Rebecca Jeffreys shares a step-by-step guide on how to make your own Kombucha.
If you haven’t heard of Kombucha by now, then it’s about time you did. This traditional fermented drink which originated in Asia is becoming more and more popular due to its long list of health benefits and, as we are shifting into a society that cares about what we consume – whether it be food or fashion – Kombucha is sure to make you feel good, inside and out.
Kombucha has been consumed for thousands of years because of its rich nature in probiotics and antioxidants. It acts as a natural defence to various problems; from cancer to mental health. You can now find Kombucha in your nearest health stores, some supermarkets and even in a variety of cafes. However, I soon realised that it can be a pricey product and spending up to £5 every time I wanted to reap the benefits of Kombucha didn’t seem like a very good deal, so I decided to make a batch of my own.
The drink is produced by fermenting tea with a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), which doesn’t look very appealing but it’s all in the name of good health, right? The SCOBY is actually the most vital part in fermenting Kombucha as the bacteria and yeast within it convert the sugar in the liquid into ethanol, which is then turned into acetic acid and amounts to an estimated 0.5% alcohol content. Your first SCOBY is everlasting and ever-growing, being that you look after it properly. To do so, once your first batch of Kombucha is complete (before added fruit for flavour), put the SCOBY in a bowl with some of the Kombucha, cover it and store it in the fridge until next use. Here, your SCOBY will continue to grow and overtime you’ll be able to break it into separate SCOBYs to give to others who want to make Kombucha. Initially, I thought that it would be difficult and time consuming but after doing some research I managed to make my first batch of Kombucha with ease and here’s how…
To make Kombucha, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- An organic SCOBY
- A starter Kombucha (helpful to kickstart the fermentation. You can use any mildly or unflavoured Kombucha for this)
- Any type of real tea, e.g. black or green
- Filtered water
- A brewing jar
Firstly, boil 2 litres of water, making sure you don’t overboil as doing so reduces oxygen and carbon dioxide that’s later needed in the fermenting process. (Make sure the water is hot enough to extract the tea and dissolve the sugar.) Mix in your chosen tea (12 teabags) (note: black tea is recommended as green tea can become bitter during fermentation)
Next, add 200 grams of sugar and mix well so it dissolves properly.
Leave the liquid to cool and once it reaches room temperature, add the SCOBY.
It’s now ready for fermentation – cover your jar with the lid or foil and make sure that it’s not shut tight, allowing gasses created during fermentation to escape. If using a lid, choose a plastic one as metal can disrupt the bacterial balance of the SCOBY.
Once all of these steps are complete, your Kombucha is ready to be stored and left to ferment for up to two weeks at room temperature. The mixture should be transferred to an airtight container in order for the gasses to be trapped in the solution, creating the sparkling nature of Kombucha.
Extra sugar is usually added at this point in the form of fruit, which contains lots of natural sugar and flavours the Kombucha. This should then be left to ferment for another few days. Generally, the longer the Kombucha is left, the more carbonated it will become.
Now let’s talk about some of the health benefits that come with Kombucha:
1. Rich in Probiotics
Probiotics provide your gut with healthy bacteria. These bacteria can improve many aspects of health, including digestion, inflammation and even weight loss. (Source)
2. High in Antioxidants
The fermented drink is known to be high in antioxidants which protect the body from damage caused by ‘free radicals.’ Free radicals are a normal by-product of processes in the body, but the key is to minimise their impact by having a diet rich in antioxidants. (Source)
3. Fights Bad Bacteria
Kombucha contains acetic acid, which is able to kill harmful microorganisms (Source)
4. Cancer Prevention
Nature International Weekly Journal of Science research found that microbiome has anticancer properties. The live microorganisms found in Kombucha gives a natural defence to cancer and other diseases. (Source)
5. Improves Mental Health
Kombucha contains vitamin B12 which are known to increase energy levels and improve your mental wellbeing. (Source)
6. Beneficial for Lungs
Kombucha has shown to work as a form of treatment for silicosis, a lung disease caused by repeated exposure to silica particles. (Source)
7. Manages Diabetes
Some research suggests that Kombucha is beneficial for people with diabetes as it helps alleviate symptoms. (Source)
8. May Support Joint Health
Kombucha contains glucosamines, which are often recommended to people with joint pain. (Source)
So, if you want to break away from drinking fizzy drinks / juices to cut down on sugar then I suggest you move on to Kombucha. It’s tasty, healthy and sugar-free!