How to Make Kombucha from Home
The very first sip of kombucha will make you fall in love with it – that is how good it is – and that is not only because it tastes good but also because it contains loads of good bacteria that improve your digestive system and boost your immune system in return. So many people do not know about the health benefits of kombucha tea, but they include it in their diet because of its taste, which is quite like a mix of tart green apple and sour stone fruits with an underlying sweetness. Thankfully, you do not need to spend a lot of money to include it in your diet because you can actually learn how to make kombucha tea from home.
Kombucha and the SCOBY
Used today as a functional food, kombucha is a fermented form of sugar and black tea. Kombucha actually starts as a sugary tea but is then fermented using a scoby, which refers to a “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.” SCOBY is quite like the mother used to make vinegar. The bacteria and yeast present in the scoby eats the sugar in kombucha tea and turns it into a slight sour but refreshingly fizzy fermented beverage. After fermentation, kombucha tea contains very few calories and sugar – it also contains B-vitamins, vinegar, probiotics, enzymes, and a high concentration of gluconic, acetic, and lactic acids.
Black tea is usually used to make kombucha, but you can also use green tea in place of black tea. While a bottle of kombucha usually costs you up to $5, you can make cheaper by making it at home. Including kombucha tea in your routine is beneficial because it contains beneficial probiotics, including lactobacillus, Acetobacter, Gluconacetobacter, and Zygosaccharomyces. These good bacteria work together to offer some amazing health benefits.
· Detoxification: It helps detoxify your body by counteracting liver cell toxicity. It lowers oxidative damage to liver cells mainly because of the antioxidants it contains.
- Digestion: It helps improve digestion by eliminating free radicals that damage your digestive system. The presence of probiotics, enzymes, and beneficial acid makes it beneficial for your digestive health. It also heals and prevents stomach ulcers and leaky gut. By limiting the growth of Candida yeast within the gut, it maintains a healthy balance in your digestive tract and prevents several health issues.
- Energy: The fermentation process also leads to the formation of iron that helps boost your energy levels. Iron boosts blood hemoglobin and improves oxygen supply to cells and tissues, which in turn help your body create energy. The presence of B-vitamins and some caffeine also explains why some people feel charged after drinking kombucha tea.
- Immune Health: It helps control free radicals and limit oxidative damage, which in turn boosts your immune system. It also contains vitamin C, which not only boosts immune system but also protects you against inflammatory diseases, cell damage, and tumors.
- Joint Health: The presence of glucosamines improves production of synovial hyaluronic acid that makes kombucha tea beneficial for joints. It preserves collage and prevents arthritic pain. Not only does it improve the health of your joints, it also improves your skin and prevents wrinkles and other skin blemishes.
- Cancer Prevention: One of the biggest benefits of kombucha is that it helps prevent cancer – it promotes recovery as well. These anti-carcinogenic properties come from the presence of glucaric acid in kombucha. Regular consumption may even help recover from stomach cancer.
- Weight Loss: By improving your metabolism, kombucha helps lower your weight. It also limits fat accumulation and makes it easier to lose extra pounds and get in a perfect shape. It also aids weight loss because it contains acetic acid and polyphenols.
Making Kombucha Tea at Home
You already know the benefits and may as well be thinking of including it in your diet. Kombucha tea is definitely a healthy addition to any diet plan, but you do not have to buy it from stores because you can make it from home. Some people think they should not try to brew kombucha at home but experts have confirmed that kombucha is less likely to make you sick, especially considering the fact that it has been brewed for centuries mostly in environments even more unhygienic than your kitchen.
Nevertheless, it makes sense to pay attention to certain safety measures and ensure you brew kombucha as safely as possible. The focus should be on the making the SCOBY healthy – the kombucha is as healthy as healthy the SCOBY is. Before you get started with the recipe to make kombucha at home, it is important to keep in mind that it does contain some alcohol. While it is no more than 1% and is the result of the fermentation process, you may still want to keep in mind if you have alcohol sensitivities.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you go any further:
- Do not use plastic or metal containers because they can react with the acidic kombucha and damage the SCOBY.
- Keep everything as clean as possible to help provide the right environment for good bacterial growth.
- Pay attention to room temperature because fermentation process goes quicker in warmer temperatures.
- Discard the whole batch if you notice any signs of mold growing on the SCOBY.
Getting Started with Your SCOBY
You will have to get started with your SCOBY, which is the mother of the kombucha and facilitates the fermentation process. Here is what you need to make your SCOBY:
- 7 cups of clean water
- Half cup of white sugar
- 4 bags of black tea
- A cup of store-bought kombucha (unflavored, unpasteurized)
- A large ceramic jar
- Rubber bands and a tightly wove cloth
- Take a clean pot and bring water to a boil in it. Take it off and dissolve sugar in the water.
- Add the tea and let it steep for while until it is at room temperature.
