Kombucha is a fermented, slightly bubbly, sweet drink that’s become very popular recently because of its purported health benefits. Many claim that the probiotics nature of kombucha improves digestion, strengthens the immune system, detoxes your body, and improves mental health.
Where does Kombucha come from?
Based on research, kombucha most likely comes from China, though there are sources that say kombucha was also drunk in Russia and spread to Europe from there.
How is Kombucha made?
Sweet tea is combined with a mixture of bacteria and yeast (commonly known as Scoby, which stands for ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast’), and then left in an environment that encourages fermentation. As the bacteria and yeast feed on the sugar, the natural chemical reaction releases carbon dioxide, which creates the effervescent nature of kombucha. Fruits, spices, flowers, and herbs are added sometimes during the tea steeping process or after fermentation to add flavour.
How do I make Kombucha at home?
It’s not difficult to make kombucha at home, but it will take a lot of time to do it, so make sure you’re patient.
First, you’ll need to make your Scoby.
To do that, you’ll need:
8 cups water
½ cup sugar
4 bags black tea
1 cup unpasteurized, unflavored store bought kombucha
A large glass container (large enough to hold all the liquid)
2-3 cheese cloths
Add the water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add your sugar, and stir till dissolved. Add the tea bags, and allow it to steep. Let the water cool to room temperature. Pour this into the glass container, pour in the store-bought kombucha. Cover with a few layers of the cheese cloth, secure with a rubber band, and keep it somewhere dark and cool. Ideally, the temperature should be between 20-24 degrees Celsius. Leave the container there for 1-4 weeks, till a ½ cm Scoby has formed.
Now that you’ve got your Scoby, let’s start making kombucha.
You will need:
14 cups water
1 cup sugar
8 bags black or green tea (you can also use fruit teas if you’d like)
2 cups unflavoured kombucha
1 or 2 SCOBYs (this will depend on how many containers you need to hold your kombucha. You basically need 1 per container)
A large glass container
Add the water to a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add the sugar and tea, and allow it to steep till water cools to room temperature. Pour into the container.
With clean hands, place the Scoby in the container, cover with a few layers of the cheesecloth and secure tightly with a rubber band. Place the containers in the same place you put them before when making your Scoby. After 6 days, taste your kombucha. It should taste mildly sweet and slightly vinegary. The longer you allow the kombucha to ferment, the more sugar molecules will be used up and taste less sweet.
Strain the kombucha and pour it into new clean containers, leaving about 1-2 inches space at the top. Add your choice of sweetener (you can pick between pieces of fruit or juice, honey, candied ginger or candy of your choice), and secure tightly with the lid. Let this ferment further in the same place for 3 to 10 days, tasting after day 3 to see if you’re happy with the taste. Remember to open the lids every day to let some of the gases out, or else your container may explode from the buildup.