Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that dates back to ancient times. If someone offers you Kombucha, they also will probably offer a long list of health benefits to convince you to drink it. Their claims, however, lack a substantial amount of scientific evidence. Not because the evidence isn’t there, but because little testing has been done. Like with many natural remedies, though, anecdotal accounts praising the healing properties of Kombucha abound.
The glucuronic acid found in properly made Kombucha draws environmental and metabolic toxins from the body. Glucuronic acid also encourages the body to produce polysaccharides which build strong connective tissue and cartilage and boost the immune system. However, the level of glucuronic acid in a brew is variable, according to the conditions in which it was made. So learning the proper method is important.
How To Make Kombucha Tea
You need to have a Kombucha start to begin. This start resembles a grey pancake or mushroom top and, in fact, is often referred to as a mushroom. The technical name for it is a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). If you do not know anyone currently making Kombucha who can give you a SCOBY, you can order them online. I recommend LaurelFarms.com. Their Kombucha is the only FDA approved in the United States and certified as having a significant amount of glucuronic acid.
You will also need the following items:
- Black or green tea bags
- Sugar (not honey)
- Stainless steel pot for making the tea
- 4 quart clear glass mixing bowl
- Measuring cup
Bring 3 quarts of fresh water (not municipal tap water) to a boil.
Add 1-3 cups of sugar and boil for five minutes to completely dissolve. Remove from the heat and add 4-5 black tea bags or 4 green and 2 black. Do not use organic tea as it can encourage mold growth. Let the tea bags steep for 10 minutes, then remove and stir. Cool the tea for 20 minutes then pour into your clear glass bowl.
Do not use any other materials as the Kombucha will draw the poisons out of plastics and metals into your drink. According to Betsy Pryor, founder of Laural Farms, “the Kombucha will try to detoxify its fermenting bowl or tea storage container.” She continues to explain that making, fermenting, and storing Kombucha in any plastic, colored glass, crystal, ceramic or porcelain (even lead-free), or any metal (even stainless steel) can contaminate your tea. Also, the toxins in the tea made from the contaminated Kombucha or its SCOBY can “damage your liver or brain or cause other health problems.” Only use clear glass like Pyrex or Anchor-Hocking.
Let the tea cool to room temperature. Do not let it sit longer than two hours as it will begin to attract mold spores. If it is hot in the kitchen, you can cool it quicker by filling a clear glass with ice and setting it in the middle of the bowl.
Once cool, add 4-6 ounces of Kombucha tea as a start and place the SCOBY on top of the tea with the rougher, darker side down. Cover the bowl with a clean, thin cotton cloth and secure with a large rubber band. T-shirt material or flour-sack type towels work great. Cheesecloth is not recommended.
Place your bowl in a dimly lit place that is well ventilated. Keep it there for 7-10 days. The longer you let it ferment, the more tart the flavor and the more of the healthy acids it produces.
There are many different ways that people will tell you how to make your Kombucha. In fact, on most websites, you will see it fermenting in 1-gallon pickle jars. However, the larger the opening of the fermenting container, the more oxygen that is available for the fermenting process and the healthier your brew.
After 7-10 days, remove the mother and baby SCOBY’s from the top of the brew and set aside in a clear glass container. Strain the tea through a fresh, clean cloth into a clear glass refrigerator container. If your Kombucha is ready, it will have a bit of carbonation to it and a tart taste. The longer you let it ferment, the thicker the baby will grow, and the tarter the flavor of the tea.
Save back ½ cup of the tea to start your next batches. Use either the mother or the baby or both. If you don’t have a friend to give the extra SCOBY to, they make a great addition to the compost bin.
You can drink 4 ounces of Kombucha up to three times a day. If the taste is too strong, dilute it with water or juice. I add my Kombucha to a glass of iced Yerba Mate tea for an especially refreshing drink. Enjoy!
Photo by zeevveez