People these days are rediscovering the deep health benefits of fermented foods like water kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha. The good news is you can make Kombucha at home with just easy and simple steps! In this post, I’m going to share easy tricks on how to make Kombucha at home.
According to health experts, fermented drinks are healthy for our body because they contain probiotic bacteria and enzymes that help improve our digestive system and increase our immunity against viruses and harmful bacteria.
One of my favorite ways to add fermented foods into my family’s diet is kombucha or “boocha” as my kids call it.
This type of fermented drink gives a slightly sweet and sour taste, and can be added with other flavors to make it spicy, fruity, floral or herbaceous.
For the best online course on how to make fermented foods and drinks, Herbal Academy has an herbal fermentation course. They go into deep detail about what fermented foods do to our gut, how they benefit us, and step-by-step instruction on how to make them.
What is Kombucha?
Before discussing the details about how to make Kombucha, first we need to discuss what is actually is, and how it impacts our health.
Kombucha is the result of fermenting a sweet tea with the help of a SCOBY. SCOBY is actually an acronym for a “Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast”.
Kombucha originated in China around 220 B.C. It grew in popularity when parts of Russia, Korea, and Japan started brewing it and making it into what it is now.
In the 1990’s, it reached the United States, and became more popular because of the testimonies regarding it’s healing properties and benefits.
Today, you can find a lot of people advocating Kombucha as a healthy fermented drink for digestion, for detoxification, for enhancing energy, for heart problems, cancer, & high blood pressure, for boosting immunity, losing weight, and more!
But is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
Health Benefits of Kombucha
Kombucha has had a surge in popularity lately because of it’s proposed health benefits, but how can we know what’s true, what’s coincidental and what’s psychosomatic?
Some of the proposed health benefits include:
As a type of fermented drink, Kombucha contains a chock full of good bacteria and enzymes that can remove toxins out of your body.
As a detoxifying agent, regular intake would smoothen your digestive system and decrease your risk for liver and pancreatic diseases.
Warding off toxins from your digestive system means cleaning it and improving your metabolism.
This study looks into the detoxifying effects of Kombucha.
Besides being a powerful antioxidant, Kombucha is also a good source of Vitamin B and probiotics to strengthen your immune system.
Recent research has been showing the direct correlation between our gut health and our mental health, our immune system, even Autism.
Leaky gut syndrome has also become a hot topic, as science is showing how a lot of the modern population is suffering from a permeable intestinal lining – caused by irritants, toxins, reactions to such things as gluten, etc.
This study showed that mice with colitis who received kombucha had a higher survival rate, and loss less weight overall, leading some to believe kombucha is a good ally in treating leaky gut.
Fights Candida Overgrowth
As mentioned, Kombucha can also help fight against Candida yeast infections. This study shows a significant decrease in Candida levels with the use of Kombucha.
Believe it or not, Herbal Academy’s Herbal Stress Management course was the first place I heard about the connection between our gut health and our mood.
Some of the microbes naturally occurring in our gut are actually involved in the synthesis of some of the hormones that dictate our moods!
I don’t know about you, but knowing that makes me want to feed the microbes that produce happy-hormones!
Since Kombucha is lacto-fermented, the bacteria involved in it’s fermentation are in the Lactobacillus family.
Some Lactobacillus bacteria create Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), Acetylcholine, Tryptophan (a serotonin precursor) and Histamine.
So what does all that mean?
GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning that when it binds to a GABA receptor, it produces a calming effect. This can help reduce anxiety, stress, fear and even may help prevent seizures.
Acetylcholine works on both your peripheral nervous system and central nervous system and facilitates contractions of skeletal muscles and glandular functions in the endocrine system.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid – meaning the body cannot produce it itself and it must be consumed.
After we consume tryptophan, the body converts it to serotonin, melatonin, and vitamin B6. Serotonin makes us feel happy, melatonin helps us sleep, and vitamin B6 affects our energy levels.
