6.09.2014

Kombucha : The Living Drink

I've been brewing Kombucha for about 2 years now and have been a keen advocate of this tea since then. I got my first "SCOBY" through my husband who had an aunt who had been making this type of tea for many years. I enjoy its taste and I feel that it is a good replacementsubstitute for caffeine. It keeps me up and energized throughout the day. 



Kombucha starts out as a sugary tea, which is then fermented with the help of a scoby. "SCOBY" is actually an acronym for "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast." It's very close cousins to the mother used to make vinegar.  
The scoby bacteria and yeast eat most of the sugar in the tea, transforming the tea into a refreshingly fizzy, slightly sour fermented (but mostly non-alcoholic) beverage that is relatively low in calories and sugar.

HEALTH BENEFITS

#1: Boosts the Immune System
Got allergies? Are you run down frequently with colds? You can build up your immunity naturally by consuming more fermented foods and drinksOur immune system is in our gut. Most of us have grown up on antibiotics and other drugs that kill off our beneficial bacteria. The result? Kombucha’s fermentation process encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are good for your gut, and good for immunity. It is also rich in antioxidants, which help to strengthen immunity.

#2: Natural Detoxifier

Kombucha has probiotics and enzymes that promote detoxification. One of the main jobs of the good bacteria in your gut is to detoxify. By adding more beneficial bacteria to your gut, you’re getting the job done faster.
Kombucha promotes detoxification. Regular consumption of kombucha tea also supports liver function.

#3: Rich in Vitamins and Enzymes

In addition to beneficial bacteria, kombucha contains B vitamins and enzymes. B vitamins provide support for the body’s metabolic functions including overall energy, utilization of carbohydrates, heart health, and healthy hair, skin, and nails. Adequate intake of B vitamins can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, boost memory, and relieve PMS.

#4: Energy Boost

Everyone needs more energy these days, which is why so many of us are reaching for coffee, tea, sugar, caffeinated sodas, and “energy drinks”.
Kombucha is the original energy drink. This is not an artificial jolt of caffeine or sugar — but a natural energy booster. Because kombucha helps the body detoxify, there is less burden on your system, and as a result, you get more energy. As stated above, kombucha is also rich in B vitamins, which gives the body energy.

#5: Increased Metabolism

Enzymes boost metabolism. In addition, all the beneficial bacterial and enzymes in the kombucha help your body work better and take the burden off of it’s functioning.

#6: PMS Relief

Kombucha helps to relieve PMS. How? B vitamins help to break down and flush out excess estrogen from the body (a condition called estrogen dominance). This can help to reduce PMS symptoms.

#7: Relief from Arthritis and Joint Pain

I was diagnosed with arthritis when I was in my 20s. I cured myself by going on an elimination diet (elimination of all possible allergens) and taking therapeutic grade probiotics. It took about 2 years, but I fully recovered.
Arthritis is an immune disorder. Scroll back up to Kombucha Health Benefit # 1 — kombucha is rich in probiotic bacteria which help to rebuild healthy gut flora, and strengthen immunity.
THE SCOBY


SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.  It floats, it's rubbery and slightly spongy, brown stringy bits hang from it, and it transforms sugary tea into something fizzy and sour. 
There are a lot of theories about why the bacteria and yeast form this jelly-like layer of cellulose at the top of the kombucha. It supposedly protects the fermenting tea from the air and helps maintain a very specific environment inside the jar that is shielded from outsiders, aka unfriendly bacteria.

Probiotics?

One might ask, so what's actually in kombucha? Kombucha is indisputably full of probiotics and other " happy things" that our intestines love and that help boost our overall health. The claims that it cures things like arthritis, depression, and heart burn have less of a proven track record but I am sharing this based on my experience with it. 


