Kombucha is brewing in the Local Tea Company Carriage House at Selby Gardens. I want to share with you my recent experiences with a fascinating TEA called Kombucha. While we do not sell this tea, or really any of the accessories other than our loose leaf tea, Kombucha is part of my tea journey.
I have been buying and drinking a store-bought Kombucha for some time. It is quite expensive to drink in the quantities I would like to enjoy, so I wanted to make my own. I have lots of fabulous tea available, so what’s to stop me from making my own, right?
Not quite so straightforward.
Let’s look at some background about the tea and what you need to start up your own little Kombucha factory!
I read some interesting information during my research. Like Camellia, there are different stories about when it was first discovered, but all agree Kombucha has been used as an elixir in eastern lands for centuries. One record goes back to 447AD when a Korean physician named KOMBU successfully treated a Japanese nobleman with the elixir.
From here, the elixir became popular in Manchuria (you may see it referred to as Manchurian tea) and then Russia.
The name is derived from Kombu, the physician, and Cha, the eastern name for tea!
Kombucha is a FERMENTED tea made using a colony of bacteria and yeast, commonly called a ‘mushroom.’ A correct term is SCOBY, a ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.’
During fermentation, sugar is broken down by yeast and converted into CO2, various acids, and compounds that give the beverage a very unusual and characteristic flavor.
One of my main reasons for wanting to drink more Kombucha is, of course, for the health benefits. I have always felt it brought balance to my digestive system, but it seems there are many more great benefits. On a site ‘Benefits of Kombucha,’ there were 56 listed! It seems the main ones relate to digestion, acid reflux, and weight loss, more energy in the morning, better sleep, post-workout recovery, reduction in the severity of hangovers, helping skin and skin tone.
Whether you believe all of this or not doesn’t mean Kombucha is not good for you, and besides, it is so much fun!
How to get started?
Firstly you will need a ‘SCOBY’ or mother culture. A Kombucha maker gave me one, and I am also trying to start another from a bottle of the store Kombucha (more on that in a future blog!)
Sterile conditions are a must, both hands, and utensils.
- A 1-gallon glass container
- 6 teaspoons of LCT loose tea. We have a batch of Pu-erh fermenting and also a Chunmee taipan.
- 4 liters filtered water
- 320g refined sugar
- 400ml of finished Kombucha. I had this given with my culture, but you could try using some bottled Kombucha as I am trying.
Boil water and dissolve sugar. Brew tea for 15 mins and cool to room temp before adding the culture. If tea is too hot, the culture will die.
Cover with a paper towel, fine mesh cloth, fasten with an elastic band to prevent flies, etc.
Keep out of direct sunlight but warm. 74-80 degrees is best. Do not move around.
When ready, the liquid is drained into clean bottles with airtight tops and mature for 5 days. This creates more effervescence in the beverage. Keep in a cool place.
Don’t forget to save some finished Kombucha for your next batch or to store your culture. The culture will have grown a baby and can be split at this stage to start another batch.
So there you have it. Please understand at this stage; I am a complete novice! I will keep you posted on progress as I aim to become really good at this, and hopefully, we can all learn together.
Watch this space for more Kombucha news, and do keep us posted if you are learning with us or are already an expert.