A friend of mine recently turned me on to Kombucha, and man do I love it. Kombucha is a tangy, refreshing, and fizzy drink that is professed to be good for your health. There’s a myriad of claims about the drink: it’s supposed to be good for digestion, detoxify your body, and raise your energy levels. I’m not here to attest to any of those claims, but I do think it is an amazing beverage.
Kombucha is fermented sweet tea that is cultured with a solid mat of yeast and bacteria known as a scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) or sometimes refereed to as the kombucha “mother.” The Kombucha “mother” is a wonderfully icky thing that looks a lot like a jellyfish. The bacteria and yeast feed on the sugar and produce acid, so the final product is not sweet but tart.
There are several commercial brands of Kombucha on the market, but they’re pricey, usually $3.50-$5. After doing some reading on the subject, I decided to brew my own. Home-brewing Kombucha isn’t a complicated process. Once you acquire a scoby, all you need is sweet tea and some glassware. In my first batch, the Kombucha paid for itself. ($16 dollars of equipment for 7 bottles!)
Finding a scoby is a little tricky, I searched a few weeks before I found someone on craigslist to give me one (I traded a scoby for a painting.) You can order them online but I preferred to find one locally. Every time you brew a batch of Kombucha the “mother” culture forms a “daughter.” So after you finally hunt down a “mother” and begin brewing, you’ll end-up with more cultures than you can give away. The cultures propagate so quickly a friend of mine joked that he suspected Kombucha is actually an alien conspiracy to take over the world. (You really have to see these things, the scoby does look like a weird science experiement. My boyfriend doesn’t like to stand too close to the jar that’s brewing in our kitchen.)
If I haven’t scared you off, here’s what you need to brew your own kombucha:
- Scoby or “mother”
- One gallon glass jar (Never use metal!)
- One gallon of good water
- Six tea bags: black, green, or white. (Don’t use the flavored stuff.)
- One cup sugar
- Cloth to cover the jar
- Bottles for the brewed Kombucha.
Here’s how ya’ do it: Make sure everything you use to brew and bottle is clean, clean clean!
There are a vast number of tutorials and how-tos on the web, if you’re ready to brew. The Happy Herbalist has detailed the ins-and-outs of brewing. If you’re in the Bay Area, I’d be happy to share one my scobys with you! Just shoot me an email.
Have a great weekend everyone!