I made my first homebrewed kombucha tea this week.
(365 Day 204 Photo)
Actually it was my first kombucha to try ever, and I don't think it really brews- just ferments- as the yeast culture I put into the tea feeds on the nitrogen and sugar to release all sorts of good stuff that is said to cure a long list of complaints. I've been wanting to try it for a while.
This tea dates back to 221 B.C. in China, where the kombucha mother (the rubbery yeast colony) was passed from friend to friend like bread starters. But probably more happily received, as a week's worth of kombucha is a whole lot easier to make than a week's worth of bread.
Even the smallest bit of yeast "floaties" from an opened bottle could be carefully nurtured into a little "mother".
But where would I happen upon a small mother to begin with? Especially when the bottled varieties have been pulled from the health stores to be studied for alcohol content?
Craigslist, of course! I was told about a woman who gave baby mamas away regularly for free, I emailed her, we met, and I got the hook up.
Just like those friends in China centuries ago, she passed along potential health in a kombucha mother.
Below are a combo of her directions and those from this site's:
You'll need 12 bags or 1/4 cup loose leaves of any black or green tea you prefer (Vanessa recommended Republic of Tea's Blackberry Sage or Chai,) 1 cup white sugar, 1 gal boiling water, 1 kombucha starter in a cup of previously made kombucha, a strainer, a coffee filter, rubber band, and sun tea or pickle jar.
First, bring the gallon of water to a boil then add the tea and sugar, letting it brew for 15 minutes (long enough for nitrogen to be sufficiently released from the tea, I guess.)
Here, you can remove the bags or strain the leaves, then let the tea cool completely.
You can place the mother and it's cup of kombucha tea into the bottom of the gallon jar, covering the mouth of jar with a coffee filter and rubber band.
(This is the mother waiting for the tea. I know, it's gross looking.)
Once the tea is cooled, pour it into the jar on top of the mother, filling just to the beginning of the curve at the top of jar. This allows room for it to expand. Replace the filter and wait 5- 10 days, depending on the temperature and if the sugar has been absorbed enough. Taste to see.
I don't know if you can see it, but the mother here floated to the side and began reproducing a baby mama across the top of the tea. I think this is how it works. Each batch leaves you with a new mother that you can use or pass along to someone else.
When it's no longer sweet, remove the mother and baby with a cup of tea for one or both depending on how many batches you're going to make from it. You can pour the tea into bottles, filling to the top, and capping to trap the gases produced by the sugar breakdown. (In other words, it fizzes like a carbonated drink.) Then, tuck them into the fridge.
As far as I understand, the old mother can be separated into a couple of layers to be used individually or reused intact until it is dark brown. You should then replace it with one of it's babies, which it makes with each batch. So, I can see how easy it would be, if you have 2 or more gallons going all the time, to have extras to give away. That is, if anybody wants it.
Now, what I really wanted to know was how will it taste? The answer is really good. I used pomegranate tea so it was pretty strong, yet my kids liked it. It did taste carbonated, and I didn't even wait the recommended few days to let it mature. It beats the whole apple cider vinegar and honey tonic to pieces.
In fact, we're going through it really fast. Good thing I made double this time with my new baby mama. I'm trying ginger tea, hoping for a ginger ale kind of taste.
One more word of advice: add it to your diet slowly, 1 cup a day for a while to prevent gas and bloating. When your body is adjusted, you can increase to even the recommended 3 per day.