can drink all the Kombucha I want and it’s cheap.

Does anybody else brew their own Kombucha?  What is your favourite flavours?

Until we meet again,


No comments:

Post a Comment