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Making Kombucha

Kombucha is one of those things that just sounds like hippy food. Like “Yeah, I had sprouted tofu for lunch with a big glass of kombucha.” Or, “I spent the morning churning my raw cream into butter and need a kombucha.”

Maybe neither of the above are things you’d say, but you’ve probably heard of kombucha. It’s making a resurgence in health food stores and for good reason.

Kombucha is a fermented tea that is an age-old digestive tonic. This beverage is made by making a simple sweet tea – usually organic black tea and white sugar, but there are other options – and adding a kombucha starter, called a SCOBY, to the tea.

SCOBY may seem like a random term for the culture, but it is an acronym for what the culture is – a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. These bacteria and yeast feed on the sugar in the tea to create all sorts of beneficial acids, probiotics, and vitamins.

Of particular note is the acid called glucoronic acid that is produced by the kombucha making process. This acid is incredibly helpful in detoxing the liver which is part of the reason kombucha is known not only as a digestive aid, but also a powerful detoxifier.

If you find a bottle of this stuff at your local health food store, though, you’ll probably pay at least $3. So we make it at home in large batches for around $.20.

To make a gallon of Kombucha

  • 3 1/2 quarts of water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 tea bags (or equivalent of loose leaf)
  • 1 kombucha SCOBY (see sources)
  1. Boil water and add to gallon-sized glass jar along with sugar and tea.
  2. Allow to steep for at least 20 minutes or until the tea has cooled. Be sure to stir the sugar into the tea as it steeps. Remove the tea or tea bags once cooled to room temperature.
  3. Carefully add the SCOBY and stir with a plastic or wooden utensil. Cover with a breathable material like a clean towel or coffee filter. Be sure to fasten with a rubber band or tie in order to keep fruit lies out.
  4. Place in a dark place that will have a fairly warm (65+ degrees) and consistent temperature. Allow to culture for 5-24 days, depending on temperature. Check after five days by tasting. It is done culturing when the SCOBY has produced a 2nd “baby” SCOBY and it tastes slightly tangy and less sweet than it was. How sweet it tastes is directly related to how long it ferments so if you’d like yours more tangy than sweet simply allow it to ferment longer.
  5. Drink and enjoy!

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