i did something crazy. i made kombucha. and then i read a bunch of articles, and a friend told me that back during kombucha prohibition home-crafted kombucha started making people sick, and i went through this journey of why (and if i got sick, how would i know? like the natural hypochondriac that i am).
dr. weil claims that kombucha is a product of celebrity marketing in his article, “cured by kombucha?” he not only says that he knows of no benefits to drinking the cultured tea but that it is actually dangerous to drink if you have a compromised immune system. he has also warned that the bacteria acts as an antibiotic and (like with any antibiotics) you shouldn’t take/drink too much, a preventative measure to keep your body from developing resistant strains of bacteria to an antibiotic. too much would be over four ounces per day.
what shocked me the most was the claim that most people who drink kombucha simply claim they feel better and have more energy after drinking the tea but acknowledge that there are no proven health benefits. i guess this is where i come in..
kombucha is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. the resulting liquid contains vinegar, antioxidants, probiotics, and vitamin b. it has been around for more than 2,000 years. in ancient china kombucha was “worshipped as a remedy for mortality” (nbcnews). the drink made its way into korea, japan, russia, germany, india, and now all over the world.
the argument for the benefits of kombucha is that it simply has not been studied in the modern world. since it approaches nutrition in a more holistic way, one in which major drug companies will not benefit from throwing funds at, it is not a cure that has been extensively researched.
claims about the benefits include fighting/preventing degenerative diseases and reducing or eliminating symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, and anxiety. research done overseas found that entire regions of russia and germany were “seemingly immune to cancer,” it was hypothesized that kombucha was the cause of this (food renegade).
here’s my take: if you like it and feel good when drinking it – chug that mother down. i know i will.
the process of creating your kombucha is two weeks long. first thing you need is a scoby. find a friend or coworker who makes kombucha and grab one of their scoby’s daugheters (the top layer of the mother).
next, you need a GLASS beverage dispenser. i bought mine at bed bath and beyond.
fill the dispenser with 2 cups of store-bought original kombucha, 1 cup sugar, 12 cups of room temperature tea (i used 5-7 bags of black tea but green tea is just as good), and the scoby on top (make sure the scoby is flat and with minimal air bubbles).
cover loosely with a tea towel, put a rubber band around the top, and let sit in a dark/cool place for 1 week.
after 1 week, you are ready to bottle. your batch should make 4-5 12ounce bottles of kombucha. i juiced 1 mango, 5 lemons, and plenty of ginger to separate into the bottles.
each bottle should be 1/8 filled with juice, the rest kombucha. leave 1 centimeter of space from the top of the liquid to the lid to allow for fermentation.
the beginning of the bubbles is where i stopped pouring.
put in a paper bag and let rest for another week in the same dark/cool place that you left the beverage dispenser.
you should have 1/4 of the total kombucha that was in your dispenser left for your next batch. the same night you bottle you should start the next batch.
12 cups black or green tea
1 cup sugar
2 cups original store-bought kombucha
1 beverage dispenser
plenty of used kombucha bottles or mason jars
1. boil 12 cups of water, once boiling turn off heat, mix in 1 cup of sugar and tea. steep tea and make sure sugar is dissolved.
2. once the tea has come down to room temperature add it to your beverage dispenser with 2 cups store-bought kombucha.
3. place scoby on top, make sure it is laying flat, cover with a tea towel, and secure with a rubber-band.
4. let sit in a cool/dark place like a cabinet for 1 week.
5. after 1 week, bottle kombucha. bottles should include: 1/8th juice, kombucha, 1 centimeter of air.
6. close jars (tight) and return them to your cool/dark place for 1 additional week.
7. leave at least 1/4 of the kombucha in the dispenser with the scoby to start your next batch. a friend advised me to take it out, clean the dispenser with ONLY hot water (no soap), and start a new one within the next week. actually, she said within 24 hours of bottling the first batch but it took me a while to get my giddyup on. below is what it looked like after one batch – opaque and thicker parts are normal as well as the brown ‘beard’ that drizzles off of it (the yeast). colored mold is not.