By the name you might think it’s some sort of exotic fruit or an impossible yoga move. In fact, kombucha not only has a fruity taste, but can also be as beneficial as yoga. This specialty drink found at most health food stores has been said to help digestive health, mental clarity and mood stability. Made from a base of black tea and sugar, this drink can cost you up to $5 a bottle. On a dental student budget, finding alternatives to store-bought kombucha are a must for this latest drink craze.
Luckily, homebrewed kombucha not only saves you a few bucks, but is a fun hobby that combines the creativity of cooking with the upkeep of gardening. A starter kit to brew your homemade kombucha can cost around $30, but can yield up to a gallon of the drink per batch. Adding the the sweet tangy taste of kombucha is your choice of any fruity flavoring you desire. Thai basil and lime or ginger berry are just a few flavors that compliment this fizzy drink. Check out the instructions below to brew your own batch and let us know how it comes out!
8 cups of water
1 cup of organic sugar
2 tablespoons of loose black tea
2 cups of starter tea or store-bought kombucha
1. Make the tea base: Bring a half gallon of water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Drop in the tea and allow it to steep until the water is cold. Depending on the size of your pot, this will take a few hours. You could speed up the cooling process by placing the pot in an ice bath.
2. Transfer to jars and add the starter tea: Once the tea is cool, remove the teabag or strain out the loose tea. Transfer to a 1-gallon jar. Stir in the starter tea. (The starter tea makes the liquid acidic, which provides unfriendly bacteria from taking up residence during the first few days of fermentation.) Top with room temperature water to make a gallon.
3. Add the SCOBY: Gently slide the SCOBY into the jar with clean hands. Cover the mouth of the jar with two layers of cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band.
4. Ferment for 7 to 10 days at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and where it won’t be disturbed.
5. Remove the SCOBY: With clean hands, or using a wide straining ladle, gently lift the SCOBY out of the kombucha and set it on a clean plate. As you do, check it over and remove the bottom layer if the SCOBY is getting very thick.
6. Bottle the finished kombucha: measure out your starter tea from this batch of kombucha and set it aside for the next batch. Pour the fermented kombucha into bottles along with any juice or fruit you may want to use as flavoring.
7. Refrigerate finished kombucha: Store the bottled kombucha at room temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate.
Make a Fresh Batch of Kombucha: Clean the jar being used for the fermentation. Combine the starter tea from your last batch with the fresh batch of sugary tea, and pour into the fermentation jar. Slide the SCOBY on top; cover and ferment for 7 to 10 days.
Have you tried kombucha? Leave your comments below and let us know if you brew your own tea at home! For more wellness resources and tips, visit ASDAnet.org/wellness.
~Mike Mayr, Boston ’16, contributing editor