Thursday, October 22, 2009

First Attempt at Kombucha Tea and Continuous Brewing!

** View the Update on how my KT is doing today**

To start off this posting I am going to list various websites that offer suggestions, definitions, instructions, and knowledge about Kombucha, since many of you may not have heard of it and its reported 'miraculous' properties.

So, What IS Kombucha Tea??

Although frequently referred to as a mushroom, which it resembles, Kombucha is not a mushroom — it's a colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha tea is made by adding the colony to sugar and black or green tea and allowing the mix to ferment. The resulting liquid contains vinegar, B vitamins and a number of other chemical compounds. Kombucha tea is commonly prepared by taking a starter sample from an existing culture and growing a new colony in a fresh jar. Health benefits attributed to Kombucha tea include stimulating the immune system, preventing cancer, and improving digestion and liver function. -citation i just lost.

Basically, Kombucha 'supposedly' does all sorts of great stuff: turns gray hair colored, makes you feel better, can cure cancer. There are thousands of supporters, and most likely as many cynics. Just like any 'health food' there are claims and there are suggestions, but when it comes down to it I think Kombucha is what you want it to be. It is a detoxifier, it is a tasty drink, it gives you energy, it makes you feel connected to something you grow yourself and drink on a daily basis. That is the one thing that matters: to get health benefits from KT (Kombucha Tea) you must drink it daily or you lose ground on the benefits.

From personal experience thus far (from store purchased KT) I can report this: KT made me feel less hungry. It made me crave alcohol a little less. It gave me a general mild feeling of 'nice'. I returned from my honeymoon with daily boughts of diarrhea that wouldn't go away regardless of various medicines I tried - I drank KT for a few days and was all better.
I will report again after my first week of drinking my homemade KT.

So this is a lot of text. If you're interested in KT do some research on the sites I listed above, join the forum to connect with real live people willing to help, and proceed with caution. You must be sanitary, treat the process with respect, start drinking a little at a time, and see how you feel. If you like it - great! I may even have a 'scoby' to share soon.

My Adventure with KT

I started my 'scoby' with the yeasty sludge at the bottom of GT's Raw Kombucha. (woops, that was wrong: i actually started mine from Buddha's Brew, a local product) You can purchase scobies or be given one already formed (check craigslist or the Happy Herbalist). I ordered a great receptacle from Bed Bath and Beyond, that was shipped to me broken and reshipped finally in one piece. After nursing the thin little scoby that developed for a few weeks, it's thickened up to almost one inch, i think it's a mother and a baby, and it's ready for its new home. And i'm ready to drink some kt!

The recipe I'm following:

  • 2 gallons distilled water
  • 20 tea bags, earl grey and darjeeling, organic
  • 3 cups sugar, preferably organic
  • 2 cups reserved kt starter, 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, or a couple bottles store bought KT (i'm using about half to one cup starter tea and about a half cup white vinegar)
Clean the receptacle very well with hot water and vinegar, NOT soap. Remove rings and clean hands well, also with vinegar.
Bring one gallon water to near boil, add sugar and stir til dissolved. Add tea bags (or loose tea) and steep to your preference. I'm steeping about 45-50 minutes.
After water has cooled and tea hast steeped, fish out the bags and pour the warm tea into the receptacle. Add the other gallon of water - preferable at an icey cold temperature. Wait until the total water in the receptacle is at room temperature. Next add the vinegar or starter, mix via pouring in.
Now carefully add your scoby. It can float, sink, halfway float. Doesn't matter. Cover receptacle lid area with a very clean fine cloth (i'm using a napkin, cheesecloth isn't fine enough - you'll get fruit flies) and secure with a rubber band.
Now keep it in a quiet, warmish (comfy to you temperature) spot out of direct sunlight.
Wait about a week. Taste. KT should be tangy tart and sometimes fizzy. I plan on testing the PH my first time to be sure i'm not killing us. After you get used to it you figure out the tang to your preference.
Since i'm doing the continuous brewing method all i have to do is replace what i siphon off with about equal amounts prepared sweet tea that i'll brew and have on hand (but not in the fridge as that would be too cold for the scoby).

So that's my take on it. Read the links i posted, they're more thorough. Here's to long health!
I also plan on feeding the old scobies to the chickens, using some KT on my scalp to see if i can clear up my dermatitis, and have some fun flavoring a few batches in mason jars over night with herbs and fruits etc.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for your feedback, especially if you've cooked one of my recipes or tried one of my tips: let me know how it turned out!