Something new is brewing in the Local Tea Company Carriage House at Selby Gardens.  I want to share with you my recent experiences about 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 try and make my own. I have lots of fabulous tea available so what’s to stop me 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 and like Camellia there is 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 very 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 which is made using a colony of bacteria and yeast, commonly called a ‘mushroom’. A more correct term is SCOBY which is a ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast’.

During the process of fermentation sugar is broken down by yeast and converted into CO2, various acids and compounds which 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 especially, 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 work out recovery, reduction in 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. I was given one by a Kombucha maker 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.

  1. A 1 gallon glass container
  2. 6 teaspoons of a LCT loose tea. We have a batch of Pu-erh fermenting and also a Chunmee taipan.
  3. 4 liters filtered water
  4. 320g refined sugar
  5. 400ml of finished Kombucha. I had this given with my culture but you could try using some of bottled Kombucha as I am trying.

Boil water and dissolve sugar. Brew tea for 15 mins and cool to room temp before adding culture. If tea is too hot the culture will die.

Cover with paper towel, fine mesh cloth and fasten with 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 air tight tops and allowed to 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 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.

There are many informative sites on the web. I thought and were good but you may find others you like.

Watch this space for more Kombucha news, and do keep us posted if you are learning with us or are already an expert.

the Tealady