KOMBUCHA RECIPE (i just also got this online and have been using it since I started brewing)
Makes about 1 gallon
Ingredients
14 cups or 3.5 quarts of water
1 cup white sugar
8 bags black tea (or 2 tablespoons loose tea) - I use the regular Lipton Black tea you can buy in the local groceries
2 cups starter tea from last batch of kombucha or store-bought (unpasteurized, neutral flavored) kombucha 
1 scoby per fermentation jar
Optional flavoring extras for bottling: 1 to 2 cups chopped fruit, 2 to 3 cups fruit juice, 1/4 cup honey, 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh herbs or spices
Equipment
Stock pot
1-gallon glass jar or two 2-quart glass jars
Bottles: Six 16-oz glass bottles with plastic lids, 6 swing-top bottles, or clean soda bottles
Small funnel

Instructions

Note: Avoid prolonged contact between the kombucha and metal both during and after brewing. This can affect the flavor of your kombucha and weaken the scoby over time.
1. Make the Tea Base: Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Drop in the tea and allow it to steep until the water has cooled. Depending on the size of your pot, this will take a few hours. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the pot in an ice bath.
2. Add the Starter Tea: Once the tea is cool, remove the tea bags or strain out the loose tea. Stir in the starter tea. (The starter tea makes the liquid acidic, which prevents unfriendly bacteria from taking up residence in the first few days of fermentation.)
3. Transfer to Jars and Add the Scoby: Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon glass jar (or divide between two 2-quart jars, in which case you'll need 2 scobys) and gently slide the scoby into the jar with clean hands. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of cheesecloth or paper towels secured with a rubber band.
4. Ferment for 7 to 14 Days: Keep the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and where it won't get jostled. Ferment for 7 to 14 days, checking the kombucha and the scoby periodically.
It's not unusual for the scoby to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways. A new cream-colored layer of scoby should start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days. It usually attaches to the old scoby, but it's ok if they separate. You may also see brown stringy bits floating beneath the scoby, sediment collecting at the bottom, and bubbles collecting around the scoby. This is all normal and signs of healthy fermentation.
After seven days, begin tasting the kombucha daily by pouring a little out of the jar and into a cup. When it reaches a balance of sweetness and tartness that is pleasant to you, the kombucha is ready to bottle.

5. Remove the Scoby: Before proceeding, prepare and cool another pot of strong tea for your next batch of kombucha, as outlined above. With clean hands, gently lift the scoby out of the kombucha and set it on a clean plate. As you do, check it over and remove the bottom layer if the scoby is getting very thick.
6. Bottle the Finished Kombucha: Measure out your starter tea from this batch of kombucha and set it aside for the next batch. Pour the fermented kombucha (straining, if desired) into bottles using the small funnel, along with any juice, herbs, or fruit you may want to use as flavoring. Leave about a half inch of head room in each bottle. (Alternatively, infuse the kombucha with flavorings for a day or two in another jar covered with cheesecloth, strain, and then bottle. This makes a cleaner kombucha without "stuff" in it.)

7. Carbonate and Refrigerate the Finished Kombucha: Store the bottled kombucha at room-temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate. Until you get a feel for how quickly your kombucha carbonates, it's helpful to keep it in plastic bottles; the kombucha is carbonated when the bottles feel rock solid. Refrigerate to stop fermentation and carbonation, and then consume your kombucha within a month.
8. Make a Fresh Batch of Kombucha: Clean the jar being used for kombucha fermentation. Combine the starter tea from your last batch of kombucha with the fresh batch of sugary tea, and pour it into the fermentation jar. Slide the scoby on top, cover, and ferment.

Cheers,
Pattie

P.S.
Email me at sliceofpattie@gmail.com for questions, concerns or if you are interested in your product/establishment to be featured :)

1 comment:

recipes said...

Hi,

Thanks for your post. I've been dabbling in all things fermented these days. Nakakatuwa silang gawin. I make my own yogurt and lacto-fermented veggies, but have yet to try out kombucha. By any chance, do you share the scoby? Thanks.