Called the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the ancient Chinese, kombucha has been around for more than 2,000 years. Over the years, however, it lost its popularity – just as all other fermented foods – but it is slowly making a comeback in the West. Though this incredible fermented drink has been well-known for its digestive benefits, it can do so much more, including protecting the heart and brain.
Did you know that 80% of the immune system is located in the gut with the digestive tract being the second largest part of the neurological system? Therefore, our gut is often referred to as our “second brain.”
Why You Should Have a Glass of Kombucha Every Day
Kombucha packs a large number of health-promoting probiotics – aka the friendly gut bacteria. We often fear bacteria as we associate them with sickness. But you shouldn’t fear these little ones, though. In contrary, you should add them more often to your diet to strengthen your body and improve digestion. Friendly gut bacteria line the digestive tract and support the immune system. They absorb nutrients and fight infections and disease, rather than causing them.
Drinking one glass of kombucha daily can help you to boost the immune system which brings a host of other benefits to your overall health.
Nutritional value of kombucha
Since kombucha or fermented sweet tea is made with sugar people often think it is unhealthy and high in calories. But they couldn’t be further from the truth. During the fermentation process, the bacteria use up most (if not all) of the sugar to turn the tea into a beautiful, probiotic-rich tangy drink.
The nutritional value of a bottle of unpasteurized (pasteurization kills the bacteria), organic kombucha will differ between brands and homebrews, But to give you an idea, a 500 ml or 16-ounce bottle contains 25% of the daily value of folate and 20% B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12. Furthermore, it only has 60 calories, 20mg sodium, 14g carbs, and 4g sugar.
Given its high value of vitamin b12, kombucha is an ideal drink for vegans and vegetarians to avoid deficiency of this important vitamin.
ASLO READ: Vitamin B12 Deficiency, A Silent Epidemic
Scroll down to learn how to make fizzy kombucha tea at home
How To Brew Your Own Kombucha Tea At Home
Kombucha is nothing more than fermented sugary tea. Traditionally it’s made with black tea, though it can also be made with other teas (green tea, oolong, white, etc). I love a mix of black and Cambodian jasmine green tea. Up to you to experiment and brew one you like best. That’s the fun part of making your own. You can even flavor them with herbs and spices you love. Ginger and lemongrass are among my favorites.
To ferment the tea you’ll need a “SCOBY” (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). If you have a kombucha-making friend I am sure he’ll happily provide you with a scoby to get started. If not no worries, in my previous post you can learn how to make a scoby from scratch. It’s so much more fun to see them grow… so even if you have a kombucha-loving friend it might be a nice project to grow your own anyway.
Click the link below to get the full tutorial as it is impossible to make kombucha tea without this funky alien looking disc who some refer to as a kombucha mushroom. Even though it isn’t a mushroom.
Kombucha Tea Recipe
The recipe described below makes about 1.9 liters or 8 cups. If you don’t have a big enough jar to hold this volume you will need two scobies. One for each jar.
I had to help myself with the recycled jars I had at home since we don’t have convenience stores where we live to buy bigger jars. Going to the capital soon, so maybe I’ll find some over there. But more jars work too. they just take up more space on the counter!
At the beginning of my kombucha adventure, I started out with 2 scobies one in a jar of 1 liter or 4 cups and one of 0.5 liter or 2 cups. By now I have doubled the amount as that’s about the amount we drink before the next batch is ready.
Since we live in a tropical hot climate fermentation goes fast here. After 5 to 7 days we have our fizzy kombucha but if you live in a colder climate it might take 9 or maybe 12 days.Though I like my kombucha as it is you could also infuse it with fresh fruit juices, herbs and spices. Ginger and lemongrass are two that work very well.
We drink about 1 big glass Kombucha every day combined with one glass probiotic fermented fizzy turmeric ginger ale. Not sure which I like most. Both are so good.
ALSO READ: Homemade Fizzy Turmeric Ginger Ale Soda
- 7 cups water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (white or raw sugar. Do not use sugar substitutes such as honey or maple syrup)
- 4 bags black tea or 2 tablespoons loose leaf tea (I use 2 bags black tea and 2 tbsp Cambodian green jasmine tea)
- 1 cup starter tea from your previous batch (the lactic acid present in the tea will create a selective environment where the friendly bacteria thrive and others are disencouraged to grow)
- 1 scoby per jar (I used 2)
- Bring water to a boil and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Add the black tea and steep the tea for 10-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
- When cooled, stir in the starter tea, mix well and pour the sweet tea into a jar(s).
- Place the scoby in the jar. Cover with a rubber band and coffee filter or clean cloth. No worries if the scoby doesn’t seal of the jar or decides to lay sideways or on the bottom, a new scoby film will start to grow at the top to seal the tea from the air and unwanted intruders.
- If this is your first batch, taste the tea so you know what you started with. After a few days (4-5) do a taste test. If it isn’t sweet anymore and to your preferred tanginess level it’s time to get some fizz into the kombucha and flavor it with fruit juice, herbs, or spices if you like. Like said I like my black tea and jasmine green tea mix. If you ferment too long it will be too acidic and start to taste like vinegar. MAKE SURE TO KEEP A CUP OF THE FERMENTED TEA TO START YOUR NEXT BATCH AND TURN THIS INTO A CONTINUOUS SYSTEM
- To carbonate the drink or create some fizz, pour the tea into a clean bottle with a lid and allow the fizz to build up. If using a glass bottle be careful that the build-up isn’t too strong as it may explode. That’s why most people like to use a plastic bottle as you can squeeze the bottle and feel it harden as the fizz builds up. If there is too much pressure release the cap or lid and let it burb to release.
- Once the bottles are hard and you have the desired amount of fizz, store the bottle in the fridge to stop the fermentation and carbonation process.
IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE:
To avoid accidents with sharp glass shards flying around you could wrap your glass bottles in a towel. If they explode the glass will stay in the towel instead of flying through your kitchen where it can make a mess or hurt someone of your family. I used plastic bottles, in the beginning, to get used to making this drink. After a while you know exactly how long it takes and then I would recommend making the switch to glass to avoid BPA and other plastic chemicals to leach into your drink.
These (see pic below) are the ones I am using right now to build-up the fizz and store my finished product in the fridge.
Thanks for reading. I hope this information was helpful. Until next time!
Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.