Kombucha (fermented tea)

In the Kitchen

At the beginning of the year, I decided that I wanted to try and make kombucha.  If you don’t know what kombucha is, it is fermented tea.  It does not taste anything like tea because of the fermentation process.  I really like diet soda so I decided to try and kick the habit by replacing my daily Diet Coke with kombucha.  Kombucha is naturally carbonated…more on that in a minute…
Basically, this is what you do.  Brew a gallon of tea (we used 3 tablespoons of tea for one gallon) and add 1 cup of sugar.  Let that cool down and then you add your SCOBY.  It floats on the top and that is what makes the magic happen.  It takes about 7-12 days (this is the initial ferment) and then you have kombucha!
One gallon tea jar with scoby floating on top.

“The SCOBY, or Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, is the collection of microbes responsible for turning sweet tea into a probiotic beverage. Essentially, it is a living colony of beneficial organisms that turn sugar into healthful acids and probiotics.”  Taken from Wellnessmama.com

There are LOTS of health benefits of kombucha.  Again, taken from Wellnessmama.com:

“To be clear- it isn’t some magic pill or silver bullet, but it may help the body function well by supporting:

    Liver detoxification
    Improved pancreas function
    Increased energy
    Better digestion
    Improved mood (helps with anxiety/depression)
    Reducing Candida (yeast)
    Helps nutrient assimilation
    May be beneficial for weight loss”

After the initial ferment, I put the tea in bottles and added some fruit to do a secondary ferment.  This is the part that makes the carbonation.  At first, I used whole fruit, and then the next time, I made some fruit syrup and used that.  You let it sit another 3 days and then put it in the fridge.

Secondary ferment with huckleberries and raspberries

Here is a website with a whole bunch of recipes for flavoring your kombucha.  The sky is the limit on flavoring your kombucha!

Then, I started reading about continuous brew kombucha.  You use a bigger container (at least 2 gallons) and then add sweet tea to the top each day and draw off the finished kombucha from the bottom.  There are even MORE health benefits to kombucha that is in a continuous brew situation.

My continuous brew jar of kombucha.  We keep it on top of our water heater.

Making your own kombucha can save you a lot of money.  One 16 ounce bottle in the store will cost about $4.00.  I think I figured out that I could make 8 gallons of kombucha for the cost of one bottle at the store…maybe even more…