How To Brew Kombucha
"Your not what you eat but rather you are what you digest" – Dr John Berardi
Science is finally proving what ancient wisdom has know for thousands of years, that the gut is an eco system which is directly connected to the brain and rest of your body. Studies have linked gut health with depression and we have all felt our “gut instinct” or had “butterflies” in our stomach when nervous. This enteric nervous system is now often considered by scientists as the “second brain” as it plays a big part in releasing some 100 million neurotransmitters and has a huge impact on well-being. The obvious question should now be how can I look after my gut?
Kombucha brewing is thought to have started around 2000 years ago in ancient China and was referred to as “Immortal Health Elixir?” It has a rich anecdotal history of health benefits like preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.
The first real research was carried out in the first half of the 20th century in Russia. Russian scientists found that huge regions of their country seemed to be immune to cancer. It turned out that the people in these regions were guzzling what they called “Tea Kvass” and what we in the west now call Kombucha.
To my knowledge there hasn’t really been any solid medical research since then. I can only assume it’s because no drug companies stand to make any money from it? Pfizer and Merck & Co wouldn’t be too happy if we could fix ourselves by simply drinking fermented tea which can easily be made at home for pennies.
That aside there has been stack loads of research done on the various nutrients, acids, antioxidants, enzymes and bacteria which can be found in abundance in this homemade health tonic. Benefits include:
Easier for the liver to detox
Faster healing joints and arthritis prevention
Improved digestion and nutrient uptake
Improved mood with reduced anxiety and depression
Turbo boosted immune system.
The body is designed to be perfectly good at healing itself. It just needs the right goodness to do it. One glass a day of kombucha gives your body another helping hand to keep balance and health.
The key thing in Kombucha brewing is the “Scoby” which is an acronym for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. This colony or culture of yeast and other microorganisms looks like a sort of mushroom pancake.
When this scoby is grown in a blend of tea and sugar, it transforms the liquid into a refreshingly lightly sparkling, sweet and sour drink. I’ve heard people describe the taste as a mix of Champagne and vinegar. Personally it reminds me of cider but rather than giving you rotten guts and a headache it’s full of health giving acids and nutrients. This is mainly because the Scoby culture feeds on the sugar. In return for this sugar it kindly produces the whole host of valuable substances which you can guzzle at will. It will also reproduce, growing a new scoby and why it’s also called the “mother”.
How to Brew Kombucha
To get started with your home Kombucha brewing you will need the following:
1 scoby which you can buy online. I've always used Happy Kombucha (click for link)
1.5 litre glass container or jar. It’s important not to use metal or plastic as the kombucha will react with it.
Hankerchief, muslin cloth or kitchen towel and rubber band. Kombucha needs the air but you also need to keep the flies and bugs out. I think they are the only creatures that like Kombucha more than I do.
6 Organic tea bags. These can be green or black. Don’t use tea with spices or oils in though. For example the bergamot used in Earl Grey has antimicrobial properties. Not good for the scoby.
120g of organic granulated sugar. Don’t worry about all this sugar, most or almost all gets eaten by the scoby and converted into acids.
1 glass bottle to pour the Kombucha drink into
First boil the kettle with around 1.5 litres of water in.
Put the 120g of sugar and 6 tea bags in to the glass jar.
Pour the boiling water into the glass jar over the sugar and tea. Remember not to fill the jar all the way up as you’ll need the extra room for the Scoby.
After 30 minutes take the tea bags out and leave the tea to cool. This usually takes a few hours because of the large volume of water. The scoby hates hot water.
Once the water has cooled to a temperature that you can comfortably put your finger in add the scoby.
Cover the lid with the hankerchief or kitchen towel and secure with the rubber band.
Leave the glass jar in a dark place that’s normal room temperature. I normally leave my jars of brewing Kombucha in a spare room and throw a towel over to shield it from the light.
Leave for 1-2 weeks. I usually wait until a second scoby has grown on top of the Kombucha as a guide that it's ready.
Pour the Kombucha drink into the glass bottle. Its best to store the Kombucha in the fridge to drink chilled. Never worry about it being “off or out of date. Just as with every food item trust your nose. If it smell vile its gone bad.
Any questions drop me a note in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to answer.
Happy Kombucha brewing.