Simple Ways to Reap Kombucha Tea Benefits
By now, You’ve certainly seen the Kombucha Tea drinks in your local stores and are curious. What is this thing with the weird name and exactly what are Kombucha Tea benefits? Well, I was too, so let me give you the lowdown with a brief history of Kombucha Tea and Kombucha health benefits. We will finish up with a Kombucha Tea Recipe you might just want to tackle!
Of course, I’d LOVE for you to read my entire article; but if you’re short on time, jump straight to a topic!
History of Kombucha
Like sourdough, vinegar, and yogurt, kombucha is a culture. The “SCOBY” is a collection of yeast and bacteria. Sometimes it’s referred to as a”mushroom.”
What SCOBY means is “Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and yeast” and is also sometimes called the mother. This “mushroom” is fermented with tea and sugar to create a healthy drink.
Named the “Tea of Immortality,” it is believed to have been conceived in China in 221BC. Then, after its creation, it traveled throughout Eastern Europe and Russia as well as Japan.
In 415AD, the story goes that a Korean doctor named Kombu successfully treated the Emperor Inyko with kombucha tea, making the emperor the first to receive Kombucha Tea Benefits. The story says that’s how it got its name; by mixing Kombu with the Japanese word for tea.
Like most fermented foods, it probably started as a happy accident and got turned into a delicious drink.
“Happy accidents,” this reminds me of the story of Emperor Shen Nung of China who (over 4,000 years ago) forgets to cover his pot of boiling water, leaves fall in, and he discovers green tea! And thank goodness for that because green tea is sometimes used to make kombucha.
What Exactly Is Kombucha Tea?
When you purchase kombucha tea at your local store, you’re probably buying a flavored tea fermented with the kombucha culture.
Most people describe its taste as somewhere between apple cider and champagne depending on what form of tea you use and how long it was fermented. Others describe it as a rich and earthy flavor.
You should know that there is a tiny amount of alcohol because of the fermentation process. It varies from batch to batch. Commercially available kombucha tea has less than 1%.
Kombucha tea is gluten and dairy free if you’re avoiding them. It has many other health benefits as well.
Kombucha Tea Benefits
When starting out, it is recommended that you don’t drink more than 2oz a day until your body gets used to the increase in probiotics. If you regularly eat fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, you may have an easier time. Kombucha is well known for cleaning out your digestive tract. That’s why easing into it is a good idea.
Kombucha tea benefits your health by improving your digestion and helping to process foods more completely. Some people say that you lose weight because of this. Others say that kombucha acts as an appetite suppressant.
Other Kombucha Tea benefits for your health can include:
- Improved digestion
- Improved blood sugar
- Antibiotic, antiviral and anti-fungal properties
- Reduces allergic reactions
- Energy boost due to all of the Vitamin B’s
But that’s not all! In lab tests, it seems to protect against stress. Bacteria and enzymes act as a natural detoxifier that can remove pollution from your liver and ease the kidneys. That leads to a big boost in your immune system.
So are you curious how to make this magic brew?
For starters, you will need to grow your kombucha mushroom. You could order a SCOBY online; or if anyone else in your neighborhood brews their kombucha tea, they may advertise when they get extra baby SCOBIES. I’d suggest looking on Freecycle or Craigslist or next-door if it’s available in your area.
Next, use glass, not plastic. And make sure you properly clean all the equipment you’re going to use to reduce contamination. You will also need a cloth to cover the jar. It’s important for air to circulate during fermentation, so don’t use a tightly fitting lid.
To keep out the fruit flies (cause they are a royal pain in the butt!) look into butter cloth or a tea towel. Buttercloth is like cheesecloth, but it has a denser weave.
If you’ve made yogurt before, you will remember that you use some of the yogurt from your previous batch when making your new one. Kombucha also does better when you reuse some of the old “mother” along with the new “baby.” If you haven’t made kombucha before, either substitute white vinegar or use some store bought raw, unflavored kombucha tea.
You will be able to reuse the SCOBY many times since a baby SCOBY develops with each batch. Some people replace their older cultures after a few months of use. You will have to be the judge as to how active your SCOBY is.
After your first successful batch, you may want to start experimenting with the type of tea, fermentation time and flavors. People love trying to find a decent balance with green tea, black tea, and oolong tea. Pomegranate juice happens to be a healthy and delicious flavor enhancer. Others prefer to add in ginger. That’s the fun of crafting your own. You can craft it to your preferred taste and flavors!
The tea will need to ferment for 1-4 weeks. The longer it ferments, the more it will taste like vinegar.
Also, it’s important to note that the room temperature affects how quickly the kombucha ferments. You should keep your jar out of extreme heat or cold. And also keep it out of direct sunlight. Some people have a special shelf in their cabinet just for their kombucha tea jar.
By the way, it’s fine to peek at it. We know you just can’t wait to start enjoying your Kombucha Tea Benefits! Don’t be alarmed if it looks cloudy. If you see brown stringy particles, they are a yeast by-product, and you have the option of straining them out of the final drink.
I’m giving you a very basic Kombucha Tea Recipe below, but thought you might like to see a good video as well. I’m pretty visual myself and I’m sure a lot of you are too. Enjoy the video:
Making a Basic Kombucha Tea Recipe – Video
Ready for the basic recipe? Sure hope that was a YES, cause here you go;
Basic Kombucha Tea Recipe
- 3 1/2 qts. of Water – As chlorine can damage the SCOBY; it’s best to use filtered. But you don’t have to use distilled
- One Cup of Sugar
- Five Tea Bags. Preferably naturally flavored
- 1/2 Cup of Kombucha Mother. If you don’t have any, try using a store bought raw, unflavored kombucha tea or an equal portion of distilled white vinegar.
- One Baby SCOBY formed in your last batch (or as previously discussed, purchased online or from your neighborhood, etc.)
Brew a nice potent tea (at least 10 -15 minutes brew time). Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Let sit until completely cooled. This cooling down can take quite awhile. Some people do this before they go to bed and finish up assembling things the next morning.
Pour the liquid into the clean glass jar. Wash hands well and put your baby SCOBY into the cooled sweet tea. Then add in the 1/2 cup of either leftover kombucha, store bought kombucha or vinegar.
Cover the jar with the cloth you chose (either the tea towel or butter cloth) and let it do its magic.
You should see the baby mushroom growing along the top. However, if you notice green mold, then the tea wasn’t acidic enough.
You will have to take out the “mushrooms” and try a new batch. If there’s mold on the actual culture, you will have to throw that out and obtain a new SCOBY.
However, if the mold is just in the tea, you can start again using the same SCOBY. If the mold is on the SCOBY, you’ll have to start from scratch. Better to be safe than sick.
When the newly forming culture at the top of the jar is at least 1/8″ in thickness, the kombucha is finished brewing.
Leave a comment if you’ve made kombucha tea. And let me know what health benefits you’ve seen if you drink it regularly.