Saturday, August 18, 2012


Kombucha - it's trendy, it's full of probiotics, it's kind of stinky. What's all the fuss about?

Well supposedly the recipe is 2000 years old and comes from China. And it's supposed to be considered a drink that makes you immortal. It's also raw, which is great, and full of probiotics that supposedly help your body maintain its natural good bacteria / bad bacteria balance.

Some people also think it tastes fucking awesome (including me!) Some people also hate it. It's kinda like stinky cheese, I think - some people love it and some people hate it for its pungency. 

Basically what you need to make this stuff is:

1. Brewed tea.
2. Sugar or sweetener of some kind.

A SCOBY is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. This mushroom-looking thing is pretty gross to look at and kind of slimy, but it's what makes kombucha so magical! You can order a SCOBY online or get one from a friend or random other person.

I decided to try craigslist. I got mine from a girl selling hers for 10 bucks, and it was totally worth it. Not only did I get someone's own extra SCOBY and prevent having to buy one from some mass-producer, she also showed me her own home-brewing system and gave me a few tips.

My SCOBY! Floating around in a plastic bag!! :)

The reason why the SCOBY is circular is because it takes whatever shape it grows in. Therefore, since most beverage containers are circular, most SCOBYs will be circular. But hey, if you happen to find a beverage container that's heart shaped, I bet you would be the coolest kid on the block with heart-shaped SCOBYs.

So here's whatcha do:

1. Brew your tea.
2. Let your tea get to room temperature.
3. Put some sugar in your tea (1 cup of sugar per every 12 cups of tea).
4. Put your tea in a kombucha container of your choice.
5. Put your SCOBY in your tea.
6. Cover with a washcloth or cheesecloth or what-have-you, and let sit for days.

Mine fermented quite nicely after about 7 days of brewing. Yum!

Tips from my kombucha-lady:

1. Bottle your tea rightttt before it hits its sweet spot. If it tastes almost perfect, bottle it and store it at room temperature in a cabinet for a couple of days. This will give it just a little more time to ferment.
2. "Burp" your bottles occasionally, to prevent the carbonation from building up and your tea from exploding.
3. If you're going to be out of the house for a few days, have someone stop by to burp your bottles to prevent explosions, or just put your bottles in the fridge (cold prevents further fermentation).
4. If you'd like to put fruit juice in to enhance the flavor, mix it in when you bottle it. The fruit juice's sugar will create even more fermentation, so this will help your tea ferment even more.
5. Use filtered water, because chemicals in unfiltered water could mess up your SCOBY's delicate balance of goodness!

Black tea is best for brewing, but others can be used as well. I think my next batch will be green tea with a splash of pear juice.


(I use old kombucha bottles because they work the best since they're glass and have plastic lids :D)

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