Although I’ve been drinking kombucha for over 12 months now, I’ve only just started to make my own. I enjoy the differences between the flavours. My favourite with my evening meal is Remedy’s Hibiscus Tea, but for lunch it's a struggle to choose between a Mojo Ginger Tonic or Tumeric Trio. What a lovely dilemma to have :)
It is thought that Kombucha originated in Asia around 212BC. It spread to India and Russia through travellers and traders. Kombucha appeared in Germany around the turn of the century and became populate across Europe until World War II due to the shortage of the main ingredients, tea and sugar.
A google search reveals an unclear history with lots of fascinating stories and legends. Hence hames such as 'miracle fungus', 'magical fungus', 'elixir of life' and 'gout tea'.
Wherever this tea originated from it is now know throughout the world by many different names in many cultures. According to wikipedia it is know in Chinese as chájūn, Japanese as kōcha-kinoko, Korean as hongchabeoseotcha, Vietnamese as giam tra and Russian as chaynyy grib. These names translate literally to "tea fungus" or "tea mushroom."
There are many benefits, some proven, some not. Here are a few:
1. Good source of probiotics
2. Improves digestion and mental clarity
3. Detoxifies the body
4. Enhances absorption of minerals; and
5. Helps restore and maintain gut health (really, really important!)
If I’m really honest though, the thought of the SCOBY and the bacteria threads has taken me a while to get used to (not really sure I'm quite there yet - but goin' with it).
'SCOBY' is an acronym -
Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeasts. It looks a little like a pancake. It is the living home for the bacteria and yeast that transforms sweet
tea into gorgeous, tangy, fizzy kombucha.
Wikipedia mention thinking of the SCOBY as the coral reef of the
bacteria and yeast world. I like
that - it's what makes the magic!
However, as with all things, it can become expensive to buy and I really don’t want to ration Kombucha. I usually buy 2-3 bottles a week at about $9 for 750ml, but now my husband and son are on the bandwagon, it just isn’t enough and doesn’t last the week.
So back to the internet I went to explore this fascinating new world. I ordered my very own SCOBY (a new life form to care for) and splashed out with the gorgeous ceramic kombucha pot pictured on this page (I'm just a little bit proud of it :)).
I bought a ginger and lemon variety from the store to be the ‘mother brew’ and a gorgeous Pukka ginger and lemongrass tea. I followed the directions and boiled the water and sugar, then steeped the tea for 15 minutes and allowed the mix to cool to room temperature (which took a lot longer than I thought).
Note to self: In future I’ll just brew it before bedtime and pop it in the kombucha pot with the SCOBY in the morning.
Once cooled, you can pour it into your kombucha pot and add your SCOBY. A couple of tips for new players:
1. Ensure your tea mixture has cooled properly otherwise you’ll kill the beneficial bacteria (i.e. your SCOBY);
2. Ensure your SCOBY is also at room temperature otherwise it will sink rather than float. I made the mistake of grabbing it straight from the fridge and popping it in the pot. But don't panic if it does sink, a new SCOBY will form after approximately 4-5 days.
3. Fermentation time will depend on the temperature. It can take up to 4 weeks in the cooler months.
Happy Healthy Eating!
We'd love to hear about your kombucha journey.