How-To: Start brewin’ your very own ‘Booch! (Kombucha)
I’m sure by now, you have seen or heard or have even tried it. Not to be confused with the “Hooch”, this fermented tea offers much more nutritional benefit and won’t leave ya hangin’ the next morning. (Actually, Kombucha has been known to be a great aid in curing a hangover!)
What is it? In a nut-shell, Kombucha is made by fermenting a culture of beneficial yeast and bacteria (known as the “SCOBY” or the “Mother”) with sweetened tea. Don’t let all those new words confuse you…basically it’s a hungry collection of yeast and bacteria eatin’ some sugar and livin’ in a big batch of tea. And Bonus - you don’t even consume all of the sugar you make it with – a lot of it is turned into other compounds through the fermentation process.
There is a lot of research and literature out there regarding Kombucha’s benefits, as well as reasons some people should actually avoid it. So, I will let you dig into your own research and decide for yourself, whether Kombucha is a good choice for you or not And, if you decide to give it a go, here’s the easiest way to do it!
See that big fat “Mother” in there? Isn’t she a beaut?
There are two ways to make your own Kombucha at home: the Batch Brew method and the Continuous Brew method. Today, we’re going to talk about the Continuous Brew method, which is ideal if you have more than one mouth to feed in your house, or if you just want to consume a heftier amount of ‘Booch, since it makes a larger amount quicker than the Batch process. The other cool benefit of the Continuous Brew, is that it offers a more diverse combo of beneficial yeast and bacteria, since you are using the same container for each batch and leave a bit of the previous brew behind to start the next. Yuuum Yuuum!
I’m going to break it down into super easy steps, because that’s how I learned…
Find a vessel that meets the following requirements:
Able to hold 1-5 gallons
Made from glass or porcelain (other materials can leach into your beloved ‘booch)
Has a spigot with plastic hardware on the inside of the vessel (no metal)
A cover that allows gasses to escape, but doesn’t let any critters like fruit flies or ants in
(I started with cheesecloth, but some punk fruit flies laid eggs on top that fell into my container and grew into larva on my “Mother”! Uhg! I quickly decided to use a tightly woven kitchen towel instead)
A rubber band to keep your cover in place
Find your “Mother”/SCOBY! The best way to do this is to ask a buddy to shave off a bit of theirs, but you can also buy a SCOBY online. If you get the hook-up from a buddy, ask for a bit of starter liquid, and if you order online, you will need to buy a store-bought ‘booch to help get yours going
Brew your tea and add your sugar. You will need six teabags and one cup of sugar per gallon of water. I started with a blend of Organic White and Oolong Teas and Organic Cane Sugar, but you can get adventurous and try whatever teas you would like (if you can handle the caffeine, Chai is awesome!!)
After you patiently wait a week or so, you can now drain your ‘booch and make your next batch! You will only drain half of the tea in your vessel and you can choose to empty into one container or several single-serve containers. This is also your opportunity to flavor your Kombucha and have it go through a second ferment by sitting on your counter for another few days (this is where it gets all fizzy, if that’s what you’re into)
Also, keep in mind, that your ‘Booch prefers her environment around 72-85 degrees, so if your kitchen is not able to provide that, get her a little mug heater that your container can rest on, or a Kombucha heating blanket. If not, you will end up with a scrawny, skinny SCOBY or a SCOBY with the wrong kind of bacteria. You want a nice, healthy, thick and juicy “Mother”!!
And that’s it! You now have your own batch of homemade Kombucha, as well as a whole other batch-a-brewin’! I recommend you get creative with your flavor add-in’s and do a little digging into what other’s are using…the possibilities are endless and it’s always nice to have a variety to reach for.
If you would like more detailed information on Kombucha or any other fermented food or beverages, GHHC has a resident fermentation expert, Gina Phelps who holds frequent fermentation workshops at the Health Center, so be sure to check those out!
Here is Gina's link for Kombucha recipe: http://letlivewellnesscenter.com/blog/13-how-do-i-make-continuous-brew-kombucha-here-we-go.html
Until next time, Enjoy and be well! Leave us a comment below letting us know what ya think and how you used it!