Recipes for Kombucha Tea can be found on the internet, in cookbooks, and in some old family recipe catalogs. The ingredients are fairly simple but the preparation process can be a little complicated. The following is a recipe found on www.wikihow.com .
Incubation container, made from food grade glass, from a quart to a gallon size.
Lint free cloth that is larger than the opening of the container so that it can be wrapped over the top.
A rubber band or string that will go around the cloth.
Iodine or bleach to clean and sanitize the container.
A large pot that will hold the water, tea and sugar. Stainless steel is recommended.
Glass bottles with stoppers for finished Kombucha.
Funnel to transfer fermented Kombucha.
Ph test strips for checking the ph in the Kombucha.
Straw to help with testing.
Kombucha “mother” also called a SCOBY (this can be ordered on the internet or found at a health food store) Sample of already made Kombucha or brewed vinegar.
Tea either bagged or loose leaf, (it is noted that often common or low grade tea works best. It is also stated that teas with oil in them like Earl Grey can harm the mushroom and are not recommended.)
Any type of sweetener, (it is noted that honey can cause a longer brewing time.)
To begin the process it is stressed that hands must be washed well with hot water and soap. It is also recommended to use non-latex gloves if touching the mushroom directly.
First, fill the pot with 3.1 quarts of water, boil for at least five minutes, and add tea bags to taste. The tea bags can be removed after seeping or left in for the next two steps. Turn off heat and add one cup of sugar. Cover the pot and let tea stand until it is at room temperature. It takes a long time to cool but adding mushroom before cool will kill the SCOBY, so it is important to be patient.
Wash the container and sanitize with iodine or bleach. Make sure to rinse all bleach or iodine out of container.
When tea is cool pour it into the sanitized container and add starter tea, this will be about ten percent of liquid. One fourth cup of brewed vinegar per gallon of tea also works if you don’t have a starter tea. Keep measuring the ph in tea as you add starter or vinegar it should be below 4.6 ph, if not, keep adding vinegar or starter tea until it is.
Gently put SCOBY in tea, cover with cloth, secure with rubber band.
Put jar somewhere warm and dark where it won’t be disturbed. Temperature is very important and should be at least 21 C or 70 F and no more than 86 F. Wait about a week. When Kombucha gets smelly like vinegar, start testing ph levels.
Pull sample with straw, place liquid on strip to check ph level. Do not drink from jar as backwash can contaminate the whole mixture. Remove liquid with straw and taste Kombucha. If too sweet, Kombucha probably needs more time to ferment. A ph of 3 tells you that cycle is complete.
When done, gently remove mother and baby SCOBY, if stuck together pour some Kombucha over them until they come apart. Each cycle will create another mother SCOBY and it can be placed back in jar with about 10% of the liquid for the next starter batch of Kombucha.
It is noted that Kombucha is better served cold.
Now that we know how to make Kombucha, why should we even bother? It has a taste that compares to sparkling apple cider, this I know from my own experience, but apple cider we can buy in the store, without all the preparation. So, why do so many make and drink Kombucha tea?
Many claim that this mixture can provide an array of health benefits like, improved digestion, better skin, stronger immunity, anti-aging, and even weight loss. Those that truly believe in the benefits of Kombucha tea feel that this age old drink that has been around for thousands of years is far more beneficial than anything offered by modern medicine.
However, others feel that it can also be dangerous, if not prepared properly and sometimes even if it is. Certain individuals can have an allergic reaction due to the “wild Fermentation” and air borne yeast. In an article on BodyEcology.com, they discuss some of the adverse results that many can experience. They state that preparation at home can increase these reactions and that each batch can be different even under the best of conditions. They also discuss the benefits that many receive from drinking Kombucha on a regular basis. Ultimately, they advise each individual to check with their doctor and take into consideration both the pros and cons of Kombucha tea.
On a personal note, I have tried Kombucha several times, and even made it once myself. I find it a refreshing drink that does seem to give a burst of energy. I can’t say that I swear by the results of this beverage, but I didn’t experience any ill effects either. I think that Kombucha is like so many other remedies that have come to light lately. It could very well be exactly what is needed by some, but should be approached with caution by others, especially those that have any type of yeast allergies or a lowered immune system. A quick check with your doctor should tell you if Kombucha is for you, and then abiding by strict rules in preparation can lower the risks involved, when enjoying this cool refreshing beverage.