You've probably heard of kombucha recently, or maybe have seen it in the store. Even Target is carrying it now. It's all the rage these days because it tastes good and has some pretty great health benefits, such as providing healthy bacteria for your gut (aka probiotics), helps improve digestion, detoxes the liver and can boost energy.
I randomly picked up a bottle of GTs kombucha at Byerly's one day and it was love at first taste. But, it's expensive! At nearly $4 a bottle, it's not something I can afford on a regular basis. So when a friend was hosting a kombucha class at her store early last year, I jumped at the chance to get started on my own.
The Instagram posts about my homemade kombucha have continuously been my most commented on and engaged with, so it's high time I write a post about it. Let me tell you about this glorious nectar!
I'm no scientist, so here is my simple brain's explanation of what kombucha is. Essentially, kombucha is brewed green or black tea (or a combo of both), with sugar added to it, that is fermented over time. But, without a very important piece of the puzzle, the SCOBY, it's just sweet tea. A what?
A scoby is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Sounds appealing, right? In the simplest terms, the scoby eats the sugar with which you sweetened your brewed tea, resulting in kombucha, or fermented tea.
So, sweet tea + scoby + kombucha tea + time = kombucha
The hardest part of making your own kombucha, (I say hard but it's not at all) is getting a scoby. You either have to grow your own, buy one online, or get one from a friend. I thankfully got one at the class I took, and have grown more scobys over time, since a new one forms every time you brew kombucha. I've heard Kombucha Kamp is a reputable source for buying a scoby online, but have not tried it myself.
The second hardest part is waiting for your kombucha to ferment once you get started. It can take a few weeks for the first batch to be ready, and if you keep your house cooler, it can take even longer.
Once you have brewed your tea and let it ferment with the scoby, you get to add the fun flavors! You could totally drink it straight from the tap at that point, but we like to flavor ours, which adds another 5 days to the process. So far, one of our favorites has been blackberry ginger, but mixed berry and apple are great, too. You can get really creative with the flavors if you want to.
Here are the supplies you need to make kombucha:
- Black or green tea bags (or a combo of both)
- Filtered water
- Glass jar (a 32 oz mason jar works great if you're doing batch brewing)
- 6" x 6" square of cotton fabric (this is to cover the mason jar during fermentation
- Rubber band/hair tie (to keep the fabric square on)
I'll be back soon for part two, where I'll walk through the process of making kombucha, batch vs continuous brewing and second fermentation (flavoring).