It's been a while! Monday is now blog day so I am hoping to get a motivating blog published at the start of every week on the lead up to Christmas.
I recently attended a fabulous Kombucha workshop in Fia Cafe (www.fia.ie) ran by Roisin Culligan which has inspired and renewed my love for fermented food. I knew I liked the taste of the hipster tea and was curious as to how this quirky tasting drink was made and more importantly how I can make it myself. Some of the kombucha drinks on the market have fruit juice added after the fermentation process, which will contribute to your overall sugar intake and can range from 10-15g per serve (two to three teaspoons), so if you have regular tea/coffee without sugar, drinking kombucha will increase your sugar intake. Probiotics and fermented foods have had an amazing impact on my gut health and overall well-being so naturally, I wanted to find out more.
Here's what you need to know:
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a sweet fermented tea that was originally consumed in China more than 2,200 years ago for its detoxifying and energizing properties. Nowadays , kombucha (booch) lovers have used the beverage as an at-home remedy for gut health, acne, fatigue, hypertension, headaches, and constipation.
Terms to become familiar with:
Fermentation: The chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat
Scoby: Stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts - The scoby is a type of ‘tea fungus. It's the alien looking gooey jelly-fish thing that floats in your jar that you need to keep alive.
Three of my favorite Kombucha (booch) benefits;
1: Gut Health - we are learning more and more that a healthy gut not only leads to feeling healthy but can also have amazing mental health benefits. 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut so good gut health = good mental health.
2: Vitamins & Minerals: Kombucha contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals which are produced when the yeast breaks down the sugars, including vitamin C and B vitamins B1, B6 and B12.
3: Kombucha is rich in tea polyphenols (are micronutrients that we get through certain plant-based foods) and acetic acid, which have both been shown to suppress the growth of undesirable bacteria and yeasts.
How do you make Kombucha?
Here's what you need;
300g Raw Sugar
2L Cold filtered water 2L hot water
25g Black/green tea ( loose leaf)
Scoby – purchased online, or from an existing batch of kombucha in your local cafe (or ask me )
Accessories: Kilner Jar, Sieve, Funnel (optional), 3/4 empty large bottles, coffee filters, sealable tupperware/bowl
1: Mixture: Mix the 300g Raw/Caster Sugar with 25g of the lose leaf tea in a pot and add 2L of water, bring to the boil.
Meanwhile add the SCOBY to the Kilner jar with the other 2L of cold water.
2: Fermentation: Once you have brought the tea and caster sugar to the boil - using a sieve/strainer - add the mixture to the kilner (which contains the Scoby and 2L of cold water). Cover the top of the kilner jar with a coffee filter so the fermentation process can take place. This allows the scoby to breathe. Find the mixture a home out of the direct sunlight but keeping it at room temp.
3: Taste Test: Fermentation can take anything from 5-30 days (depending on room temp and other factors) For me it took 6/7 days. Taste test the tea everyday and once you notice the intense sugary taste start to diminish and a fizzyness take its place you are pretty much there! When it hits the flavor you want — not too sweet, not too sour — it’s onto the next step.
4: Flavor: This is the fun part! Strain the booch from the kilner jar to a big bowl/tupperware and add your flavorings - there are many different yummy flavors of Booch you can make. Strawberry, Ginger, Elderflower, Chamomile, Apple, Rhubarb (the list is endless) - to get the most out of your fruit flavorings blitz the fruits and leave to infuse for 24hrs.
5: Bottle: Strain the booch from the bowl/tupperware into your sterilized bottles. Fill the bottle almost to the top - The less space you have the more carbonation that you will have. You can drink the kombucha as is and put in the refrigerator. It will have less fizz with this method but still taste amazing.
Please note: NEVER shake kombucha, as it can explode. The higher you fill the bottle, the more likely you are going to need to burp your kombucha to relieve the gas bubbles a bit. You can also add a teaspoon of sugar into each bottle if you wish and mix.
The scoby is ALIVE so it will grow and even multiply; the liquid will turn cloudy and maybe form bubbles around the top. Don’t be surprised if yeast strands start dangling like seaweed from your scoby - It's grosse and cool at the same time :)
The whole process is enjoyable and easy just make sure you are prepared and have all the accessories you need. I am new to the Kombucha game so am not claiming to be an expert by any stretch but do think we need to be taking more of an interest in our gut and what is actually going into our bodies on a daily basis. This means checking labels and being aware of what is in the foods we eat.
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