Kombucha is a fermented tea that has become really popular and well known for both its unique and delicious taste and health benefits. Making it at home is both easy and fun in that you can experiment with any flavour combinations you like.
Here is some quick background info on Scobys and Kombucha’s health benefits from the Wellness Mama (https://wellnessmama.com/23994/kombucha-benefits/)
The Scoby: a Colony of Microbes
The scoby, or Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, is the collection of microbes responsible for turning sweet tea into a probiotic beverage. Essentially, it is a living colony of beneficial organisms that turn sugar into healthful acids and probiotics.
Scoby’s are often called “Mushrooms” and are the reason Kombucha is sometimes called “Mushroom Tea.” On a practical level, a scobyis an unattractive rubbery disc that covers the surface of the brewing liquid to seal it off from the air. This allows fermentation to happen in an anaerobic (air free) environment.
You may also hear a scoby called “The Mother” as it is the parent culture that creates the tea. During the brewing process, the scoby also often creates a “baby” or secondary culture on top of itself, which can then be used to brew other batches.
As mentioned, this tangy fermented beverage contains beneficial probiotics and acids. It is lower-calorie than other carbonated beverages like soft drinks, with only about 30 calories per cup (8 ounces). Kombucha is fat-free and does not contain any protein. One cup does contain about seven grams of carbohydrates and about 20% of the daily value of B-Vitamins, according to the label of the popular GT brand. Eight ounces also provides:
- Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086: 1 billion organisms
- S. Boulardii: 1 billion organisms
- EGCG 100mg
- Glucuronic Acid 10mg
- L(+) Lactic Acid 25mg
- Acetic Acid 30 mg
What Does it Taste Like?
This fermented tea has a slightly sweet and slightly tangy flavor, reminiscent of a shrub or vinegar based drink. The flavor varies widely by brand and home brew method. Finished kombucha tea can also be flavored in a process called secondary fermentation by adding juices, fruit or herbs.
Kombucha’s Benefits and Probiotics
This ancient health tonic is attributed with several health benefits. The nutrients it contains are wonderful at supporting the body in various ways. It is important to note that while there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence from avid supporters, studies about kombucha are lacking. But then again, so are studies about flossing, but everyone seems to be pro-flossing.
To be clear- it isn’t some magic pill or silver bullet, but it may help the body function well by supporting:
Improved pancreas function
Improved mood (helps with anxiety/depression)
Reducing Candida (yeast)
Helps nutrient assimilation
May be beneficial for weight loss
And now for the recipe!
Yields 1 Scoby
30 minPrep Time
30 minTotal Time
- 2 cups kombucha (unflavoured)
- 2 cups strongly brewed black tea (must be organic) - approx 2-3 tea bags needed
- 2 tbsp white sugar (don't recommend substitutes for the white sugar)
- Brew tea, mix in sugar until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature, add in kombucha and pour into a sterilized jar. Cover with a tea towel or cheese cloth and put into an area of your kitchen where it is out of direct light and won't be disturbed.
- Check every week, slowly it will start to form a clear skin and this skin will start to get thicker. When about 1 cm thick it is ready to make Kombucha on its own.
Couple of important notes about growing your scoby:
- The kombucha you use must be unflavoured and as fresh and undisturbed as possible. Make sure you use unpasteurized and a good quality, otherwise it won’t have enough of the good bacteria to multiple into your scoby.
- Mold is not normal. If you have never had kombucha or worked with a scoby it may appear quite gross in that it is an off white, spongy material. But at no time should there be mold on your jar or your scoby itself. If this happens, unfortunately you need to throw it out and start over. This has never happened to me, but I have heard of others where this has.
- Choosing your jar to make your scoby. The scoby will become the entire opening of the jar that you use. So it is a good idea to use the same jar you make your scoby in that you also use again to make your kombucha. Then the scoby will continue to fill the entire surface area of the top. And this is perfect.
- Sterilizing your jar. Super important step, don’t skip this. All that work and time put in and your kombucha will spoil. To sterilize jars, if you haven’t done this before. In a large pot of water add about 1 tbsp salt. Bring to a full boil, put your jars and all containers (used to brew tea, kombucha jar etc) and any utensils into the water for at least a full minute before using.
- After sterilizing, let everything cool to room temperate so as not to kill any good bacteria. It’s a pain to wait for our jar or tea to cool, but definitely not a step you want to skip as your scoby will never form.
Now that you have your healthy and happy little scoby, now it’s time to brew some kombucha! Here’s the recipe! (CLICK HERE)
Or don’t want to grow your scoby yourself?
Here are some reputable Etsy shops that see scobys and start up kits:
- Want to just buy the scoby and start brewing? Buy it here (Click here)
- A complete starter kit for everything you need from the jar to scoby – Buy it here (Click here)
Let me know how your scoby turns out in the comments below!