Making Kombucha

Usually I post my blogs on Fridays, but since I was invited to my girlfriend, Christine Fitzgerald’s house this afternoon to learn how to make the lightly effervescent sweetened tea drink, kombucha, I knew I just had to get this written up right away, lest I forget something. A few of my friends make this at home and though I have tried store bought kombucha, I’ve never attempted to make my own, so I was definitely up for this afternoon’s demonstration.

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Some of you may be wondering what kombucha is and why drink it. Well, it is a tea based drink that is commonly drank for its supposed health benefits. The drink has been around for more than 2,000 years and apparently, the ancient Chinese called it, the immortal health elixir. Usually people use green tea to make this drink, but you can also use black tea. The tea is sweetened with raw sugar or honey and is then fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast or more commonly known as a SCOBY. If you decide to brew some kombucha yourself, you can either make your own SCOBY, get one from a friend who has made kombucha, or you can order one online from a company like, Kombucha Kamp.

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According to the website, Health Line, the listed benefits of drinking kombucha is that it is a rich source of probiotics, it contains the benefits of green tea if made with it, it contains antioxidants, it can kill bacteria, it may reduce heart disease risk, it may help manage Type 2 Diabetes, and it may help protect against cancer.

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This was a fun afternoon with the girls and Christine, and my girlfriend, Mary Cherrington, did a great job at explaining the process of making kombucha and having us try a variety of different types from store bought to homemade. I honestly can’t wait to try a batch of my own. Christine and Mary swear it’s a lot easier than you’d think and once you get it down, you make it a lot. Now some kombucha can be quite tart, so try a few different kinds and if you make your own, experiment with different fruit flavors and you’re sure to find one that you really like. For now, here is a recipe for you to try for ginger-mango and blueberry-raspberry kombucha from Stephanie Gaudreau of Stupid Easy Paleo.

HOMEMADE KOMBUCHA

Ingredients:

  • 1 SCOBY (you can order one online if you can’t make your own)
  • 8 organic green tea bags
  • 1 cup sugar (organic granulated white sugar)
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 gallon Mason jar
  • 1 old t-shirt or clean dish towel

Instructions:

  1. Boil 64 oz of water (8 cups) in a large pot.
  2. Add 8 green tea bags and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Remove the tea bags.
  3. Add 1 cup of sugar and stir well.
  4. Allow the tea to come to room temperature and pour into a clean one-gallon mason jar or crock.
  5. Add 64 oz more water to the jar and place the SCOBY along with any kombucha tea (KT) it came with into the jar.
  6. Cover with a piece of old t-shirt or clean dish towel, and secure with a rubber band.
  7. Allow the homemade kombucha to ferment in a dark place (mine was in the pantry) for 7-14 days. Mine was ready after 8, but I live in Southern California, and it’s been warm lately. The fermentation time will vary depending on your location, your SCOBY and how sweet or sour you want the homemade kombucha. Sample by moving the SCOBY aside and taking a little out with a clean spoon. After this time, your tea may be slightly carbonated and will be unflavored (only tea-flavored). You may drink the homemade kombucha tea then or to do a second fermentation with different fruits for flavor and more carbonation.

 

GINGER-MANGO MIX FOR KOMBUCHA

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen mango
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • Optional: For chia kombucha, add 2 Tablespoons chia seeds per 1 cup of kombucha.

Instructions:

  1. Puree the defrosted mango and ginger in a blender, Vitamix or food processor. Or, you can grate the ginger with a microplane grater if your blender isn’t very strong.
  2. Spoon the mixture into an ice cube tray. Freeze until solid.
  3. Two cubes will be ~1/4 cup of fruit puree.
  4. After your unflavored homemade kombucha is done fermenting, transfer it to a 32 oz mason jar. Add two cubes or ¼ cup of ginger-mango puree. Close the lid and allow to ferment again from 1-3 days – again, it depends on your taste. You may want more or less ginger-mango puree or more or less carbonation. Mine took 2 days until I thought it was perfect. When it’s done, add your chia seeds and stir well so they don’t clump together.
  5. Keep the extra cubes frozen for your next batch.

 

BLUEBERRY-RASPBERRY MIX FOR KOMBUCHA

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • Optional: For chia kombucha, add 2 Tablespoons chia seeds per 1 cup of kombucha.

Instructions:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the berries over medium heat until they have released their juices.
  2. Lightly pureed them in the Vitamix or blender.
  3. Spoon the mixture into an ice cube tray. Freeze until solid.
  4. Two cubes will be ~1/4 cup of fruit puree.
  5. After your unflavored homemade kombucha tea is done fermenting, transfer it to a 32 oz mason jar. Add two cubes or ¼ cup of blueberry-raspberry puree. Close the lid and allow to ferment again from 1-3 days – again, it depends on your taste. You may want more or less blueberry-raspberry puree or more or less carbonation. Mine took 2 days until I thought it was perfect. You may want to strain the flavored kombucha to remove any seed reside. When it’s done, add your chia seeds and stir well so they don’t clump together.
  6. Keep the extra cubes frozen for your next batch.

 

 

 

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