I love Kombucha. This fizzy fermented sweet tea is the perfect probiotic gut health boosting drink to enjoy day or night. What I really love is how the tingly bubbly drink helps ease my indigestion and stomach issues, which I have quite often, thanks to my celiac disease and the resulting gut issues I have because of it.
In short, I love Kombucha.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a beverage made with a few simple ingredients: clean water, tea, sugar, and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) along with a warm kitchen, air and time. The SCOBY is a neat little hub of probiotic activity. It is a living breathing combination of many different organisms. These organisms help ferment the sweet tea you make, eat up all that sugar turning it to into beneficial probiotics, enzymes, anti-oxidants and acids that help encourage healthy digestion, promote detoxification, and generally is beneficial to the whole body.
Why should I drink Kombucha?
The tradition of home fermentation goes as far back into human history as we know as a way to preserve foods and make them more digestible. Fermented tea is said to go back at least 2000 years beginning in China and traveling to places like Russia, Korea, and Asia. The word Kombucha is said to have been named after a Korean physician Kombu who is said to have healed the Japanese emperor with his fermented tea (cha means tea). In fact, kombucha is said to help the body balance its self and resolve many health issues. Although not much research has been done on the scientific basis of the health benefits of kombucha, the most common benefits (not approved by the FDA – this is not intended as medical advice etc.) reported are:
- Because it tastes good. Ok so the flavor may take a little time to get used to. It is nice, fizzy and sweet kind of like a natural soda only without the toxins and liver damage. In fact…
- Kombucha improves digestion – this is a no brainer. Because of the wonderful probiotics, healthy bacteria, yeasts, acids and more kombucha supports healthy digestion. By supporting the healthy bacteria in your gut it also plays a role in starving out the bad yeasts and bacteria that can grow in the gut over time causing things like candida. I personally have found it to help ease indigestion, flatulence, and gut pain associated with eating foods that don’t agree with me like beans, potatoes, and the occasional accidental gluten exposure. Let me also mention that kombucha is great at keeping the daily eliminations… erm… regular, which is always a good thing.
- Kombucha increases energy – remember kombucha is made with tea and sugar, although fermenting it will reduce the sugar content (how much depends on how long you let your brew ferment) the caffeine content in the tea is still there so lets not discount the benefits of good ole’ caffeine. Tea also contains a chemical called L-theanine which has been extensively studied to reduce mental and physical stress, increase cognition and improve mood. The 1-2 punch of the caffeine and the L-theanine, combined with the lack of stomach issues gives me a very happy feeling indeed.
- Kombucha supports a healthy immune system. This may sound like a leap but stick with me here. Have you ever heard the saying “All healing begins in the gut.” Supporting gut health and good gut microflora also supports a healthy immune system.
- Kombucha supports liver health and natural detoxification. This super fermented tea contains something called gluconic acid which is a chemical that is used commonly to chelate metals like aluminum from the body. It breaks down into something called caprylic acid which is selectively anti-microbial attacking bacteria like “Staphylococcus aureus and various species of Streptococcus.” It is also a potent anti-fungal and works against candida overgrowth.
- This next one is just something a lot of people comment on – many people find that when they drink kombucha regularly their skin looks younger. Some have even said it helps relieve them of eczema. Now this may sound fantastical but think about it. Skin eruptions are something that commonly happens when the body needs to remove a toxin, this toxin could be anything from nasty chemicals in your body wash to a food your body thinks is attacking it (in my daughters case, gluten). I find a majority of the people I work with that have chronic skin issues have a problem with the elimination pathways of their bodies, their liver, bowels, and kidneys aren’t doing their detoxification jobs well and their friend the skin takes the brunt of the work. This is when you see chronic acne and eczema. Reducing toxic load and supporting healthy elimination pathways can in fact improve skin health and appearance. Pretty neat right?
- You can find other health benefits of kombucha here.
“Ok, I get the idea, kombucha is awesome, it must cost a lot right?”
While purchasing kombucha at whole foods or sprouts is about $4 for a 16 oz bottle, it doesn’t have to be so financially daunting to bring these health benefits into your own home. Kombucha is like fermenting 101. It is so incredibly easy. Can you boil water? Can you handle slimy things? Perfect – you can make kombucha. The folks over at GetKombucha sent me a continuous brew kombucha system to show you exactly how to make your own fermented tea goodness.
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Thank you to Get Kombucha for sponsoring this post. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of the Green Moms Network, and the content and opinions expressed here are 100% my own.
