On Jan 6, 2014, SCH hosted a Kombucha brewing tutorial, presented by Jacob Rusby. Below you will find an overview of the presentation, including the recipe and tips on brewing your own kombucha.
The material below is from http://www.kombuchakamp.com/health-benefits-of-kombucha
What Are The Health Benefits of Kombucha Tea?
Disclaimer: Information is for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. It is not medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the advice or attention of heath-care professionals.
Kombucha has been consumed for over 2000 years the world over. It has been extensively studied and applied for several medical uses in Russia, Germany, China and many other places. It is naturally carbonated and is purported to have a host of healing properties that may include:
*Probiotics – healthy bacteria
*Alkalize the body – balances internal pH
*Detoxify the liver – happy liver = happy mood
*Increase metabolism – rev your internal engine
*Improve digestion – keep your system moving
*Rebuild connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism
*Boost energy – helps with chronic fatigue
*Reduce blood pressure
*Relieve headaches & migraines
*Reduce kidney stones
*High in antioxidants – destroy free-radicals that cause cancer
*High in polyphenols
*Heal eczema – can be applied topically to soften the skin
*Speed healing of ulcers – killsh.pylori on contact
*Help clear up Candida & yeast infections
*Aid healthy cell regeneration
*Reduce gray hair
*Lower glucose levels – prevents spiking from eating
Simply put, Kombucha is an all natural health beverage chockfull of probiotics and other healthy amino acids. Probiotics literally means “for life”. Unlike antibiotics, which kill ALL of the bacteria in your body, even the good stuff, probiotics re-establish the natural ecology of the intestinal flora. Probiotics are said to boost immunity, enhance mood, fight allergies, detoxify the body and rid the body of disease. The Kombucha benefits you experience may vary.
However, Kombucha is NOT a panacea – it doesn’t cure ANYTHING! It brings the body back into balance so that it may heal itself naturally. That is how it is able to do so much – because it works with your body’s natural immune system.
What’s the deal with Bacteria?
Aren’t they bad for us?
The fact of the matter is that while in the 19th century we were in dire need of sanitary practices, the negative attitude towards ALL bacteria has spiraled out of control. Bacteria outnumber our human cells 9 to 1! With all the hand sanitizers and constant antibiotic prescriptions, we have created a worse problem than we have realized. The bacterial cells tell our human cells what to do, how to behave, how to replicate. We NEED bacteria.
When you have an over population of “bad” bacteria – sugar loving bacteria – they send signals to your brain that you need to consume MORE sugar so they can reproduce. You may think you have a sweet tooth, but more likely you have an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria and unhealthy yeast like Candida. By incorporating “good” bacteria into your body – those found in ALL fermented foods – foods that humans have been consuming since they figured out how to use it for preservation (no fridge), you start to displace that “bad” bacteria. Your body’s pH returns to a more alkaline state. Your gut moves those sugar bugs out and your cravings decrease – in fact, you may find that our over-sugared food supply doesn’t taste good at all. Your body will regain its natural instincts and ability to “tell” you which foods are most nourishing.
This notion of “good” bacteria also extends to pasteurization (named for Louis Pasteur – who recanted his position on his deathbed). When we pasteurize food, we kill all of the bacteria present – good and bad. When it comes to a product like raw milk, it means that the bacteria that help your body naturally digest the milk as well as the most nutritious enzymes are killed off. You are left with a dead product that provides no nutrition and causes phlegm and congestion (vehemently denied by the Dairy Board, of course!)
We NEED bacteria to help us deal with our natural environment. We NEED bacteria to help our bodies absorb nutrients and enzymes essential to our health. Most of the time, they want to pasteurize the milk because the conditions in which most dairy cattle are kept are downright disgusting. Drinking Kombucha, making Kombucha at home – or kefir, or sauerkraut, or sour dough bread, or …the list goes on and on, all contribute to recolonizing the body with the good stuff. So it can return to balance and allow your immune system to function as it should. It empowers you in a simple and inexpensive way to take control of your health!
Of course, I have to remind you that you should consult with your physician before starting any new dietary changes, especially if you are currently taking medications. Though I will also tell you that Kombucha has been consumed for thousands of years and not a single death has been attributed to drinking it. Can prescription drugs claim that? (No, they cannot.)
