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The Tea of Immortality – Kombucha Tea

Kombucha, is a naturally fermented beverage made from tea, sugar and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (scoby).You’ve properly seen or maybe even tried some of the store bought brands before and this might seem like a something new; but did you know kombucha has been around for thousands of years?!

Ancient Chinese literature from the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.E.) refers to kombucha as “the tea of immortality” and “the elixir of life.” Kombucha is said to have widespread healing and cleansing abilities that have an effect on the entire body. Many practitioners of Chinese medicine recommend drinking 4 ounces or more every day.

The kombucha microorganisms produce a wide spectrum of enzymes, organic acids, beneficial bacteria, and vitamins; including the much needed B vitamins during the fermentation process. Research suggests that kombucha improves resistance against cancer, prevents cardiovascular disease, stimulates and reboots the immune system, reduces inflammation, improves liver function, and regulates digestive function.

Making your own kombucha is super easy, very inexpensive and better than anything you’ve ever bought because you control what goes into it; always assuring a high quality brew. If you know someone brewing kombucha, ask them for a scoby and follow the directions below to make your own homegrown batch. If you cannot find one from a trusted friend, there are many sources available; I like www.HappyHerbalist.com they’re a reputable source for kombucha starters.

How To Make Kombucha Tea

Start with clean hands, a stainless steel pot, wooden spoon and a wide mouth glass Mason jar or wide mouth glass gallon pitcher.

  • Clean all of the above with vinegar, NOT soap.
  • In a stainless steel pot, boil a gallon of water.
  • Add 4-6 tea bags (black, white, or green, regular or decaf) and let steep about 20 minutes.
    I have experimented with a lot of different teas and have also made some delicious brews just using ginger, fresh mint, and cinnamon sticks as alternatives to tea bags. Experiment and have fun!
  • Stir in 1 cup of raw cane sugar.Use the purest most unprocessed sugar you can buy. I have used agave nectar or coconut nectar to keep my brews raw. Although it’s not what the classical recipe calls for, they both worked beautifully.
  • Bring tea to room temperature.
  • Add starter tea and scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to gallon glass jar.
  • Cover the jar with a cotton cloth (cheese cloth, tea towel) secured with a rubber band to keep out fruit flies and bacteria. A coffee filter works well for a top also.
  • Store your jar in a warm dry place, out of direct sunlight.
  • Pour off the liquid and transfer to clean glass bottles and seal to make it fizzy.

Store your ready kombucha in the refrigerator or it will continue fermenting and will wind up tasting like vinegar. Now you can make another batch, or store your scoby in a glass jar with some of the liquid in the refrigerator, until ready to brew again.

Do not ever use plastic bags or jars as the little organisms in your brew will eat the plastic and thus you too will be drinking plastic.

Helpful Tips:

  1. For a less sweet brew; cut the sweetener by quarters until you find what tastes best to you.
  2. The new scoby looks like a membrane when it starts to grow. It’s your indicator that your brew is almost done.
  3. Mold is rare but dangerous. If you see black or blue spots on top of your batch, throw it out – that is mold.

Make Life Delicious,

Chef Tina Jo

 

 

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