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Kombucha tea is a fermented tea with ancient roots, that has recently become again a popular homebrew. Fizzy and slightly alcoholic, Kombucha has a sweet and slightly sour taste very refreshing and pleasant. Packed with probiotics and acids that promote our guts health, this drink can be consumed daily as a beneficial tonic.
Kombucha is made by fermenting sweetened teas from the Camellia sinensis plant, indifferently black or green. A culture of yeast and beneficial bacteria is added, the so called SCOBY, that is very similar indeed to the vinegar mother, which is also a culture of yeast and beneficial bacteria. As the yeast in the SCOBY consumes the sugary tea, it produces a small amount of alcohol and CO2 as by-products, which give the Kombucha its natural sparkle.
WHAT IS THE SCOBY
The living ingredient in Kombucha is the SCOBY, that is the acronym for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. The SCOBY is the jelly-like layer that forms on top of your beverage, taking the the shape of the container in which rests. It’s texture is kind of slimy, while its color is beige and gets darker batch by batch as aging and losing streight.
The SCOBY requires the right conditions to turn tea and sugar into acetic acid through fermentation. Both your Kombucha and its SCOBY should never come into contact with any sort of metal since the chemical reaction can damage it and the culture in the liquid.
HOW TO GROW YOUR SCOBY
It is not necessary to purchase a SCOBY. Just spend a few dollars on a bottle of kombucha and grow your own scoby.
- Pour the kombucha tea into a glass bowl
- Cover the bowl with gauze
- Secure a cheesecloth/coffee filter to the bowl with a rubber band
- Store the bowl in a dark place.
- Wait 1-3 weeks for the SCOBY kombucha to form.
You will begin to see a thin film forming on the kombucha bowl after a few days or a week, depending on the environment temperature. This is the initial stages of your brand new SCOBY.
Over time, the yeast and bacteria in your new SCOBY will consume the sugars and absorb most of the original kombucha liquid. This will take up to 3 weeks, but it will depend on temperature and humidity. The temperature should optimally never drop below 60°F (15°C).
Wait till the new formed SCOBY is at least one finger thick, then you’re ready to start a new batch of kombucha.
HOW TO MAKE KOMBUCHA TEA
This effervescent refreshing beverage can be easily prepared at home, and is a great alternative to commercial drinks.
All you need is a clean work area, some simple equipment, few ingredients, and above all, the patience to wait for the tea to ferment.
YOU WILL NEED:
- 1 gallon spring water
- 8 tsp green or black loose-leaf tea
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 2 cups unpasteurized, unflavored store-bought Kombucha (to use as “starter”)
- 1 Kombucha SCOBY
- 1 gallon sterile glass jar
- 1 quart sterile glass jar
- 1 clean cotton cloth or coffee filter to cover the top of the jar
- 1 elastic band
- some sterilized bottles
- 1 plastic funnel
1. Place the spring water in a large 4-quart saucepan and bring to boil. Then remove from the heat, add the tea leaves, and steep for 5 minutes.
2. Strain the tea into the large glass jar and discard the leaves. Add sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Cover the container loosely and leave to cool for several hours.
3. When the tea has cooled, add the store-bought Kombucha while stirring with a wooden spoon. Wearing the gloves, place the SCOBY inside the jar. Cover the jar with the cheesecloth and fasten with an elastic band to keep out flies and dust.
4. Leave the glass jar with the SCOBY and tea to sit away from sunlight for a week. As it ferments the SCOBY will sink to the bottom. After several days it will either rise again to the top, or another SCOBY will begin to form at the top and grow thicker.
5. In 10 days the SCOBY should grow and double in size and will betime to taste (always with a non-metalic spoon) to check the flavor. It should be lighty sparkling, and taste similar to apple cider vinegar. If it is too sweet, leave it to ferment a little longer and taste again within few days till you are satisfied with its flavour.
6. Pour the remaining Kombucha into bottles through your plastic funnel. Close the lids and let them sit for a second fermentation for several days to add extra effervescence. After that, store the bottles in the fridge. If you wish to flavor it, add 1 part fresh fruit juice to 5 parts Kombucha just before bottling.
Keep some of your original Kombucha apart with the scoby, so that you will have it to add for your next round.
Kombucha is a great source of probiotics and healthy bacteria for the gut.
The drink is also packed with vitamins and detoxifying properties to cleanse the body, and support a healthy immune system.
It’s definitely a great alternative to soda, contain less sugar and it’s alcoholic level are in the range or 1-2%, so that can be assumed by everyone in every circumstance.