Kombucha – it’s that effervescent, tangy fermented drink that seems to be ever-growing in popularity. You’ve seen Kombucha lining health store aisles, maybe mispronounced it a few times and probably tried it at least once…but what exactly is it and why is it so popular? Kombucha (Kom-booch-uh) is fermented tea that originated in Northeast China around 220 B.C. and was revered for its health-boosting and gut-healing properties. It’s made by mixing black tea (or green tea) and sugar, then fermenting the blend into a fizzy, probiotic-packed wellness drink. Fermentation, by definition, is the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts or other microorganisms.
But keeping up with the latest fermented foods trends and probiotic benefits can come at a hefty price.
Why shell out $3 to $4 a bottle when can learn how to make kombucha from the comfort of your home? We’ll show you how to make a quart (that’s 4 bottles) for a fraction of the cost of commercial brands.
Whether you’re new to making kombucha or a seasoned fermenting expert, now you can brew delicious kombucha tea at home with our easy-to-follow kombucha recipe below!
What Exactly is Kombucha, Anyway?
Kombucha has been used as an “Immortal Health Elixir” in the East for thousands of years. This fermented beverage is made with black tea and sugar and gets it’s fizzy tang from the addition of a SCOBY. SCOBY is actually an acronym, which stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast” and is used to eat the sugar in the tea to start the fermentation. It’s natural to feel a bit wary of the SCOBY at first – we’ll admit, it kind of looks gross.
The SCOBY is a rubber-like floating culture, and it does have a bit of a slippery texture to it. The SCOBY is formed from the by-product of the culture and yeast, so with every batch, you brew it grows even bigger.
To brew your own, you need only 5 ingredients: water, sugar, tea (black tea or green tea is the easiest to use, and usually the most foolproof), starter tea (from a previous batch of kombucha, or from a store-bought ‘buch), and your SCOBY.
The Health Benefits Of Kombucha
- Packed with antioxidants, enzymes and organic acids such as acetic, caprylic and more
- Contains B-Vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B12
- May reduce heart disease risk
- Improves digestion and supports a healthy gut
- Promotes detoxification
- May have immune system boosting & antiviral properties
- Antioxidants in Kombucha may help protect the liver
The Process of Brewing
The first step is to make your base. The base is tea with a very high sugar content for the bacteria to eat. To achieve this, boil water, and then stir in granulated sugar. After the sugar has dissolved, drop in tea bags and let the water cool completely while the tea brews. This can take a while, but once the water is finally cooled down to room temperature, you’ve got your tea base to start the brewing process with.
Then, you’ll add the starter tea to your base. The starter tea will be highly acidic, which will help prevent bacteria from growing in the kombucha for the first few days of the fermentation process. Once the starter tea is added, transfer the liquid to jars and add in your SCOBY. Seal them with cloth, coffee filters, or paper towel secured with a rubber band, and start the fermentation process.
Fermentation should take anywhere from 7 to 25 days. After 7 days, pour a small amount out of the container it a cup and taste it daily, until the kombucha tastes the way you’d like it to. When it’s ready, remove the SCOBY and transfer the brew into bottles with any additives you’d like (fruit, herbs, other teas). If it’s your first time, use a plastic bottle during the next step, which is carbonation.
This month with Rosehive Superfoods Box you’ll be getting your very own kombucha SCOBY from Oregon Kombucha! If making your own at-home brews is something you’ve always been interested, you still have time to sign up for this month’s box!
Brew Your Own Kombucha Guide
Continuous Brew Kombucha
Once you’ve been brewing kombucha for a while, you may find it more convenient to set up a kombucha continuous brewing system.
Rather than changing brewing containers for every batch, this method allows you to make larger batches, one after the other in the same container.
Not only does this create a nice little fermentation ecosystem, a continuous brew system is low maintenance and provides a healthy environment for your SCOBY. You would just keep your brew going with a cup of starter fluid
Troubleshooting: Try our Troubleshooting FAQ for answers to most common issues.