Nancy's Health Talk Blog


How to Make Kombucha, The Immortal Health Elixir

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I was introduced to kombucha seven years ago and then stopped making it. It’s interesting to look at the things we let go of for a time and then come back to again later. Things have come full-circle for me, and I am back at it again!

Kombucha is not only easy to make, it is a delicious, probiotic-rich, dairy-free beverage your whole family will enjoy.

Kombucha is so easy to make and is so healthy for us. It really is an immortal health elixir!

Kombucha naturally contains:
• probiotics
• polyphenols
• organic enzymes
• vital amino acids
• gluconic and glucuronic acids, the liver rejuvenators!

Here are some benefits of drinking kombucha:
• Promotion of liver cleansing, resulting in healthy skin, hair, and improved eyesight
• Increase of metabolism and resulting decrease of body fat
• Balancing of blood sugar levels
• Increase of energy
• Improved pH balance and resulting mental clarity

The exact origin of the kombucha culture is unknown, but the culture has been around for thousands of years.

The Moscow Central Bacteriological Institute calls kombucha a tea fungus or tea sponge. Their research shows that the culture is formed from bacterium xyllinum and yeast cells of the genus Saccharomyces; this is the GOOD type of yeast, without spores, not the kind that causes Candida.

They found that the tea resulted from fermenting the kombucha culture, producing a drink rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, glucuronic acid, hyaluronic acid, condroitin-sulfate, mucoitinsulfuric acid, dextrogyral, using acid and Folic acid to name a few.

The B vitamins in the kombucha-culture tea are all essential to the nourishment of our bodies but cannot be produced by our bodies.

The Moscow Central Bacteriological Institute has even suggested that kombucha tea is helpful in fighting immune deficiency diseases such as cancer, diarrhea, indigestion, prostate problems, male and female incontinence, hemorrhoids, PMS, menopausal symptoms, weight imbalance, aging skin, hair loss and graying hair, kidney and gallstones, high cholesterol and hardening of the arteries, acne, psoriasis, diabetes and hypoglycemia.

How to Make Kombucha

     

I followed the instructions from Sprout Master, distributors of kombucha here in Ontario, Canada. I encourage you to order your kombucha culture from them at their link below. I’ve ordered many things from them over the years and can highly recommend them. Plus, they’re super-nice people!

     

Sprout Master’s kombucha culture has been raised at a certified organic Sprout Master farm in Elmvale, Ontario. There original culture was even tested radionically. They’ve taken great care in the birthing of your kombucha!

You can also buy kombucha tonic (drink) at the health food store. My favorite brand is Tonica Kombucha Organic Raw Kombucha (Gingerade).

     

Brewing Kombucha:

Care should be taken when making your tea in order to avoid contamination. Make sure that your hands are clean. Choose a quiet, well-ventilated spot for your kombucha to ferment, away from drafts, sunlight, and vibration.

You can use any favorite wide-mouth vessel, bowl, or jar. A crock with a tap or spigot is best (the material of your vessel can be made of glass, porcelain, china, glazed earthenware, or pottery). To ensure that all utensils are clean, we recommend misting your vessel, pot, and utensils with food-grade 3% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) before use.



Materials Required:
The ratio of materials needed is:

• 1 cup cane sugar
• 4 liters of filtered water
• 4-6 teabags or teaspoons of loose tea (either green or black) tied in cheesecloth



You will have to judge the required amounts of ingredients depending on the size of vessel you decide to brew in.

A piece of light cotton or linen cloth—preferably white—is needed for the cover. It should be freshly laundered and rinsed in a 3% solution of food-grade hydrogen peroxide. Avoid using cheesecloth (too porous) and never use synthetics.

Your pot should be stainless steel or glass, 10L in capacity. NEVER USE ALUMINUM!

You’ll also need a glass, wooden, or stainless steel spoon.

