When my mom spotted my SCOBY atop my refrigerator, I bet she never imagined that that round, rubbery, icky looking disc floating in a bottle was something I used in my culinary nutrition pursuits (or maybe she did actually, as she does think many of my food philosophies and recipes a tad far-out).
You see, I make my own homemade kombucha tea, and that jelly-fish-like culture, my SCOBY, is the most important factor in the process. This symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast is essential in the fermentation of this effervescent, pungent and deliciously sweet tea beverage.
Consumed for over 2000 years to improve health and fight against infection and chronic disease, kombucha has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, especially since the use of probiotics became commonplace. Probiotics are produced via the reaction between the tea and the bacteria in the SCOBY, and they’re believed to host loads of benefits including improved digestion and immunity, warding off parasites, minimizing candida, and improving nutrient assimilation. Kombucha is also loaded with active enzymes, amino acids and anti-oxidants that can also help the body with detoxification processes.
You can find many brands of this tasty tea on store shelves these days, but when shopping be sure to look for ones labelled RAW. The minute you pasteurize this beverage, you lose the very cultures that make kombucha so super duper good for us! Also be sure to check that the bottle you are buying contains some “mother”; you know, the floaty, murky bits that you see in raw UN-pasturized apple cider vinegar. The presence of the mother is a sign of an active and alive kombucha.
But, if you are thinking about becoming a serious connoisseur of this ancient tea treat, might I suggest brewing your own at home? I started doing just that about a year and a half ago, and I still use my original SCOBY every time! The exciting part too, is that every batch I make comes with the bonus birth of a new baby SCOBY! I have gifted these little guys to friends and now there is a whole group of us in town making up our very own unique brews, each one bursting with bubbles and their own unique flavor. There are plenty of resources available to help you get things rolling including informative books and full kits. But for a basic set-up, all you need is to get your hands on a momma SCOBY, some simple supplies, and then it’s as slick as following this easy recipe:
- Kombucha mother culture (SCOBY)
- 1/2 cup ripe Kombucha tea
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 bags black tea
- 1 gallon water
- Large pot for boiling water
- Large (1 gallon) glass jar
- cloth & rubber bacd to fit over jar opening
1. Brew the tea, and then allow it to cool completely.
2. Add in your SCOBY and 1/2 ripe kombucha, and store in glass jar, loosely covered for seven to fourteen days, checking for preferred ripeness & effervescence after the seventh day.
Try using different types of teas, whether green, white, or oolong, and then once brewed you can experiment by adding in other flavour combinations using herbs, fruits, or extracts.
As with any at-home food project, please do be mindful of potential contamination, and keep your supplies and work areas clean and tidy. If you notice any serious color changes or molds developing on your SCOBY or in your kombucha, discard and start anew. If you have any health concerns, I would also suggest talking to a health professional before drinking raw kombucha.
If you loved these recommendations, you can browse through some more amazing product recommendations here!