Brewing Kombucha. It’s Rookie Season.

Brewing KombuchaI have become a big fan of Kombucha. I know I’m late to the trend,  but I like it now, so better late than never!  What is Kombucha you ask? Kombucha tea is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. Although it’s sometimes referred to as kombucha mushroom tea, kombucha is not a mushroom — it’s a colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha tea is made by adding the colony to sugar and tea, and allowing the mix to ferment. The resulting liquid contains vinegar, B vitamins and a number of other chemical compounds. – The Mayo Clinic

I feel like it has been a big part of my recent weight loss because it aids digestion. This improved digestion will also lead to improvements with my immune system.  I can tell my immune system has improved a little because my joint pain has decreased.  I have noticed by detoxing my system, I can tell what foods cause joint paint like, you guessed it, sugar. My joint pain isn’t 100% better,  but detoxing and keeping my gut in balance has kept me from having to use steroids.  I also feel my energy returning since surgery faster than ever.  So I consider that a success!

Here are reasons to drink Kombucha:
1. Improved digestion
2. Weight loss
3. Boosts immune system
4. Additional probiotics
5. Detoxify the liver
6. Reduces stress
7. More energy
8. A bunch of other stuff about improving the alkaline balance in your body
9. Can help you kick soda habit (I am working on this)
10. Yummy!

I had heard of Kombucha years ago,  but thought it was some hippie fad.  I then looked at the price a gawked!!  $3 dollars a bottle!  So I passed.  But with my recent push to health,  I decided to spend what I would spend if I was going to the doctor or getting a prescription for an ailment.

I have tried various brands and flavors and have found two favorites. Holy Kombucha and Synergy.  I read the ingredients and became curious on how I could make this drink myself.  Especially since we need every dollar since our medical and therapy bills are so high. I would see 2-5 ingredients only and thought easy, right? My recent juicing concoctions like the juice I made that tasted like a Moscow Mule made me think I could do good things.

Well,  it’s a little more complicated than juicing. You have to brew and ferment to create this concoction.  After some research on starter kits,  I bought a highly recommended starter kit on Amazon from Get Kombucha.  They have great videos resources and send you everything,  down to the organic sugar,  pH tester sticks,  loose tea,  gloves and more.  You must have your own 1 or 2 gallon container.  I saved 16 Oz bottles from Kombucha I purchased at the store to divide the batch and do the secondary fermentation later.  (I have a thing for bottles and jars.  Drives my husband crazy.)

Today I am brewing my first batch.  I  wanted to document the process so I can share with my friends and family.  The beauty is that I will be able to make and share starter kits so you can do it too! I want my friends and family to join me so we can support each other.   This will be an imperfect process,  but as I like to say,  it’s progress,  not perfection.  And that is better than doing nothing!

Here is everything you need to start:
Filertered or Spring Water
Tea of choice
Sugar (Organic preferably)
SCOBY –  Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. They say to name your mother SCOBY.  I think mine will be Big Mama as I will be making baby SCOBY’s to share with my friends.

The steps include:
1. Bring 26 Oz of water to a boil.
2. Add tea 5 tablespoons of tea.
3. Strain out tea if you used a loose blend.
4. Sir in the 2.5 cups of sugar.
5. Pour into the 2 gallon container and wait for it to become room temperature.
6. Pour the SCOBY and starter tea (this will come from Big Mama) into the room temp sweet tea and wait.
7. Start checking the tea 4 days later and keep testing until you reach the desired taste.
8. I will do a secondary fermentation to add both flavor and more fizz. I’ll do another post on this step once I complete the process in a couple weeks.
9. Save your SCOBY and 2.5 cups of the Kombucha in a jar. This will be how you make your next batch. Take the baby SCOBY that grows from this process and share in the liquid with a friend!

Here are some pictures from today:

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Update: I checked after 4 days and my batch needs more time!

I was so nervous about the process I watched a ton of videos on YouTube this morning. But so far,  it’s been easy.  You must make sure all your utensils and containers are very clean.  I used my kettle to pour boiling water on my supplies.  I  didn’t have a good 2 gallon jar,  so I took some online advice and used a crock pot.  You can use glass,  stainless steel or porcelain containers.  I will get a glass container with a spigot,  but for now this is good.  I wrote the brew date and the day I want to start tasting the batch.  I decided to start testing at four days since this is my first batch.

When it comes to secondary fermentation, I think that I’m going to try a ginger first. Then I think I’m going to do berries. In one video they showed you how to juice basil and mint, add to the bottle.  Then add kombucha and proceed with the secondary fermentation to get the flavor and fizz. Another option is to add your perfect green food so you get a yummy version of your green juice.

Anything that has the fruit and other flavors they have in the store has gone through a secondary fermentation.  However the ones in stores can also contain less than the best ingredients. Now I will know exactly what goes into my kombucha.

I am hoping my kids will like this too (in very small doses).  They both have food allergies and I have read that using probiotics and getting the gut right can help with those types of allergies.  If it’s flavored and has carbonation due to the secondary fermentation, I can’t see why they wouldn’t! Also, my son’s allergy medication sometimes causes stomach upset.  Upping his current probiotics helps,  but this would give him a yummy way to get the additional good bacteria. I’ll talk more about my kids and their probiotics later.  We are believers!

Moving forward,  this will give my friends and I the ability to make a gallon of kombucha for just a dollar a batch! Let me know if you’re interested in getting a starter kit in the future. Cheers to your health!  Follow me at @mrs_musick.