To brewing your kombucha tea, put distilled or non-chlorinated water into your stainless steel or glass pot, add the sugar, stir and bring to a boil for three minutes. Add the tea and boil for a further two or three minutes (this helps eliminate any mold spores sometimes found on teabags). Turn off the heat source and allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes.

   

Remove bags or tea. Let the tea cool so it’s just warm to the touch (35º to 45º C). Pour steeped tea into your vessel. Now add the culture and mother tea (starter tea provided with culture) to the brewed tea.

   

NOTE: Never put your kombucha culture into tea that is hot, as it may damage the culture.

Use the cotton cloth to cover the top of your vessel, making a crisscross with masking tape across the opening of your vessel to prevent the cloth from falling into your brew. If you are using our continuous fermentation keg, secure the cloth with the plastic ring supplied.



Place the covered vessel in a quiet area with adequate air ventilation and a climate temperature of approximately 23º to 28º C (73º to 82º F). Once you find a spot for your culture to ferment, do not move it! You don’t want to disturb the fermentation process.



The process should take approximately 20 to 25 days or (30 days) depending on your taste and preference for tartness. (My personal preference is to let it ferment much longer: 25 to 30 days.) During the fermentation process you may smell a mild vinegar aroma.

Harvesting Your Tea and Culture

You're now ready to harvest your new "baby" mushroom and refrigerate your fermented beverage.

Remove the cotton cloth from the vessel. You will notice that you now have two cultures: the original “mother” and the newly formed “baby” on top. These can be separated, and the newly formed baby can be stored in a glass jar with approximately 12 to 24 ounces of brewed tea. Keep this in the refrigerator as a backup.



Pour your newly fermented kombucha tea from your vessel into a glass container, and place your freshly brewed tea in the refrigerator. This is a necessary step to stop the fermentation process and the buildup of pressure in your container.



Make sure to leave enough starter tea for your next batch. You’ll need approximately 2 to 3 cups. If none is available, use 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar for every 10 cups of water.
The mother culture will continue to sprout babies while in the keg; you only have to remove the accumulation of cultures when it is taking up too much space in the keg. If this should occur, simply take out the culture mass and separate a piece, which will then go back into the keg. It is not important to your brewing if the culture is upside down; it will always grow a new one on the surface again.

Using Your Kombucha Culture Tea

Some scientists recommend drinking 60 to 120ml (2 to 4 ounces) of brewed tea three times a day. The amount used varies for each person, so it’s an individual decision. It’s always best to sip your tea before meals.

Additional Information:

Sometimes the kombucha does not birth a “baby.” The cause is quite likely to be that the temperature was too cold. If you cannot keep the temperature consistent, you may need to add a few days to your brewing time to produce a “baby,” or use a Kombucha Heating Panel designed for the temperature needed.

Attempting to brew your tea near or on a microwave, washing machine, television, or dishwasher may stop the culture from doubling.

If the culture sinks to the bottom of the bowl, it may have been caused by the heat of the tea. If it doesn’t rise, it will still produce. To produce a thick culture use either jasmine, dandelion, or chai tea.

If for some reason your kombucha has mold—generally seen as a small bluish-green growth—remove the kombucha culture from the tea and discard the tea.

Gently rinse the growth off, using kombucha tea, apple cider vinegar, distilled or purified water. Start a new batch using a previous brew.

If you do not have tea from a previous batch, prepare with new tea adding two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar for every 10 cups of tea. If the entire kombucha turns brown, it may have been damaged or contaminated, and you should not continue to use it for brewing.

Two great books to read about this subject are Kombucha, the Miracle Fungus and Kombucha Teaology, both by Harald Tietze. The author expands on consuming the fungus and experimenting with various sweeteners, as well as herbal teas and their common medicinal uses. These books are available from www.SproutMaster.com.

I hope you enjoy your uplifting kombucha tea experience!

References: www.SproutMaster.com

If you have questions or comments, please share them below!



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