Drinking Kombucha promotes better health by detoxifying and improving the efficiency of your digestive system which boosts immunity. All fermented foods are good for you in this regard – let your palate help you decide which ones are a good fit for you!
It is recommended to begin drinking 4-8oz on an empty stomach 2x a day followed by plenty of water to flush the toxins. Over time, you can increase your intake as your body craves it.
What is a SCOBY? – It is also referred to as a culture, mother, and baby
Though yeast are technically fungi, Kombucha is not mycelia (what we traditionally think of as mushrooms). It is a near-lichen.
The sugar isn’t for you. Sugar is the easiest food for the culture to ferment. You can use molasses, honey (not raw!), agave, etc. You CANNOT use Raw Honey (it has its own host of bacteria that could adversely affect your culture), Stevia or Xylitol (these are plant based sugars that do not ferment.)
Herbal Tea is not recommended for the long term health of the culture. The Kombucha culture requires certain nutrients (nitrogen, tannins, polyphenols, etc) that are provided byCamellia sinensis, the tea plant, in order to thrive. Herbal teas contain much lower levels of these nutrients, sometimes none at all.
Additionally, many herbal teas are made with essential oils which should never come in contact with your culture.
The first batch or two made with herbal tea will likely brew as normal, but over time the culture will mutate and/or degrade. If you must brew with herbal teas, make sure they are organic and oil free. Then, either blend in 25% black or green tea OR brew every 4th batch with regular tea to reinvigorate the culture.
The recent voluntary recall has sparked concern over Kombucha’s alcohol levels. When you brew at home, primary fermentation (pre-flavors) alcohol content will likely be less than .5%. Should you decide to add flavors, that level could elevate due to the naturally occurring sugars reactivating the yeast. To test your ABV – alcohol by volume – you can purchase a hydrometer at your local brewing supply store.
Kombucha Brewing Tips
The Golden Rules
- …use a refrigerator stored SCOBY to make Kombucha.
- …use a dehydrated SCOBY to make Kombucha.
- …attempt to grow a SCOBY from a commercial bottle of Kombucha that:
- has been pasteurized
- has been flavored
- has been filtered or reformulated
- says anything less than “100% Kombucha” on the label
- …use a fresh, full-size Kombucha SCOBY to begin brewing.
- …store your SCOBYs in a SCOBY Hotel in a dry and dark place.
- …pass along healthy, fresh SCOBYs with at least 1-2 cups of mature Kombucha Tea and complete, clear instructions to ensure success. If you cannot, recommend a reputable source instead.
- Never store Kombucha SCOBYs in the Refrigerator!
- Sanitize with hot water or vinegar – NO SOAP. It kills the kombucha culture.
- Airflow is key – find an open area for your Kombucha Tea.
- If you see mold, throw everything away. Kombucha SCOBYs are not salvageable when mold strikes.
- Keep a SCOBY Hotel for backups and extras.
- Kombucha is a LIVING organism. Many believe the energy in the room will directly influence your culture.
Kombucha Tea Recipe – 1-Gallon
Scale up or down using the same ratios depending on the size of your vessel
- 1 cup sugar
- 4-6 bags tea – for loose leaf, 1 bag of tea = 1 tsp
- Kombucha Starter Culture – SCOBY
- 1 cup starter liquid
- purified/bottled water
- tea kettle
- brewing vessel
- cloth cover
- rubber band
- Boil 4 cups of water.
- Add hot water & tea bags to pot or brewing vessel.
- Steep 5-7 minutes, then remove tea bags.
- Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
- Fill vessel most of the way with purified water, leaving just 1-2 inches from the top for breathing room with purified cold water.
- Add SCOBY and starter liquid.
- Cover with cloth cover and secure with the rubber band.
- Say a prayer, send good vibes, commune with your culture (optional but recommended).
- Set in a warm location out of direct sunlight (unless vessel is opaque).
- Do not disturb for 7 days.
- After 7 days, or when you are ready to taste your KT, gently insert a straw beneath the SCOBY and take a sip. If too tart, then reduce your brewing cycle next time. If too sweet, allow to brew for a few more days. Continue to taste every day or so until you reach your optimum flavor preference. Your own Kombucha Tea Recipe may vary.
- Decant & flavor (optional).
- Drink as desired! Start off with 4-8oz on an empty stomach in the morning, then with meals to help with digestion or as your body tells you it would like some more! Drink plenty of water as it is a natural detoxifier and you want to flush the newly released toxins out.