Kombucha is a fizzy, acidic, slightly sweet tonic beverage. It is made from tea, sugar and a kombucha culture called a ?mother? or scoby. The scoby looks like a giant gelatinous mushroom pancake! It is actually a symbiotic colony of beneficial bacteria and yeast cultures and is also called a ?mother? because it ferments the sweet tea and reproduces itself. The sugar provides carbohydrate fuel for the yeast and bacteria. The tea provides caffeine, oxygen, nitrogen, tannic acid, vitamins and minerals. Together they provide the nutrients that allow for the brewing process to occur. The yeasts break down the sugar, and the bacteria digest the yeast by-products which create the brew.
Once the fermentation has taken place, the beverage you have created contains probiotics, enzymes, acetic, lactic and glucoronic acids (key for liver detoxification), 0.5% alcohol (a very slight amount), carbon dioxide (which gives it fizz), glucose and simple sugars. This dark-coloured, energizing brew supports the immune system and aids in detoxification alongside being a cure for a hot thirsty day!
- 1 l of water
- 1/4 cup organic sugar
- 1 Tbsp or 2 teabags of black tea
- 1/2 cup mature kombucha mother or scoby* and the brew it is stored in wide-mouth glass jar
- Cloth and elastic band
- Optional: pH paper
- Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small cooking pot.
- Turn off the water, add the tea and let steep for 15 minutes.
- Strain the tea into the glass container.
- Once the tea has cooled to room temperature, add the scoby (opaque side up) and the “brew” that the scoby came in.
- Cover the jar with a cloth and secure with an elastic.
- Let sit in a dark place away from sunlight for 1-2 weeks.
- After about 7 days, a skin will start to form on the surface. This will be the new scoby.
- At this time, you can begin tasting the liquid under the scoby.
- The longer it sits, the more acidic it gets. Fermentation will be quick in summer and longer in winter. If you like, you can test with pH strips – the proper acidity is between 2.5 and 4.
- Once it reaches the acidity/taste you like, strain your brew and store in the fridge.
- Reserve 1 cup of liquid brew for the scoby to sit in, and begin your next batch.
How to find a scoby: from a friend (you create one each time you do a brew – pass it on to a friend (or get multiple batches going at once!), ask at your local health food store or order online.