How to Brew Kombucha for a Healthy Gut
In this blog, you’ll learn what Kombucha is, the health benefits of drinking it, and how to brew your own at home.
A healthy gut is the first place to start for curing many ails.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is fermented tea. Now don’t worry, you aren’t fermenting it into alcohol but it falls somewhere in between vinegar and alcohol. When you infuse it with various fruits, veggies and herbs it turns into a yummy probiotic drink.
I learned about Kombucha because I had been following research on infant gut biomes. Researchers are learning more about how important a healthy gut can be to the whole body. I learned that a healthy gut not only keeps you from having tummy aches, but it can help with depression, anxiety, and attention deficit disorders. The list goes on and on. To learn more about probiotics, prebiotics and gut health, read How to Prevent Your Gut From Derailing Your Training.
One day, a mom on a holistic Facebook group I’m part of posted that she had extra SCOBYS for Kombucha with a picture. I was; 1) really grossed out what and wondered what this alien life form was on top of her tea, and 2) really interested. I messaged her that I wanted to take one off of her hands. That very same night I started reading “The Big Book of Kombucha: Brewing, Flavoring, and Enjoying the Health Benefits of Fermented Tea” by Hannah Crum, filled with fantastic recipes.
As someone who falls somewhere between a beginners level and intermediate level Kombucha brewer, here’s how I brew my Kombucha at home.
First things first what do you need to brew?
- 1 gallon glass Jar
- White Vinegar (optional)
- Organic black tea
- Starter tea
Here are details about each item:
- The one-gallon glass jar needs to be lead-free and metal-free. So you don’t want to use an old giant mason jar. If it has a spout you don’t want it to have a metal spring inside. This will affect the taste of your tea and you will have to empty the spout and drain it for a few seconds to get all of the contaminated tea out.
- I read somewhere to slosh around vinegar in your jar after cleaning it. You want to make sure all of the soap is gone and that there is no bacteria because it can mess up your brew. Clean your hands with it too. You don’t want to contaminate your SCOBY with dirty hands.
- Water is water right? Wrong. I was told by a friend to use filtered, non-chlorinated water. Ideally you would want to get your water out of a Berkey Water Filter or distilled water.
- Organic Black tea, ideally organic without any chemicals from insecticides interfering with the brew.
- You can use any sort of sugar that you want. I prefer to use organic pure cane sugar.
SCOBY- What is a SCOBY? Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. Yum, right? This turns your tea into Kombucha. If you’ve ever had homemade beer you might have had a tiny bit of yeast ball up in the bottom of the bottle. This acts in the very same way. It is what is fermenting the tea. If you aren’t a part of a holistic community you can buy them from various places. But I would first try asking around. You would be amazed at how many people brew their own Kombucha. This will also give you some one to help you along the way.
- Starter tea. The recipe that I followed said you needed at least 1 cup per 8 cups of freshly brewed tea. But I say use as much as can get your hands on.
Directions for Making Kombucha:
- Boil water 8 cups of water
- Add 8 small tea bags
- Let steep for a few minutes until it is a nice dark brown color
- Add ½ cup of sugar for 8 cups of tea
- Let tea cool down to room temperature (this is very important! You can kill your SCOBY if the tea is too hot.)
- Add Tea to your SCOBY and Starter tea. Put a cloth over the top of your jar secure it with a rubber band or string or something. Put it in a dark cabinet. Ideally you want the temperature in the room to be warmer than 70ish degrees. Our house is usually around 71-73 degrees and my SCOBY’s grow so fast and the tea doesn’t take more than a week to brew. I hide mine in my pantry cabinet.
- Try your tea after a few days you want the tea to be tart and not sweet anymore. It may take a week maybe longer depending on how big your SCOBY is and how much starter tea you had. Be patient.
- Now your tea is technically done. You can bottle it with some of your favorite fruits for flavorings this is called a 2nd ferment, or you can drink it as is.
If you decide to bottle your Kombucha so it will get fizzy, please be careful and burp your bottles daily. Keeping them in the fridge will slow down this process. Your Kombucha can gain a lot of pressure when bottled with a lid so please treat it like a Champagne bottle. You can also use plastic bottles so you will feel when the bottle is solid that it has a lot of stored gas that needs to be released. I personally use the used water gallon that I got the water from now. I don’t like my Kombucha super fizzy. The gallon jug doesn’t have the tightest of seals on the top so it’s less likely to explode on me.
I hope you enjoyed this blog and it shows you how easy brewing Kombucha can be. Have fun with your brew and please share your favorite ferment recipes in the comments below!
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