Histamines work to engage your immune system and protect you from pathogens.
Improve Energy Levels
Besides Vitamin B, it also contains iron that enhances the flow of oxygen in the body by increasing hemoglobin production. More hemoglobin means more energy level for your body.
In other words, it’s a good alternative for your soda and energy drinks which are a bit sugary.
While you can always buy kombucha from a grocery store, it’s easy and fun to make this fermented tea it at home!
What You’ll Need to Get Started
If you’re ready to boost you and your family’s health with a delicious, fizzy drink, here’s my take on how to make kombucha the easy way for beginners.
To get started, you will need to prepare your materials first.
- Glass jar
Preferably a gallon-sized and make sure that it is clean well before using. A sterilized glass jar is highly recommended.
Especially when you want to adjust the brewing temperature, this will come in handy.
This helps determine the strength of the taste & controls the temperature to prevent the scoby from being damaged which could lead to molds and spoilage.
- Cheesecloth, paper coffee filter, or tea towel
This covers your Kombucha to keep it warm and free from airborne materials and flies.
It is recommended that you avoid using tight sealed covers as this will make it hard for your Kombucha to breathe and the resulting gas production may cause your container to rupture.
When done, use this to filter yeast strings and for scooping out the scoby.
The scoby is the bacteria and yeast “mother” that your tea needs to ferment and become kombucha. After your first brew you can create a new scoby or get some from a friend.
- Rubber Band
To secure your cheesecloth or cover.
How to Make Kombucha
If you have the needed materials all set, then you are ready to begin making Kombucha! Here are simple guidelines on how to make kombucha for beginners.
- Wash your hands
Before touching any sterilized things and your scoby, make sure that you have already washed your hands thoroughly.
Having clean hands will avoid contaminating your kombucha which may kill the fermentation process.
- Brew the tea
To make a gallon, begin by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil. Turn it off and remove from heat.
Place 6 tea bags or 2 Tbsp of loose tea, in a tea bag or reusable pouch in the hot water and let steep at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.
The tea you use here is really up to you. You can use white tea, black tea, green tea, earl grey, chamomile or a mix!
Experiment with it and have fun!
Remove the tea bags.
Next, add one cup of sugar and stir until it dissolves.
- Ready the tea for the fermentation process
Add this strong tea to your gallon-sized glass jar and top it off with filtered water, leaving room for your scoby.
NOTE: always use filtered water or good quality well water. City water is treated with chlorine which can kill your scoby.
Ensure the temperature is between 75-85 degrees and add your scoby.
Place your cheesecloth or paper towels over the top of the jar and secure it with an elastic band.
- Ferment the Kombucha
When fermenting your kombucha, make sure that it is not in direct contact with sunlight. Rather, place it in a closet and wait until 7-10 days for the whole fermentation process to finish.
You can begin to taste test your kombucha after 7 days of fermentation, but if you want a stronger taste, then continue to ferment it until the 10th day.
I use an infinity system, also called a continuous brew where the kombucha ferments continuously and I simply pull a cup of kombucha out daily to drink from the spout of a container like this, and then repeat the steps above when I get low.
But if you’d like to add additional flavors or get creative with your kombucha, you can do what is called a secondary fermentation.
- Transfer to bottles
Transfer your kombucha to sterilized bottles with a funnel. Make sure to leave the top an inch of headroom.
- Second fermentation
You can ferment the kombucha again for another 1-3 days, placing it securely inside the closet to carbonate.
After 3 days, you can open the bottles to remove gas and replace the flavors you added. Refrigerate.
If you’ve got enough kombucha that you want to wait before making your next batch you can always make a scoby hotel.
This is a place where your scobys rest without any fruit juice.
I simply keep mine in a quart-sized mason jar in the fridge to slow down the growth.
Now that you know how to make kombucha, you can now enjoy its health benefits! In case you decide to make it at home, make sure to prepare the materials ahead of time and don’t forget these guidelines.