Kombucha can be found in almost any deli, corner store, market, or grocery store nowadays. There are dozens of companies making this strange drink and they all seemed to appear out of thin air. Well, at least that’s how it seems to me.
The floating specks found in every bottle of kombucha is a big turn-off to a lot of people, but seeing these specks tells you that the drink has not been pasteurized or made artificially, but is completely organic and authentic. So, if you see a kombucha bottle with a bunch of floaty white specks in it, you can be sure that that kombucha contains healthy bacteria, organic acids, and probiotics.
If I still haven’t sold you on the floating bacterial debris in your drink, learning how to make your own kombucha will be beneficial to you — you can just strain your kombucha before you serve it.
Health Benefits of Kombucha
Kombucha is often advertised as a health drink or a healthy alternative to sugary juice drinks. But what are the real benefits of drinking kombucha? Since ‘booch has been rising in popularity, many scientists and nutritionists have done studies on the drink to figure out what effects it has on our bodies, and here are the results:
- It improves gut health. The probiotics in the drink have been known to help treat gut problems such as diarrhea and other bowel problems.
- It helps with weight loss. Specifically, green tea kombucha is known to promote weight loss.
- It decreases your risk of cancer. Kombucha prevents the growth of new cancer cells as well as helps rid your body of cancer cells already growing.
- It helps with mental health. Studies show that kombucha can help fight depression and promote a positive mental state.
- It helps stabilize blood sugar levels. According to the New York Times, 24 adults with type 2 diabetes drank kombucha for 3 months and their blood sugar levels stabilized within the normal range.
Those are just a few of the many reported health benefits of kombucha. It is important to note that these benefits should be taken with a grain of salt, as much more research still has to be done.
How to Make Homemade Green Tea Kombucha
The most important aspect of kombucha brewing is something called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). The scoby is a floppy sponge-like blob that sits at the bottom of your tea and ferments it. For beginner kombucha makers, working with a scoby can be undesirable, but don’t worry, you’ll get used to it with time.
Making a scoby yourself can be a very lengthy process, and isn’t necessary since you can buy pre-made scobys. Scobys can’t be found at chain stores — at least not yet — but there are some organic markets that will sell it. Another option is to order one online from amazon.
For This Recipe You Will Need:
- A scoby starter — homemade or bought (includes a scoby and starter liquid) If your scoby does not come with a liquid, you can use about ¼ cup of cider vinegar instead
- 4 tbsp Green tea leaves or tea bags (more tea leaves/bags means a stronger flavor)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1-gallon glass jar
- A cotton cloth or cheesecloth big enough to cover the top of your glass jar
- A rubber band
Step 1 – Make your tea. Boil 4 cups of water over the stove, then add in your tea leaves or tea bags. Take your pot off the flame and let your tea disperse completely. After this, pour in your sugar and mix until it is completely dissolved.
Step 2 – Fill your glass jar. Pour your tea into your glass jar. Fill the rest of your jar with water to about 1 or 2 inches from the top, then let your tea cool to room temperature.
Step 3 – Add your scoby. Pour the scoby and starter liquid into your tea. Then carefully drop in your scoby.
Step 4 – Let your tea ferment. Cover your jar with your cloth and wrap your rubber band around it to secure it in place. Keep your tea in a warm place in your house, but keep it away from the sun. Fermentation will take one week at least. Taste your kombucha every few days until it tastes as you want it to.
Step 5 – Serve your kombucha. Now that fermentation is over and your flavor is just right, you are ready to enjoy your drink. Pour the kombucha into a new bottle and refrigerate until cold. Make sure you save your scoby and a bit of the tea to use as your starter liquid for your next batch.
Step 6 – Enjoy!
Make sure you always store your kombucha in glass bottles and not plastic or metal. Metal can react badly with the acid in the scoby and scoby liquid, and plastic is very porous and can store harmful bacteria.
How to Make Your Own Kombucha Flavor
To discover and create your own delicious kombucha flavors, all you have to do is experiment a little. Kombucha can be flavored with all sorts of ingredients, such as fruits, spices, and even seeds. To add these ingredients to your kombucha, pour it/them into your bottle before adding in the tea. That’s it!
Note: When adding in solid objects, you will need to chop them up so that they are small enough to fit into your bottle. Once your kombucha is fermented and carbonated, you can choose to either leave in, or strain these from your drink.
Here are some popular kombucha flavors to help get your creative juices flowing:
- Ginger – Use soft, crystallized ginger
- Carrot – Use carrot juice
- Pumpkin spice
The list could go on, but I’ll stop there. Mix and match the flavors or add in a fun, never explored flavor. Making kombucha at home is a great way to have fun and experiment with flavors, and it is also a great way to promote healthy diets in your household. Kombucha is a health-drink, but doesn’t have to taste like one.
Have fun, and stay creative!