- Pour it into a ceramic jar followed by store-bought kombucha. Be sure to include little gunkies at the bottom when pouring kombucha into the jar.
- Use a few layers of the tightly woven cloth to cover the jar and use a rubber band to secure it properly.
- Leave it in somewhere dark at room temperature for 1-4 weeks for the fermentation process to complete and have a 1/4 inch SCOBY.
- Leave SCOBY there in its original tea unless you need it to brew your first batch. If you take the right care of it, the SCOBY can actually grow for years.
- Do not use decaf tea because the SCOBY will not grow in this case.
- You can use green tea but it is always better to opt for black tea, especially until your SCOBY has grown big and strong.
- Avoid using any honey because it contains botulism bacteria that can grow exponentially and prove harmful.
- Do not keep checking the jar while the fermentation is still going on.
Getting Started with Kombucha Tea
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to make a gallon of kombucha tea at home:
- A cup of sugar
- 3 ½ quarts of water
- 2 cups of starter tea
- 8 bags of black tea
- A SCOBY per fermentation jar
- Optional for flavoring: 2 cups of fruit juice, 2 cups of chopped fruit, 2 tablespoons of flavored tea, 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs, ¼ cup of honey
- Equipment: A stockpot, tightly woven cloth, 1-gallon glass jar, 6 16oz glass bottles with plastic lids, small funnel
- Start by making the tea base. For this, take some water in a bowl and bring this to a boil. Take it off and stir in the sugar. Let it dissolve and then drop in the tea. Let it steep for a while – It make take a few hours for the tee to cool down completely. Consider placing the pot in an ice bath to speed up the cooling process.
- After the tea is cool, take out the tea bags. You should also strain out any loose tea and then stir in the starter tea. It is important to use the starter tea because it plays a role in keeping the liquid acidic, which ensures unfriendly bacteria do not flourish during the fermentation process.
- Get a 1-gallong glass jar and pour your mixture into it. Get the SCOBY and slide it into the jar – ensure that you have cleaned your hands thoroughly while handling the SCOBY. Use tightly woven cloth to cover the jar and use rubber bands to secure its mouth properly.
- Leave the jar at room temperature for about 7-10 days. Do not mess with the mixture but be sure to check the SCOBY and the kombucha periodically.
- Know that everything is going fine if you notice a cream-colored layer of SCOBY forming on the kombucha. This usually happens within the first few days. Do not worry if the new layer floats separately from the old SCOBY. Other signs of healthy fermentation include accumulated sediment, floating brown stringy bits, and some bubbles in the jar, especially around the SCOBY.
- After 7 days, taste the kombucha. Take some of it in a cup and taste it. Bottle it only when you believe there is a perfect balance of tartness and sweetness. Just before you do it, you should remove the SCOBY for your next batch of kombucha. Get a pot of strong tea and put the SCOBY in it – be sure to lift the SCOBY out of the kombucha with extreme care.
- Now, measure out the starter tea from the current batch and set it aside. Get a few bottles and pour the fermented kombucha into them. Use the small funnel to transfer the kombucha from your jar to the bottles. Ensure that you leave at least a half inch of headroom in each bottle, especially if you decide to include any herbs, juice, or fruit at this moment.
- Leave your bottles at room temperature for another 1-3 days – you usually need this much of time for carbonation to happen. Once done, you can refrigerate the finished kombucha and use it within a month.
- Ensure that you use tightly woven cloth to cover the jar; something like cheesecloth is not going to work great because small insects can still wiggle through the layers.
- Stick to the basic ratio to make a gallon – 8 bags of tea, a cup of sugar, and a couple of cups starter tea.
- Always use black tea to make the SCOBY, but you can always use white tea, green tea, oolong tea, etc., while making kombucha.
It is better to add flavors once the kombucha has fermented properly. You can add flavors like limejuice, freshly squeezed lemon, blended berries, pomegranate juice, or even ginger root juice. Add these flavors when the kombucha is ready to drink. Keep in mind that some perishable fruits, such as berries are not going to last as long as the kombucha does.
Can Anyone Enjoy Kombucha Tea?
While there are many amazing health benefits associated with kombucha tea, you may want to avoid it in certain situations. It is usually better to avoid it when you have a weakened immune system or digestive problems. You are more likely to deal with side effects when you do not take special care while making the SCOBY at home. It is therefore important to use clean working spaces, sterile equipment, and high-quality ingredients to prevent contamination.
You may also want to avoid drinking kombucha if you have difficulty digesting anything with a high level of acidity. Kombucha is highly acidic and may cause problems for people who already have digestive issues, such as heartburn, stomach ulcers, etc. Similarly, it is better to avoid drinking kombucha when you are nursing or pregnant – that is mainly because you should avoid alcohol and caffeine in pregnancy and kombucha has both of these ingredients.
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