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Kombucha Basics

by Salma Ali

SCOBY or Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast

Tea, the second most consumed beverage in the world, comes in many varieties. Different cultures around the world prepare their tea in different ways. Kombucha, an ancient drink that originated in Asia and regarded as the elixir of immortality. Today, it makes headlines as a modern health elixir, yet there are people that debunk the myths of Kombucha. Regardless of its healing powers, Kombucha is made with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts, or scoby for short. The bacteria and yeasts, make it probiotic and good for the gut. A well-functioning stomach is always good for the rest of the body's health.

Kombucha is consumed by many for the flavor; It's a bit sour and astringent due to the fermentation, but it's made from sweet tea that the scoby feeds off. The best part about making Kombucha, is the control over the taste. Adding flavors, using flavorful teas, or fruits and herbs, is quite an easy task. The brew will suck everything out of what you put into it, often extracting the polyphenols and antioxidants out of fruit as well.

Making a batch of Kombucha is relatively easy and cost effective. First off, you need a scoby, which can be purchased online or made at home. Other items that need to be collected for this recipe include: Glass jar, a stirring utensil, a big pot, a tight-weave cloth or paper coffee filter, a strainer, and a rubber band to keep the lid secure.

This recipe was taken from Strictly Delicious:

The ingredients needed per batch:

  • One Scoby
  • 2 cups unflavored, unpasteurized Kombucha as a starter
  • 14 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • For first fermentation, it's best to use a caffeinated tea. (Scoby likes caffeine better) Black tea works best, for this recipe 8 teabags, or 8 teaspoons of loose leaf tea
  • For flavoring during second fermentation: Any kind of tea of choice, or fruit, fruit juice, and/or herbs

    Instructions:

    * It is very important to wash your hands and use clean, sterile equipment. Avoid metal or plastic when putting the Scoby in. Scoby doesn't react well to metal and can get sick, and plastic can harbor bad bacteria that will befriend the Scoby and get you sick.

  • 1.Boil the 14 cups of water into a large pot. After boiling, turn off the heat and stir in the cup of sugar until it dissolves. Add loose tea with a tea ball or just put it in the pot and strain later, or put in tea bags. Let it cool to room temperature with the tea in it for a few hours or leave overnight.
  • 2.Time to ferment! Add 2 cups of starter kombu into a glass jar, add the brewed sweet tea, and then gently place your scoby in there. Cover the jar with tight-weave cloth or paper coffee filter and secure with rubber band.
  • 3.Put the glass jar in a cabinet or any other dark place where no sunlight can reach. Let it ferment for 7-10 days. Taste it after 7 days, if it tastes good, it's ready.
  • 4.Wash hands, and then remove the Scoby from the jar, with two cups of kombucha if you need starter kombucha for next time. Rejoice over first fermentation being completed.
  • 5.Flavoring is optional: Put desired flavors in the jar. For measurements: 1cup of fruit, 2 tablespoons of juice or tea, or 2 tablespoons of herbs. Cover the top, secure with rubber band and then store in a dark place again. Let it do its second fermentation for 1-3 days. Release the gas built up inside after a few days, take caution not to fill the jar too much the first time making this as the gases can cause it to break if not a seasoned expert with Kombucha. Bottle it up, in whatever method you choose and you're ready to go with some home brewed Kombucha.

    Sources: http://www.strictlydelicious.com/how-to-make-kombucha-a-beginners-guide/