Nowadays there are many novel products on the market, which are imported from all corners of the world. One of those products is Kombucha. A healthy drink that is based on tea, which is said to have beneficial effects on health. But what exactly is kombucha and how do you make it? I’m sharing a kombucha recipe!
How to Pronounce Kombucha
Kombucha is a fermented, slightly sweet-sour tea-based drink that was originally drunk in China, Russia and Germany. The name comes from Kombu (which is a seaweed/mushroom) and cha (which means tea).
The correct pronunciation of kombucha is: kom-boo-cha
What You Need to Make Kombucha
In the past, I have been brewing my own kombucha, and I must say, it is worth the time!
Store-bought kombucha is crazy expensive, and when you follow a kombucha recipe, you basically only have to pay for tea, sugar, and maybe some syrup! That will definitely save you money in the long run.
To start, it is important to get yourself a good quality bacterial culture called a SCOBY. This SOBY will transform your drink from sweet tea into kombucha!
The kombucha has to ferment for 1-2 weeks before it’s ready. During that time, it is important to keep the kombucha nice and warm around 20-25 degrees Celcius (a thermometer is handy here!).
Lower temperatures will make the bacteria less active and higher temperatures will basically do the same but will also ‘kill’ them.
To get your kombucha to the right temperature, you can either put it in a warm spot in your house or buy a little heating pad for the winter.
After a couple of days of brewing, you should check the pH of your Kombucha, to make sure it’s safe to continue on. Ideally, the pH should be 3-4 after two to four days. Some plain pH testing strips do the job here.
Health Benefits of Kombucha
The possible health benefits have increased the popularity of this drink in recent years. However, few studies have researched and proven health benefits. From a historical perspective, and years of use, health benefits have been experienced. The advantages are, for example, an improvement in cholesterol levels, kidney, liver, and intestinal function and a reduced risk of diabetes. But as said, this has not been scientifically proven.
Personally, I am most convinced of the positive effect on gut health by the healthy bacteria in the drink (click here for my article on the relationship between the gut bacteria and gut health), the antioxidants that come from the tea, and the acidity of the drink that can limit/prevent bacterial overgrowth in the intestine.
Does Kombucha Have Alcohol?
Kombucha is a fermented drink. For example, beer is also a fermented drink. The breakdown of sugars during fermentation leads to the production of alcohol. The alcohol percentage is 0-3% (in stores never above 0,5%). Apart from that, kombucha contains vitamins, minerals, substances from the tea (antioxidants for example) and it is rich in probiotic cultures.
After the sugars have been fermented, the kombucha can be drunk. This will have virtually no sugars anymore and is slightly sparkling.
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Does Kombucha have Caffeine?
The base of kombucha is tea, so it often contains some caffeine. However, there are many ways to vary if you follow a kombucha recipe. You can choose black, green or white tea. These all contain some caffeine. But some people also use rooibos or herbal teas. Both without caffeine. Real tea (black, white, green) is preferable to herbal tea because it benefits the health of your SCOBY!
How Often Should You Drink Kombucha?
There is no minimum or maximum recommendation for the amount of kombucha you should drink. But nowadays our diet lacks a lot of healthy bacteria, so it can be valuable to use fermented products on a daily basis. These may also be products other than kombucha such as sauerkraut, kefir or kimchi.
If you’re just starting to drink kombucha, start with half a glass. Let your gut get used to the new bacteria for a while and build up your portion slowly.
When making kombucha essential to use a good SCOBY (either buy one or find someone who has one extra) and to keep the whole process sterile.
I use food-safe sanitizer to sterilize my kombucha jar and utensils. After I sanitize it, I rinse it with boiled water to make sure the SCOBY doesn’t get affected by the sanitizer.
If you don’t sanitize well, bad bacteria of funghi can end up in your drink. This could potentially make you sick. So be careful!
The process is not difficult at all, but if it scares you, it’s always a safe bet to buy kombucha pre-made.
Have you ever made or tasted Kombucha? What did you think of it? Let me know!
Recipe by Positive Gut – positivegut.com
- 2 liter jar
- Heating pad (if your house is cold)
- 2 liter boiling pot
- Food safe sanitizer
- Tea cloth or cheese cloth
- Rubber band or hair band
- Bottles to keep the kombucha in
- 2 liters water
- 12 grams tea green or black
- 100 grams sugar use real sugar, no honey
- flavored syrup optional
- Boil 2 liters of water
- Add the tea (preferably green tea) to the hot water. Let it steep for about 8 minutes and take the tea leaves out
- Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Let the tea cool down to about 30 degrees celcius
- Transfer the cooled tea into a clean jar (use food safe sanitizer and rinse with boiled water)
- With clean hands, transfer the bacterial culture (SCOBY) to the tea together with a bit of kombucha (ready-made or from a friend)
- Cover the jar with a tea cloth or cheesecloth and tighten with a rubber band. The kombucha needs to be able to breathe, so don't use any plastic or non-breathable materials.
- Leave kombucha to ferment at room temperature (20-25 degrees celcius).
- Check the pH on day 2-3-4 to see if it has dropped to a pH of 3-4. If not, I would advise to start over. The pH needs to be low in order for it to be safe to drink.Also, if you see fuzzy or green spots starting to form on the SCOBY, throw it out. It has grown funghi and you should start with a fresh SCOBY!
- Is the pH is low enough, leave the kombucha to ferment 7-14 days. In this time it will produce vinegar, alcohol and carbon dioxide.
- Use a clean spoon every now and again to taste the kombucha. Take it out whenever it tastes right for you.
- Once the taste is right, make sure to sanitize a couple of bottles you want to keep the kombucha in.
- Pour the kombucha in the clean bottles and at this point you can add a syrup for flavor if you want.
- Close the bottles airtight and leave at room temperature for about 24 hours. In this time the carbondioxide can build up, and the drink will be more fizzy.
- You can start a new batch of kombucha with the SCOBY (just start again from step one). If the scoby grows too big for the jar you can either split it and make 2 batches at the same time or give it away to a friend.
- After 24 hours, keep the bottles of kombucha in the fridge to stop the fermentation and enjoy!