Easy Kombucha Recipe
This is the most basic of basic Kombucha recipes. It is a tried and true beginner friendly place to start. Ill share this with you first, then show you how much fun it is to begin with a kit instead. This recipe makes 1 gallon of kombucha.
- Kombucha SCOBY (AKA “mushroom” -but its not a fungus)
- Water – about a gallon. I prefer filtered water without all the nasty chlorine and other additives of tap water. If you don’t have a filter, try this easy method for removing chlorine.
- 4-6 organic fair trade tea bags – yes you can use regular tea bags but you know how I am
- 1 cup sugar (organic fair trade – it IS me)
- A gallon sized jar – I used this one before Get Kombucha sent me their continuous brew set.
- A large rubber band – like what you get when you buy a bunch of asparagus
- A clean breathable cover – I use a clean kitchen cloth
- Boil 6 cups of water and steep your tea bags in it for 5-10 minutes making a dark tea.
- Compost your tea bags and pour your tea into your glass or ceramic (not metal or plastic) brewing container of choice like this gallon sized mason jar or the continuous brewer I got from GetKombucha.
- Fill your container up the rest of the way with water until it is about 3/4 full.
- Add sugar and stir until it is dissolved.
- Once your sweet tea mixture is about 80 degrees – NO HOTTER because it can kill the SCOBY – add your SCOBY. If you touch your SCOBY with your hands be sure they were very recently washed. GetKombucha includes gloves in their kits for SCOBY handling but I find clean hands work just fine.
- Cover your brewing jar wit breathable fabric and secure it with a rubber band – this keeps the bugs out but allows your SCOBY to breathe and ferment properly.
- Wait for it to ferment for 4-15 days tasting it occasionally until it tastes good to you
- Bottle and enjoy! Bottling is easiest done using a funnel and strong arms. Holding up a gallon of tea and not making a mess is difficult at best but worth the effort. This is not a problem with the continuous brew system. The spigot makes this step much more simple. At this point you can also do a second ferment but we will talk about that in the next post.
- Now that you have bottled it you have a mother and a baby SCOOBY which can be separated and used to brew TWO new batches, or you can give one to a friend, or you can compost it, or you can just let them keep breeding a super SCOOBY of DOOM. Its up to you.
The Continuous Brewing System Difference
First off, I have to say how glad I was that the system came in a nice, eco-friendly well designed box with minimal packaging, plastic, and NO packing peanuts (I hate those things). It got here very quickly and the box is now happily outside in my compost pile. Waste not and all that.
The Kombucha Continuous Brewing System – Silver Package is what I received to review. It includes (this info straight from their website the italics are my own opinion):
- Certified Lead Free Porcelain Brewer. FDA approved ~ 2.5 gallons ~ 1 foot in diameter. This brewer is subtle, it comes with both a black and white spigot and cover so it can match your own kitchen decor. I placed the sticker on it my self but you can easily leave it off.
- Hand Crafted Wood Stand. Raises your brewer an additional foot making the total height 2 feet and enables bottling your kombucha a breeze on any counter top! From a mom point of view, this means no lost counter space! I store my bananas under the brewer which is a huge bonus in our tiny kitchen.
- ONE Fully Grown Organic Kombucha Mushroom Culture – 6 inches in diameter! Individually packaged in its own organic kombucha starter tea – I just poured the whole SCOOBY right into the jar – no muss, no fuss.
- Dispenser Spigots, Covers, Fastener Bands, PH Strips, Muslin Tea Filters, Brewing Gloves, and More! We give you everything you need to make brewing a breeze. We even include double the spigots and covers in both black and white so you can customize your brewer and always have a backup… we got you covered! Really they did provide everything you need plus some. I love the muslin tea bags that are re-usable and much less messy than a loose leaf brew. Again, black and white covers so it can match your decor.
- Kombucha Whole Leaf Tea Blend. 60 servings so that you can enjoy Gallons of free kombucha tea at home. This is our proprietary kombucha tea blend specifically designed for continuous kombucha tea making. It tasted fine as a regular blend and I am excited to try the final product. It isn’t labeled organic or fair trade, so I would love to see that.
- Lifetime Membership to GetKombucha Community Support Forums and Trainings ($195 Value) If you are a beginner this is SO helpful!
- Kombucha Continuous Brew Set Up Instant Online Video Access. Over 51 Videos and Growing! ($35 Value) This is something I needed switching from brewing in a gallon jar to the continuous brew.
Come back for part 2 to learn all about how the kombucha turned out and how to flavor them to add all sorts of great health benefits to boot!
Would you like to win your very own Kombucha Continuous Brewing System – Silver Package?
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