Are you ready for a kombucha adventure?
I put together a few tips and tricks to teach you about kombucha and its benefits.
In other words, this is a guide for making kombucha! Several steps, but it is fun and manageable!
What Is Kombucha?
If you are new to kombucha, let me try to explain what it is and its benefits.
To put it simply, kombucha is a fermented drink made from black or green tea, sugar and a SCOBY.
(SCOBY is an acronym and it stands for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria & Yeast).
I like to think of kombucha as an all-natural probiotic that will cleanse and heal your gut!
Gut health is so important. Taking a great probiotic can start the healing process in your gut; and in the long run, heal other areas of your body.
It’s healing from the inside out!
Benefits of Kombucha
There are so many benefits to drinking kombucha, from gut health to skin/hair care to fighting off diseases and maintaining a healthy liver.
Along with eating a healthy diet, I have noticed that kombucha makes me feel clean on the inside.
It detoxifies and cleanses all the bad bacteria from our system.
Dr Axe explains in more detail all the many benefits of kombucha.
I love that this “health elixir” does our bodies so much good if we take it consistently.
Fermention & Alcohol
Let’s talk for a minute about the fermentation process.
Because kombucha is a fermented drink, it naturally contains trace amounts of alcohol that cannot be avoided.
A by-product of any fermentation process is alcohol. Have no fear though.
Drinking kombucha is safe enough for my kids to drink.
The amount of alcohol in kombucha could be compared to an overripe banana or berries that have sat out too long.
I’ve even heard that there is more alcohol in a glass of orange juice that has sat on the counter overnight than in a glass of kombucha.
Kombucha really should be treated as a health tonic anyhow, so it is best to consume in smaller portions until your body is used to it.
Check out this list of more fermented foods that are being consumed by people all over the world: Fermented Foods by Dr Axe
Side note: I will say that if you have a personal issue with consuming alcohol in the past, kombucha may not be for you!
I would hate for someone to trip up on kombucha if it triggers a craving for alcohol. Be wise!!
Kombucha is made by using black or green tea for the most part.
There are other teas you can use, but these two are what I use and I always have great success!
If you cannot have caffeine, you may want to try decaffeinated teas such as hibiscus, honeybush, rooibos, butterfly pea, raspberry leaf, nettles, chaga, chamomile, or dandelion.
The amount of caffeine consumed in a cup of kombucha is far less than the caffeine in your morning cup of coffee.
It won’t give you the jitters or shakes either!
SCOBIES are very important in the process of making homemade kombucha.
A SCOBY is very much alive and will grow as long as it’s fed and taken care of.
(it becomes part of the family in a sense, though I haven’t named mine yet. Got any suggestions?)
Though hard to describe, a SCOBY is sort of like a flat, round, slimy piece of rubber.
Or some have said it’s like handling a jellyfish.
Others refer to a SCOBY as a “mushroom” because it has a gelatinous look about it. No worries…it does not taste like mushrooms!
Personally, I think it’s pretty amazing. It fascinates me, but I can see how it can also gross some people out.
Having a SCOBY is important, but another important item for making homemade kombucha is starter.
What is starter? It is simply the fermented tea (or ready-made kombucha).
Every time you make a new batch of kombucha, save back about 1 cup of that liquid to use in another batch.
If you are just starting out and need a SCOBY, you will most likely receive some starter with it from a friend or if you order online.
When you start your batch of kombucha you will put a SCOBY in your sugar/tea mixture.
This SCOBY is called the Mother. Why? Well, because it is a home for the bacteria and yeast that transform sweet tea into tangy, fizzy kombucha.
It normally floats on the top, but it’s not abnormal to see it floating sideways or even towards the bottom of your jar. Perfectly normal!
Your tea will be fermenting for a week or two (depending on the warmth of its atmosphere), then you will notice a thin layer forming above the mother SCOBY.
This is called the baby…Congratulations on your new arrival!
A hotel is simply another jar to store extra SCOBIES.
If your batch of kombucha happens to go bad because of mold on the mother SCOBY, it’s easy enough to take a SCOBY from the hotel and start over!
Having a backup SCOBY is great to have on hand!
Every time you brew a batch of kombucha, you will want to separate the baby SCOBY from the mother and put the baby in your hotel.
As long as the mother is healthy, you can use it for several more batches of kombucha.
