Kombucha tea is an ancient Chinese beverage which has been around for over 2000 years. It’s a delicious sparkling drink which can be flavoured with herbs, spices or fruits.
Kombucha is produced using sweetened tea and a symbiotic community of bacteria and yeast (a.k.a. SCOBY)
As it is naturally fermented, it is a probiotic beverage and is reputed to be beneficial for gut health and improving digestion. The bi-product being reduction in depression, anxiety and improved mental clarity.
It also contains Glucosamine’s which are known to prevent joint inflammation by increasing the production of Hyaluronic Acids. These acids help to increase the production of synovial fluid and preserve cartilage.
There are also claims that Kombucha aids in liver health by producing a lot of enzymes and bacterial acids that your body uses, thus taking the burden off the pancreas and the liver.
Where do you get it? You can buy it in health food stores (be ready to be shocked because it’s about $7 for a 600ml bottle) or you can brew your own.
It costs only a few cents a litre to produce.
The SCOBY can be ordered online or get one from a friend who brews Kombucha. The magic in the SCOBY is that it reproduces, so anyone who brews Kombucha will have a “baby” to share with you to get you started.
I ordered my initial SCOBY from The Good Brew Company. It arrived promptly and was well packaged after apparently attending several festivals in places of peace, love and hippydom.
You can be quite creative with the flavours you add to make it a delightful and refreshing alternative to sweetened or artificially sweetened commercial beverages.
My Mum brews and flavours hers with chunks of fresh ginger. Her brew is clear, sparkly and very delicious.
The picture below is of my latest brew. I used Black Tea (Bushells) and organic raw sugar (the SCOBY devours all the sugar to convert it into the enzymes and antioxidants). Next batch I am trying a Chinese Tea which was bought back from Beijing as a special gift. See the bubbles! Better than Champagne.
It’s fun to brew up this delicious drink, whether the health claims are true or exaggerated.
Here is the recipe I use:
2 litres of water1 cup sugar
Strain the tea into a tall (sterilized) jar and leave to cool down to room temperature. Then add your SCOBY and the starter liquid. Cover with a clean cloth which will allow air to flow but keep any insects out. I use a piece of cheesecloth and an elastic band.
Leave the jar to brew for about 7 days. You will see the SCOBY growing larger and the tea will become paler. The longer you leave it, the more sugar will be devoured by the SCOBY so it will become more tart in flavour.
Lift off the SCOBY and separate into two – you will see a “baby” has formed underneath. Place the “Mother” into a sterilised bowl with about half a cup of the liquid to start your next batch. Bottle the remaining liquid into sterilized bottles which have really tight seals. I use recycled beer bottles with pull down clips to lock shut. Add your desired flavouring – I add some grated ginger.