Kombucha, pronounced com-boo-cha, has been around for centuries. The earliest record is 221 B.C. in China, Japan, and parts of Europe. Originally, it was used to make alcohol but was later used as a way to preserve produce.
So, what IS kombucha?
Kombucha is a healthy, living drink made from black tea and sugar. It is an every day, refreshing drink that transforms into a powerhouse beverage full of benefits that can also transform your health.
Kombucha contains many beneficial ingredients. One of the top game-changers is probiotics. These are the colonies of good bacteria necessary to populate the gut and keep bad bacteria under control. Bad bacteria break down the gut lining causing a host of problems like autoimmune diseases, skin problems, weight issues, digestive problems, allergies, and the list goes on and on.
The magical ingredient in making kombucha is the S.C.O.B.Y. This stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. It is a living organism that feeds off the sugar in the tea. As it ferments, it continues to grow and will form another smaller SCOBY, which seals off the brew from outside bad bacteria while it ferments. The SCOBY is also known as the Mother (you'll recognize this term from Apple Cider Vinegar with THE MOTHER). It's what makes your brew the highly beneficial beverage it becomes.
Benefits of Kombucha
One cup contains about 20% of the recommended daily allowance of B vitamins
Improves digestion and alleviates constipation and diarrhea
Improves nutrient assimilation (what's the use in taking in nutrients if your body is unable to actually use them?)
Contains an antibiotic-resistant yeast that can help protect the gut lining even when taking antibiotics
Protects the stomach lining
Reduces joint pain
Aids the kidneys
Has preventive effects on the heart, blood glucose, weight and cholesterol
Contains polyphenols which are antioxidants and detoxifiers
Contains glucuronic acid which detoxifies and transports nutrients; makes nutrients available to be absorbed
Contains vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, and C10
Contains acetic acid which prevents pathogenic bacteria and fungus from growing
Contains 2 essential amino acids, leucine and isoleucine, which aid in muscle repair and in balancing blood sugar
The process is simple.
To make one gallon, you need:
1 One Gallon Jar or 2 Half Gallon Jars
1 One Gallon-Size Tea Bag or 2-4 Family-Size Tea Bags
1 Cup of Sugar
Cloth to cover each jar (I used flour sacks found on the dishtowel aisle at Walmart; dishtowels work, too)
Rubber band to hold the cloth on the jar and keep bugs out
Do not use metal when working with fermented food and beverages. You'll need a plastic strainer and plastic or wooden spoon when straining your finished product.
Brew tea on the stovetop just as you would if you were making a pitcher of tea for dinner.
I removed my tea bag and added a cup of sugar while the tea was still in the pot. You can also go ahead a make your gallon of sweet tea.
Let your tea cool completely before adding your SCOBY. Remember, it is a living organism and heat will kill it.
Once your tea has cooled, add your SCOBY and 1 cup of kombucha to your jar. If you're using 1/2 gallon jars, add 1/2 cup of kombucha to each. You'll need 2 SCOBYs if you're using two jars.
If this is your first time making kombucha, you will need to get a SCOBY from a friend or you can purchase one online. Here are a couple of places I've purchased related items from: CulturedFoodLife.com and CulturesForHealth.com.