What is it? A fermented tea drink, sweet and with a kick (though non-alcoholic).
Why make it? Taste’s yummy, and it’s good for you. Here are some of the benefits:
- full of probiotics: good bacteria and good yeasts
- the amino acids created by the fermentation process help with liver/body detox
- reported to prevent cancer in peoples from a polluted area of Russia where it was widely consumed (probably a result of the first 2 benefits)
How To Make Ginger Kombucha
Kombucha is made by fermenting sweet tea for several days or weeks. I have been making it off and on for about 2 years, and our favorite is Ginger Kombucha. My children love it; since it is strong I only give about 1/4 cup to them at a time.
1 Scoby with some starter Kombucha
3 qts. purified water
2 Tbs. organic black tea
1 cup organic sugar
large stainless kettle
gallon size glass jar
cloth cover (tea towel or handkerchief)
1 qt. glass bottles for bottling
Boil about 3 qts of water in the large kettle. Remove from the heat, and add 2 Tbs. black tea* (see note below) and 1 cup sugar.
Stir to dissolve the sugar. Allow to cool on the counter for several hours. If scalding tea is added to a scoby, it will kill the yeast.
Here is a scoby in finished Kombucha. You can see there are three pancake-like pieces (2 are floating sideways). The three can be separated to start three new batches. The newest one always forms on the top of the Kombucha.
When starting out, you will place 1 scoby and about a cup of Kombucha in a clean gallon glass jar, and then add the tepid sweetened tea to it. Use a strainer to catch the loose tea leaves.
Then place a clean towel over the jar, fasten with a rubber band. Leave on the kitchen counter, or another clean warm place, for 7-14 days. You can go longer if you like, but it will taste like vinegar. The warmer the room (or season), the faster the Kombucha will ferment, so begin to check it after 7 days. When it is fermented to your liking, it is ready to strain into bottles.
To flavor it with ginger, I chop up candied ginger to place in each bottle; just a few pieces for each bottle.
Chop it finely so that it doesn’t get stuck in the bottle after the Kombucha is gone and you want to wash the bottle.
Then put the ginger in the bottles.
Then pour or ladle the fermented Kombucha into the bottle; leave a few inches at the top. I use a funnel with a strainer piece fitted inside it.
Close the bottles of Kombucha, and leave them on the counter for 2 more days. This allows the Kombucha to continue fermenting the sugar in the candied ginger. Carbon will be formed and trapped in the sealed bottle, which will give the drink a nice bubble when it is opened. After 2 days, place the bottles in the refrigerator to halt the fermentation. Drink chilled, using a tea strainer to strain ginger pieces as you pour.
*Organic tea is preferred to conventional, as conventional often has aluminum residues from processing. Any black tea will work; English Breakfast and Oolong are both delicious varieties I have tried.
Although some people use green tea, I found that there wasn’t nearly enough flavor.
You can order and scoby from Cultures For Health. Or, if you live near me (Portland area) email me and I’ll give you one!