My friends here look a bit like cousin It and his younger sibling...
Kombucha is an effervesant health drink first made in 221 BC in China. It reportedly comes from a type of Chaga mushroom (immunity) that is often called a birch mushroom. The Russians discovered the drink from the Chinese and brought it to Russia. There are many commercial versions of kombucha on the market but if you have a few items on hand and a mushroom culture you can make it at home. It costs over $3 a bottle if you buy it in the store. The taste can be described as a bit vinegary depending on which tea was used to make the brew. You can flavor your finished kombucha to taste by adding fruit juices or even adding it to wine for a kind of spritzer.
You want to avoid using teas such as earl gray because the essential oils can damage the mushroom culture. I was fortunate to obtain a culture from the farm where I get our food each week (Thanks Rob!) and have been making it ever since. The mushroom has spawned other ones which I can share with friends who want to give it a try.
Here are two finished brews that will soon be decanted into bottles. Once you strain and decant the brew you cap the bottle and leave in at room temperature (I always have forgotten to leave it out and put it in the fridge) for a few days. This builds the effervesence inside the bottle. Then put it in the fridge and enjoy a small glass each day for your health. Using clean hands take out the culture and put it in a clean bowl while you strain the mixture and regroup for another batch. If you do not plan to make another batch, you can put the culture and some of its liquid in a glass jar (no metal) and some of its liquid and put it in the back of the fridge.
This was my second batch. My first batch had spawned a baby mushroom also referred to as a SCOBY. This stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria & Yeast. It is technically considered a culture or yeast & bacteria and not a mushroom.
My first batch tasted like a nice apple cider. This second batch was brewed longer (about a week and a half) and tasted more like vinegar so I cut it with juice when I drink it. I have read that your brewed kombucha will have different tastes when you use different teas. Choose black or green teas. You may use a combination of the two. I recently read a post that added 2 tea bags of a fruit flavored tea such as black currant. I may try that next as I found some acai green tea yesterday.
While not confirmed through research (as far as I have learned) the health beneftis of drinking kombucha each day far outweigh the risks. The drink has probiotics and live enzymes that balance your digestive system. Kombucha has glucuronic acid, gluconic acid, acetic acid, malic acid, lactic acid, butric acid, usnic acid, all the B vitamins (including B12) and C vitamins, amino acids, plus all the probiotic and enzymes that benefit digestion. You do end up with a slightly alcoholic brew..about 1% according to most literature.
To make a small batch:
Brew a liter of tea, bring water to a boil. Then add 4 tea bags that can be either 2 black and 2 green to the water. Add 6 ounces of pure cane sugar to the brew and stir to dissolve the sugar. [Do not use honey as this can kill the culture.] Try to use pure cane sugar (organic is preferred) and not white sugar which can be processed with chemicals. Strain the tea (if you used loose tea) or remove the tea bags. Allow the mixture to cool to at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour your tea in a clean glass jar or jars and add the culture. Place a cloth napkin over the jar and place where it will not be disturbed. You want airflow to the jar but you do not want fruit flies or other things to get into the mix. Let it sit for 7-10 days then check it. It should not smell like tea any more but be slightly fermented. Then it is ready.
Decant into your cleaned bottles and let sit on the counter with the lids on to build the pressure in the bottle for a few days. Put in fridge and enjoy.
Benefits from drinking this tea (also called Machurian mushroom tea) are that is relieves constipation, helps with respiratory issues, detoxes the liver & kidneys, purifies the gall bladder and relieves symptoms caused by colitis and other bowel ailments. The list goes on. It may also help with building immunity against many cancers.
I am not a researcher or doctor and would never profess to be one, but I do feel increased energy when I drink a juice glass daily. It is something that is good for my health so I think I will keep on brewing and drinking kombucha.
Why not join me?
Here's to better health!