Monday, March 24, 2014

Get Healthy - A Guide to Creating Kombucha

Did you know that the majority of your immune system resides in you gut?  Good bacteria in the gut is thought to stimulate the production of white blood cells which are your main defence again foreign pathogens.  You can help support this good bacteria by avoiding processed foods, eating lots of healthy vegetables , and consuming fermented foods like yogurts, kefir , kimchi, and kombucha.
I started brewing kombucha around 6 months ago.  I was well aware of the benefits of good gut bacteria but I wasn't quite sure what the best option was for helping boost it.  As stated before, I'm not a large fan of supplements so I was on the hunt for fermented foods that I could incorporate into my daily diet. 

Extra SCOBIES removed, almost ready for a top up.

Cue kombucha and it's amazing symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY).  I was obsessed with kombucha and couldn't wait to try my first bottle.  I searched every store in my Biggest-Little-Hick-Town but couldn't seem to get my hands on a bottle.  It wasn't until I travelled to San Diego in October for a chiropractic conference that I finally had my first encounter with GT's kombucha.  I purchased 2 bottles, one flavoured to drink right then and there, and another plain to coax into producing me a fine SCOBY.  Upon returning home I followed all the correct steps to grow a SCOBY from a store bought bottle of 'bucha but after waiting weeks without results I finally gave up and dumped my creation down the drain. 
It was shortly after that I was surfing around on Kijiji and came across an ad for free kombucha SCOBIES.  Now, let me tell you, A was horrified when he learned that I planned to show up at a stranger's house to collect a rubbery, yeasty pancake but I was so desperate to start brewing that I answered the ad immediately.   The seller, Jenna, instructed me to show up at her house after work with a large glass jar.  The whole situation was a little strange but interesting as she invited me into her home and proceeded to show me step by step how to brew my own kombucha.  I left her house about a half hour later with a large jar of strong kombucha mothers and a head full of information.
I use a vintage sun tea jar to brew my kombucha in.  It has a wide opening at the top which I cover with cheesecloth and a small spigot at the base.  I use the no fuss continuous brew method to make my kombucha. The steps are essentially the same but instead of emptying out my finished 'bucha and starting a new batch from scratch I just top up the jar with new tea as need be.

Loose leaf oolong tea brewing.

You will need a few things to get started:  A large jar, a SCOBY floating a few cups of 'bucha from a previous batch, tea, and some sugar.  Start by brewing your tea.  I like to use loose oolong tea in my brew but most people tend to use regular black tea.  I add a couple of teaspoons of loose tea to my french press and top with boiling water.  Once my tea has brewed I transfer it to a another jar where I stir in about a 1/2 cup of white sugar and let it cool to room temperature.  At this point I usually pull my kombucha jar out of the pantry and inspect its contents.  Too many SCOBIES in the brew will ferment it too quickly so I like to removed all the extras leaving only one or two.  Extra SCOBIES are placed into the compost.  (I like to store a back-up in a SCOBY floating in a small amount of kombucha in the fridge in case my brew of 'bucha falls victim to mold or pests.)   After my sweet tea has cooled to room temperature I top up my continuous jar with it, cover the jar opening with cheesecloth, and place the whole thing back into the panty.
At this point, I can drink the kombucha if I like but it tends to be a little on the sweet side.  It takes about 3 or 4 days for my 'bucha to reach it's tangy, fizzy prime.  I find I have to top mine up about once every week or so.

 All ready to go back to into the pantry.



  1. Gotta say... it doesn't look inviting. You are a brave soul. :-) XO, V.

  2. Lol Anonymous, I echo your sentiments.