Kombucha Brew - DIY Healthy Tea, and At Home
DIY Kombucha and why you should brew, for health
Have you ever heard of Kombucha? You may have been seeing this fizzy, fermented, refreshing drink popping up in your groceries and convenience stores.
Healthy people you know, are all over it, for the probiotics and gut health, and touting how wonderful it is for your body and health. Kombucha does have WAY less sugar than most beverages, often less than 15g/400mL bottle, fun flavours, and perk up from caffeinated tea as the basis of the tea.
You bring your purchase to the cash and ... What?!?!
The same price as a fancy coffee or tea, it causes, pause.
I'm getting something healthy, is there a cost on my health?! The usual rolling justification for something you want for your wellness (and cause it tastes so good) but the price makes it just a bit unsustainable, financially, le sigh. There has GOT to be a better way.
Voxie to the rescue!
Have no fear, we are here to walk you through the health benefits and, even better, how to brew Kombucha yourself, with what you may already have in your home.
What are the Benefits of Drinking Kombucha?
Kombucha has a long laundry list of why it is a good solution as a refreshing drink, as well as its health benefits. Science is on this brews side.
Kombucha has been shown to;
Improve digestion and gut health
Decrease inflammation and depression
and possible weight loss, especially when derived from green tea.
Now that we know how good for you this fermented refreshment is, let us take a look at how we begin to bring it into our revised repertoire of refreshment.
There are three main ingredients:
Good quality tea of your choice, about 5 bags for about 3L of water (black, white, or green tea is commonly used.)
1 cup of good quality Raw Sugar; and
Scoby (probiotic culture) This can be purchased at most grocery stores where you find Kombucha to purchase. Additionally, as your Scoby will grow in size and multiply, while brewing, you can ask a brewing enthusiast, if they have extra, and, trust us, they will share.
A pot, to brew the tea in. We have used a pasta pot, large enough to hold 3.5L or 10-12 cups of water.
Your choice of tea for your brew. 5 bags or about 70-80 grams of loose leaf tea and brewing bowl.
Mason, pickle or large glass vessels are the best to brew your Kombucha. It is not recommended to use ceramic or plastic to store your tea. Glass provides the most inert option, and will provide you with the purest kombucha.
A funnel for transfer from the jars, and coffee filters/cheese cloth for capping the jar once filled, to allow gasses to escape, but keep bacteria, out. A rubber band to secure the top.
Reusable individual jars to fill up once your brew is complete. Try to remember to keep the caps, after you wash and store the, so you can complete your second fermentation.
(Optional) Heating strip. This can be found at Kombucha shops are are beneficial if you have a storage space that has drafts. Consistent temperature is important for your kombucha to brew well.
(Optional) Soda stream machine. We found that once our brew was completed, to make the tea more like the commercial option, we added some extra bubbles before we placed it into the fridge. (This also gives you an opportunity to reuse all the bottle Kombucha you have previously purchased. Healthy for you AND saving the earth, well, a little bit ;))
Fill your pot to the top with cold water. Once boiling add your tea, sugar and let steep.
Let your brew completely cool. The Scoby does not like warmth so room temperature is necessary before you add.
Transfer the tea mixture into the glass jar (jars) making sure to stir any residual sugar from the bottom.
Add the Scoby to the jar (s).
Cover with the top of the jar, and secure with an elastic. Set the jars aside in a dark quiet place to ferment. Once you start the process, it is best to keep the jars stationary, and not mix up the sediment in the jars. This is also where you put small amounts of flavouring into the jars. Green apple, ginger and cilantro, peach or mango, hot pepper.
Typical brewing time is from 5-7 days depending on the size of the jars. To check and taste to see if your brew is at your desired flavour, take a spoon and go past the scoby on the surface of the tea. You want to keep all calm, until you are ready to bottle.
Once you have your desired taste, collect your Scoby and keep in a separate jar with cold filtered water for your next brew. Strain the tea through fabric or cheese cloth to get the micro Scoby's from your brew.
If you desire more bubbles in your brew, you can keep the filtered kombucha in the fridge, OR, hit it with a soda stream, then bottle and place in the fridge. Warning** The kombucha will already be somewhat carbonized by this stage, treat the extra bubbly option, out of the machine, like a bottle of soda...that dropped on the floor. S L O W L Y !
Now you have it. A refreshing and healthy drink at both a fraction of the price of commercial Kombucha, but also flavoured exactly how you want it. Enjoy!
Monica Polo | Monica Polo is Co-Founder and COO of Voxie. As a practicing interior designer (BID) and a Materials Health and Wellness educator, Monica brings current and relevant practices on how to holistically design a healthier world. This allows her readers, students and clients, to own their own wellness and move toward positive change, at their pace. As a social activist, she weaves the Burning Man, 10 principles into her personal wellness philosophy through her work at the Design Center, at RSID. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her two sons.