Now, I don’t think you can rightfully call yourself a “Hippie” unless you are a consumer of the marvelously weird (and healthy) superdrink — kombucha. Seriously. Do you know any crunchy people who don’t drink this crazy concoction?
There are plenty of good reasons for why they (we? you?) all do. Or at least should.
Tea on yeasty, bacterial steroids
In case you aren’t familiar, kombucha is sweetened green or black tea which is then left out to ferment for a while with the use of a pre-existing colony of healthy bacteria and yeast. Sound kinda gross? Well, considering people have been making this for over 2,000 years, and consider it to be the “elixir of life” or the “tea of immortality” (according to traditional Chinese medicine), I’d say there’s fair proof that there’s a lot of good behind that grossness (especially since it doesn’t taste gross at all!).
Kombucha has been historically known for:
- Detoxifying the body by promoting health of the liver and pancreas
- Cancer prevention and treatment
- Arthritis prevention and treatment
- Supporting a healthy immune system
- Improving digestion by helping to restore balance in the gut
- Treating emotion regulation disorders
- Enhancing mental clarity and energy levels
- Promoting overall health by supplying an abundance of antioxidants
(See this post to learn more about kombucha health benefits.)
So. It’s high-time that this little Hippie got her hands on this bacteria-breeding beverage, dontcha think?
But since kombucha from the store is a whopping five bucks per single-serving bottle — I knew I needed to master making it myself.
Word to your Mother
The first step in making your own kombucha is to get your hands on a starter culture — otherwise known as a “mother,” “mushroom,” or “SCOBY” (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast). Those are also a little spendy — usually upwards of $30 a pop if you buy in stores (or Cultures for Health sells them for $12 online). You don’t need a new starter each time you make kombucha though. The “mothers” actually create little “babies” for you to keep using! How cute.
But, I decided I would be adventurous and make my own mother. It’s super easy!
All you do is buy a bottle of already-made, raw, plain kombucha (on the mainland, this is usually only like $3 or so), and dump it into a jar of sweetened tea. That’s pretty much it.
I just made one cup of black tea, sweetened with one tablespoon of sugar — this is one real food in which it’s OK to use processed, refined sugar — because you don’t eat it, your mom (culture) does! After I poured my kombucha into the jar of tea, I covered it with a square of an old shirt I cut up, and put a rubber band around it. You want to do this rather than putting a lid on, because the mixture needs to “breathe” as it ferments and grows your motherly mushroom.
And now, after about a week in the cabinets of our toasty little cottage (usually in the high 80s), my mother is fully-formed and about 1/4 inch thick. She started as a thin film, and just kept growing! This process may take up to 3 weeks, depending on the temperature of your home.
Pretty exciting! Now, we’re diving right into kombucha brewing with our slimy science experiment. I can’t wait to see what this turns out like!
Have you brewed kombucha at home before, or grown your own SCOBY? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?