What is it?
Kombucha is a slightly bubble fermented sweet tea drink made with the use of a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria). It uses the sugar and the caffeine in the tea to produce probiotics, which are simply amazing for a multitude of reasons!
Why do we need probiotics?
Probiotics help with liver detoxification, better digestion, increased energy, weight loss and nutrient assimilation, reducing yeast (candida), improved moods and increased pancreatic function. They’re also good for your gut because they put ‘good bacteria’ into your digestive tract. These ‘good’ bacteria help to keep you healthy by killing off the ‘bad’ bacteria and this boosts your immune system in turn.
How do you make it?
You can do the first ferment (F1) only, or a first and second ferment (F2).
To start, I use this recipe: ¼ cup sugar
1 litre water
2 tea bags (It’s recommended to use a mixture of black and Rooibos tea, but I’ve successfully used only Rooibos before)
(It’s recommended to use a mixture of black and Rooibos tea, but I’ve successfully used only Rooibos before)
I usually do a big batch of 4 litres at a time. I put the sugar, teabags and a bit of boiling water in a 1 litre jug and leave it until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has cooled. I then top this up with cold water, and add it to the big container. I then simply add 3 more jugs of cold tap water.
Add your SCOBY to this mixture.
If it’s your starting batch, leave it for a few weeks to ferment. Various factors influence how long it takes to become drinkable, so keep tasting it. It’s not an exact science, but rather something you do by ‘feel’.
If you’re just ‘topping up’ your continuous system, leave it for a day or 2 to ‘mix’ and then drink. You could bottle it at this stage.
*You might find that your bottles of decanted booch (F1) make little baby SCOBYs. Don’t throw these away, but keep them in a SCOBY hotel to bless out again later. If you have too many in the hotel, you can mix some into your compost heap!
*The first ferment booch doesn’t really go ‘off’, just sour (because the SCOBY keeps ‘eating’ the sugar). It’s still drinkable, but not very enjoyable! I normally pour half the container of sour booch out and top it up with the new mixture. You can use sour booch as shampoo, soil fertilizer or a base for salad dressings!
If you want to do a second ferment (F2) to add some flavour to your booch, you have to wait until it’s drinkable, then pour some into bottles and add fruit or spice to it.
*I use glass swing-top bottles and ‘burp’ them every day. Remember, you’re going to have a buildup of gas, and your bottles could explode if you don’t let that gas out.
Leave the bottles for one week, strain and decant into the bottles again. This should be enjoyed quite quickly, as it doesn’t last as long as a F1.
*I use a continuous system, which basically means that I use a big 15 litre container (we use a plastic bottle with a tap that they sell at the reverse osmosis water suppliers, even though glass is better. The plastic works fine for us).
*Make sure that your bottle is clean, and stays sealed. You don’t want any dodgy mould or bacteria getting in and affecting your booch! This could be fatal.
*Pregnant and nursing mothers need to start off very slowly. It’s preferable for your body to become used to it before you fall pregnant.
*If it makes you feel bad at any stage, stop drinking it!
* Alcoholics should be aware that it contains a minute amount of alcohol because of the fermentation process.
*Kids can have booch in very low doses.The key is to start off with very little (kids and adults) and later work up. I drink about a cup per day, and the toddler has half a cup. She’s been drinking it since she was about 1 year old.
*The key is to start off with very little (kids and adults) and later work up. I drink about a cup per day, and the toddler has half a cup. She’s been drinking it since she was about 1 year old.
A few other things you can do with kombucha:
- Make ice lollies.
- Use it instead of soda.
- Mix it with fruit juice or add it to smoothies.
- Marinade meat.