Have you ever built something up in your mind as being more of a hassle than it’s worth? Too much equipment. Too many weird ingredients. Too time consuming. Too whatever. Well, that’s how I felt about making my own kombucha—it was too much everything. It seemed easier to just grab a few bottles on sale and sip on them until they were gone. Sure, kombucha is delicious but something with such an exotic name had to be too complicated for me to make on my own. Right? Wrong!
When I first got my hands on a copy of Maria Atwood’s Cook Your Way To Wellness DVD, I realized that brewing my own kombucha might be more simple than I’d imagined. Being a visual learner, I appreciated watching the process. And boy oh boy, did she make it look like a cinch. Maybe, I thought, I should make my own after all. But I still had to get my hands on a kombucha mushroom— known as a scoby—so I inevitably wound up putting it off just a bit longer.
This might be a good time to backup a bit. What is kombucha, anyway? As Sally Fallon explains in Nourishing Traditions, kombucha is a fermented beverage of tea and sugar from the Ural mountain region of Russia. The scoby—a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast—acts on these two ingredients to produce acetic acid, lactic acid, and small amounts of glucuronic acid. The glucuronic acid has powerful detoxifying properties that help the liver get rid of nasties that build up in our bodies over time. Kombucha is also revered for its ability to boost the immune system. With all that going for it, I’d say kombucha is more than worth bringing into your nutrition routine.
Shortly after I watched Maria Atwood’s DVD, I met up with a good friend of mine whose sister recently got her started on making her own kombucha. After I told her I’d been meaning to give it a try myself, without hesitation she offered to give me a scoby when I was ready to get my first batch started. I’m reluctant to admit it—but I still put it off for a while. Ridiculous, I know.
Finally, after my post about handmade gifts came out, my kombucha-brewing friend gave me a little nudge to let me know that she’d still be happy to deliver a scoby to me. She’d even put a bow on top if that’s what it took. No more excuses. Other than the scoby, I only needed a few more things to get my first batch going: a wide-mouth glass container, a cheesecloth, a bottle of kombucha, and organic black tea. I added it all to my shopping list for the day. When my friend came through with the hand-delivered scoby, I was off!
The recipe in Nourishing Traditions is really basic, so I thought it’d be a good place to start. It’s as easy as the following simple steps:
- Dissolve some Rapunzel Organic Whole Cane Sugar in boiling water.
- Add tea bags and cool completely.
- Pour tea into the wide-mouth glass container.
- Add ½ cup of kombucha (for the existing culture).
- Slide the scoby on top.
- Cover the container with cheesecloth (I used a rubber band to keep it in place) and tuck it away in a cupboard.
- Wait 7 to 10 days for the kombucha to do its thing.
That’s it! And then, folks, you have kombucha. Of course you still need to bottle it up and wash out your container to get another batch going—but that’s not hard at all. I just strained mine into some glass canning jars and popped them in the fridge.
After my kombucha had chilled for a couple of hours, I poured myself a glass. To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting it to taste as good as the professionally made stuff I’d been buying all along. I just hoped it would turn out drinkable. But holy cow—it was delicious! Maybe it wasn’t quite as fizzy, but my home-brewed batch was every bit as flavorful as the stuff you buy at the store.
I also think it’s awesome that a brand-new scoby grows with each batch you make. You can use the new scoby to replace the old one, or you can share it like my friend did (and thank you, you know who you are). If you’d like to get on my “Who Wants an Extra Scoby” list, and if you live within easy hand-delivery distance, just let me know. When your name gets to the top of the list, I’ll be in touch. If you aren’t nearby, never fear. Simply order a scoby at kombucha2000.com.
Now I’m proud to say that I kombucha. Wouldn’t you like to kombucha too?
Photo from iStock/Scrofula