Saturday, May 21, 2011

WHAT ON EARTH is this wierd stuff called kombucha???

I have found this super yummy drink.  KOMBUCHA.  It is slightly fizzy, smells vinegary, and has awesome health benefits.  Its basic components are organic green or black tea, organic sugar and fermenting them with a kombucha culture.  Through trying different types I have found which ones I like and don't like.

But what I really don't like is the price!  Yikes!  Anywhere from $3.50 to $4.50 a bottle.  I was treating myself to it instead of coffee and only when feeling run down.  I have been seeing a lot of posts on making it and I finally decided to try to make it myself. 

Kombucha and your health:
One of the necessary items needed to make it is a SCOBY/kombucha culture; which basically is a large mushroom.  SCOBY stands for "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts."  The SCOBY can best be described as a large pancake.  It will often take on the color of the tea you use.  Some of the great health things that may be in the kombucha are B vitamins, vitamin C, organic acids lik glucuronic, gluconic, lactic, usnic, malic acids; there are even amino acids and enzymes in there.  Acetic acid, which is mildly antibacterial can be found in there too.  My favorite benefit is that there are probiotics in there!  Woo hoo! Which we all need!

A really cool thing about this yummy, fizzy bowl of health is that the SCOBY reproduces.  You can keep the baby and start a second batch, or give it away to friends to share the wealth of health benefits.

Teas to use:
 Most types of teas are ok.  Do use organic.  Green, black, white, and oolong will all provide a wide variety of taste.  I have been using green and like it.  Avoid teas with oils in them like Earl Grey and herbal teas.  My favorite sugar to use is Turbinado sugar.

Some important things to note:

I have read that it is recommended recovering alcoholics do not drink this.  While the fermenting tea and yeast do produce alcohol, the good stuff (bacteria) turn the alcohol into the even better stuff (organic acids), BUT the taste can be somewhat tempting.  I think the measured amount of alcohol is often around the 1% or less range.

For beginners, you can measure the PH of your kombucha to make sure it is brewing properly.  The goal is to end around 3.  The range can be 2.5 to 4.  You can buy a pack of PH strips to test it.  DO NOT dip the strips in to the brew, but use a straw to remove the liquid and drop onto the testing strip.  Do not touch the SCOBY with metal, plastic etc.

I will post soon on making KOMBUCHA. 

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