After a while, the mother will get older and darker.
This is when you will want to remove it and use a young SCOBY from your hotel.
Uses For Extra SCOBY
So you have a ton of SCOBIES in your hotel? Now what do you do?
Share them with friends to get them started on their kombucha journey.
Aside from sharing, you can also make things with your extra SCOBIES.
Use it to make fruit leather, dog treats, face masks, chicken food (I hear chickens love SCOBIES), and much more!
I have a book called The Big Book Of Kombucha and it’s an awesome place to start if you want to learn every detail about making your own kombucha.
How Do I Get A SCOBY?
You can order a SCOBY online. I have confidence that you can rely on your cultured products being great from a website called Cultures For Health.
They have supplies and starter kits for several cultured food and drinks.
You can also get a SCOBY from a friend who brews their own kombucha.
Ask around your neighborhood. If you lived close by to me, I’d share one with you to get you started!
Everyone does things just a little differently, but I’m sharing the way that has worked perfectly for me.
I’ve been brewing my own kombucha since August 2018.
I’m not a veteran by any means, but I’m proud to say that I’ve never had any issues with kombucha going bad or growing mold.
My SCOBY has been healthy and growing so nicely.
You feed them, nurture them, watch them grow and pretty soon you’ll be sending them off to SCOBY university! Be proud!!
Steps to take for 1st Ferment:
- Boil 4 cups of purified water.
- Take off of heat.
- Add 4 green and 4 black tea bags to your pot and steep for about 10 minutes.
- Discard tea bags.
- Add 1 cup of sugar and stir till it’s dissolved.
- Pour tea into 1 gallon jar (I bought mine at Walmart).
- Add cool purified water to the tea until it’s about ¾ of the way to the top (leave room for your SCOBY and starter).
- Add SCOBY and starter then stir with wooden spoon or plastic spatula. (it is important to make sure your tea is lukewarm before adding the SCOBY, as it could cause damage to your precious SCOBY)
- Cover the jar opening with breathable material (I use these coffee filters) held on by a rubber band around the top edge.
- Let sit in a cool, dark place if possible for 1-2 weeks.
- Taste test using a straw at 7 days to see if it’s ready (the taste should be in between sweet and vinegary) If it’s not ready, keep checking every couple days from there on.
- When ready, bottle your kombucha into mason jars and store in the fridge.
Giving your kombucha a second ferment is where the fun really begins.
You can add fun flavors and spices to make a delicious drink for your whole family! You will need 6 swingtop bottles per gallon of kombucha. That’s what works best for me.
For the flavors, I like to mash up berries or other types of fruit (I mash them then push berries through a funnel to get inside each bottle…super easy)
Steps to take for F2 (second ferment)
- Add 2-3 Tablespoons of fruit to each of your 6 swingtop bottles (I’ve done berries, lemon & ginger and many other fruit combinations, but you can do a variety).
- Fill each swingtop bottle with kombucha just to the neck. (leave room for carbonation to build)
- Seal bottles and place in a cool, dark place. You don’t want them in direct sunlight.
- After sitting for 2-3 days, you should have a nice fizz going on in those bottles when you open. Just use caution!! If the carbonation has built up quite a bit, you could have a mess on your ceiling. I know a lot of people don’t burp their bottles every day, but I tend to burp mine atleast once a day. This has never caused any less carbonation for me. I just like to be safe and not have a huge explosion of precious kombucha all over my house. Ha!
- Store in fridge. This will slow down the carbonation and your bottled kombucha will last in the fridge for several months (but it won’t last more than a couple weeks in my house).
Start Over Again By Using This Guide For Making Kombucha
Now that you know how to do a 1st and 2nd ferment with kombucha, it’s time to start the process all over again.
Where Does Kombucha Fall For The Trim Healthy Mama?
If you follow the Trim Healthy Mama plan, it is recommended that you have 1/2 cup of kombucha to stay within S or Fuel Pull categories.
You may have more than that with an E meal.
If you are doing a second ferment, berries are the most recommended fruit to use.
Fruit with higher carb such as peaches, pineapple, apples, mango and bananas could possibly give your kombucha a higher amount of carbs.
(there are many foods to eat alongside kombucha, but I think these Lemon Bars would be a perfect dessert to have with a half cup of homemade kombucha!)
Talk To Me
If you try kombucha and enjoy it, share the love!