First, how adorable is that graphic? One of my besties, Amber, made it for the purpose of this post. Check her out so she can make fabulous graphics for you, too!
Second, what the heck is kombucha?
The easy answer is that it’s a fermented tea. But it doesn’t really taste like tea. It’s more like a dry, bitter version of sparkling apple cider. Some people hate the taste. Some people, like me and Amber, love it. If you Google “kombucha,” you’ll hear a lot of different stuff: it has the power to cure cancer, it’s dangerous to make at home, it’s a cure-all health tonic.
I don’t know about all that, but I can tell you from experience that it balances pH, which is very very important for your lady bits if you’re a lady. It’s also great for digestion and is a low-sugar alternative to soda.
So seriously, what is kombucha?
“Kombucha contains probiotics and multiple species of yeast and bacteria along with the organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, and polyphenols produced by these microbes. The precise quantities vary between samples, but may contain: Acetic acid, Ethanol, Gluconic acid, Glucuronic acid, Glycerol, Lactic acid, Usnic acid and B-vitamins. It was also found that Kombucha contains about 1.51 mg/mL of vitamin C. The acidity of kombucha resists contamination by most airborne molds or bacterial spores. It was shown that Kombucha inhibits growth of harmful microorganisms such as E. coli, Sal. enteritidis, Sal. typhimurium, and Sh. Sonnei. As a result, kombucha is relatively easy to maintain as a culture outside of sterile conditions.” – Wikipedia on Kombucha
I’ve been drinking it for a couple of years, but only started making it in March of 2014 when another bestie, Auriel, gave me the one she uses. Homemade is hands-down the best way to go unless you like spending money. You can make over a gallon (128 ounces) of homemade kombucha for the cost of a single 12-ounce bottle of store-bought!
So what the heck does kombucha have to do with yoga?
For me, it falls in line with sauca,or purity and cleanliness, which is one of the niyamas, or observances, for those who follow the eight-limbed path of yoga. Sauca means keeping a clean body and mind, which for me has a lot to do with what I put in my mouth. Drinking kombucha is a heck of a lot better for me than drinking Diet Coke, which used to be my favorite beverage. I don’t get the rush of sugar from full-calorie soda or the negative effects of aspartame from diet soda, but I still feel like I’m drinking something fun and festive. I also love what it does for my digestive tract and overall pH.
- 3.5 quarts water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 12 bags green or black tea / 6 tbsp loose green or black tea
- 2 cups starter tea from last batch of kombucha
- 1 healthy SCOBY per fermentation jar
- Optional: when time for bottling add 1 cup fruit juice to bottle
- 1 gallon glass jar
- jars or bottles: 8 16-oz mason jars or soda bottles (with lids)
1. Make a batch of sweet tea: Fill saucepan with approx 1-2 quarts of water and add the bags when boiling. Add sugar and allow tea to steep until water has cooled. Add ice if impatient.2. Add tea to 1-gallon jar. If still warm add cold water and leave only around 15% of jar unfilled.
3. Gently add your SCOBY and 2 cups of previous batch (without juice) being careful not to use metal to touch the SCOBY — we used bamboo tongs. Cover the mouth of the jar with a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band or tape if necessary (my jar was an oblong shape).
4. Ferment for 7 to 10 Days: Keep the jar in a cabinet by it’s lonesome. Store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and safe from being shaken or moved. Ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking it periodically to make sure the SCOBY is fermenting the tea and not succumbing to mold or ailments. (I like to check it and take a sniff to make sure it smells like vinegar and not anything rotten.)
You will notice the SCOBY may position itself anywhere around the bottle but usually a new SCOBY baby will form towards the top of the jar (in the liquid). You will also see brown strings settling on the bottom and around the SCOBY. These are signs of good fermentation. Feel free after 7 days to taste the kombucha with a teaspoon. If the tartness and sweetness are to your taste feel free to bottle, if not let it ferment up to 14 days (you can do a second ferment for 3 days in the bottles flavors added if you so decide).
5. Remove the SCOBY and prepare another saucepan with the tea recipe listed above. Without using metal transfer the SCOBY to a clean plate and remove extra layers if it has gotten too thick.
6. Now that you have your jar filled with only the kombucha, get out the stranger and funnel so you can pour it into the bottles/jars you prepared. Feel free to add fruit, fruit juices, flavors such as ginger, etc. We’ll add a feature on more kombucha uses and flavors in the future!
7. After the kombucha is bottle, store it at room-temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate and ferment further with the flavor you have added. Keep in mind that if you’re not familiar with the ingredients and time needed for carbonation the bottles could explore or pop open so keep checking and burping them everyday. After ready place them in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation and store for up to a month.
8. Use your tea, water and SCOBY to make another batch of kombucha as outlined above ready to continue the cycle.
* Too many extra SCOBYs? Put them in a jar filled with kombucha and feed them a cup of sugar every 2 weeks while waiting in the fridge. You can also donate them to a friend and teach them how to make kombucha OR you can start making multiple batches at once and experiment with flavors.
Also view this recipe at Amber’s lifestyle blog Miseducated by clicking here. Have I mentioned how much I love this girl? She and I have started co-working since I left my day job and it’s been a gift. She’s a blogger and graphic designer and she lets me pick her brain on anything technology or design-related. We encourage and support each other, and I am so grateful for her friendship. Sangha (or community) is so vitally important. Thank you, Amber Renee, for being part of mine!