Kombucha is originated from northeast China in 220 BC. Its name is reportedly derived from Dr. Kombu, a Korean physician who brought the fermented tea to Japan as a curative for Emperor Inkyo. Then it was brought to Europe, Russia and Germany. It is a popular drink now. Take one or two servings a day be ideal for the best health benefits.
Kombucha grows in tea, sugar and needs to breathe. It also has some caffeine, sugar and yeast. People with candida may not be suitable to drink too much. Yogurt is often being compared to Kombucha as they are both processed by fermenting.
There are extraordinary health benefits for Kombucha such as probiotics, antioxidants, immune stimulant and detoxification. Probiotics found in fermented foods may also provide modest heart-related benefits, according to a review article published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2018. I remembered one of my clients went through chemotherapy and did not lose her hair. She told me that she was drinking kombucha and wondered if that was the reason.
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319630 (gut health, mental health, cancer risk, weight loss, heart disease, infection risk, type 2 diabetes)
Alcohol and Mold – Yeast Fermentation with sugar will always have alcohol. Soya sauce, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, keifer, tempeh, miso are also fermented. Kombucha is not considered an alcohol beverage but a power drink. There are Meters for home testing for alcohol sold on Amazon if you worry. I would not worry about it though. There is also concern of contamination and molding! I have been making my Kombucha drinks for a year and create some practical and essential steps for information only.
What containers to use:
I will also only use glass containers (not ceramics). While stainless steel and plastics can work but are not recommended for fermenting process. Ceramics are made from earth and there is always a concern of lead poisoning if any lead will leach out for prolonged use. You will see ceramics saying lead-safe and never lead-free! Therefore glass is the best for safety and health.
Choose thicker glass container as fermentation will build pressure. It is safer if the container is thicker glass. Mason jars and juice bottles are great for reuse after being washed and sterilized. Spagagetti sauce jars work.
Why it is necessary to Sterilize all glass containers?
I did have one batch formed mold when I first started. Afterwards, I always sterilize by boiling all the bottles and containers, I never have any mold since. I also wash my hands before touching the containers more carefully. (If there is mold, you should be able to notice clearly after 2 weeks. You must throw everything out to the garbage. If you are not sure, you can find images of Kombucha on the internet. Clear air bubbles may appear on the top of the jar which are not mold. You may see thread-like residues in the liquid the which is not mold. )
Must Sterilize Glass Containers for Safety
Use a stainless steel pot, add cold water, put clean glass bottles upside down. Add water enough to cover. Bring water to the boil, and boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Turn off the stove and allow the water to cool down. You can add the lids of the bottles in after turning off the heat. I sterilize all the utensils too.
Do not use ceramic containers. Use glass.
**Remember to read the Tips at the bottle of the Page
FERMENTATION STAGE 1
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Its best to find someone who has fresh Kombucha Scoby and starter tea for you. Starter tea is the liquid that the Scoby has been living in which has bacteria. I did buy a frozen Scoby from the health food store but it did not work very well as there was no starter tea.
15g loose black tea or 3 – 4 black tea bags (You can use 2 green tea bag mix with 2 black tea bags but black tea is the best. Tea is food to Kombucha.)
3/4 cup sugar (white sugar seems to work better. I have not used honey or brown sugar. The Kombucha feeds on the sugar. So if you have a bit more sugar will not hurt the Kombucha. 1/3 cup may also work if you use less water.)
1 L of filtered water or spring water (You will have extra.)
Boil water and remove from heat. Add tea and sugar to dissolve. Let it cool down. (If container is smaller, adjust the amount. )
- Wash hands well to avoid contamination
- Add Starter Tea into the sterilized glass container. If you have 1/2 a cup of starter tea for each glass container be good. Less tea will also work but use jar smaller than 1 litre. Stir to mix. Allow enough space for the Scorby to grow.
- Put Kombucha Scoby (the smooth side facing up) into the container with starter tea. The starter Scoby will probably sink down which is fine. It will not float on the top at this stage. You will usually see a new thin Scoby will grow on top of the surface after 1 week to 10 days and it will grow thicker with more time say 3 weeks.
- Wipe down mouth and sides of jar with a clean cloth.
- Cover the jar with a clean cotton cloth not lid as Kombucha has to breathe. Tie with a rubber band (No lid please). Some people said that paper towel does not always work as some “stuff” may fall down from the towel and mess up the brew. (Note: Scoby can breathe through the cloth. You can also cut a piece from a clean T-shirt and use it as the cloth.)
- Leave container in warm area to ferment and do not disturb. Kitchen counter top works well.
How long do you brew before it is ready?
Some people want lighter taste Kombucha and some people like stronger taste. The range can be from 7 days to 3 weeks. If the storing place is very warm, it will brew faster. You will see the Kombuca Scoby grows very thick quickly. In general, I would like to brew at least for 2 weeks and sometimes 3 weeks. The taste of 7 days is a bit light for me. If its my first time brewing, I will go for at least 2 and 3 weeks are not too long for the first time so your brewing tea be stronger.
Watch for mold
Like a mother, all the bottles feeding my young child under 1 year old will be sterilized. So since sterilizing the bottles for Kombucha, I never have any problems. All the water used in Fermentation 1 will always be boiled too, cool them before I use them.
The new Scoby growing on the top of the tea. If the tea is dark, the Scoby will look darker. In 7 days, you may see a thin Scoby on the surface. It will be in beige and ivory color. If the tea is dark, it will look light brown.
NOTE: Mold looks moldy, can be green and black color appearing on the surface. If there is mold, after 2 weeks, the colour will be quite obvious. Therefore, if you brew for 2 weeks and up, you can always identify if there is any mold. If you are new in brewing, you can ferment for 3 weeks up and you can tell if there is mold so easy by the look and color. If there is, throw everything out. Search photos of mold in the internet if you have concerns.
BOTTLE THE KOMBUCHA
- Flavour and Prepare for the Second Fermentation for 3 days
- Prepare the next brewing.
DRINK AS IT IS
1. Instead of doing the Stage 2 Fermentation. You can split the brewed Kombucha tea into a few portions and like cups. Keep one cup for repeating your Fermentation 1. The other cups, you can cover them, leave them in room temperature and drink one a day. As it is not flavoured, you may choose to just add spring water, tea or juice at the time of drinking. The Kombucha will continue to ferment at room temperature. It will grow another Scorby at top if you leave them out for many days too.
Is it Good to do FERMENTATION STAGE 2 ?
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Second fermentation process is for flavouring to create carbonated drinks. , I find the easiest way is to add good quality juice. You will need to buy a package of juice. I choose 80 – 100% juice. You can also crush your own e.g lemon.
I also drink it immediately too – You can fridge all the tea from the first fermentation. Drink some by diluting it with water, juice or tea. This is very good if you do not want the juice flavour.
Kombucha gets carbonated during secondary fermentation. Secondary fermentation is when you flavor the kombucha, bottle it, and then leave it out to ferment for longer. The gas is contained in the bottle and builds pressure, so when you open the bottle it will make that beautiful hiss sound. I will not shake the bottle as it may cause spilling due to pressure.
In time, I will see a healthy strong Scoby on top of the container in 7 days. It will grow thicker in 2 weeks time.
How to do Fermentation 2 ?
Wash your hands and take the Scoby out and place it in another bowl. Save 1 cup of Starter Tea. Keep on the side.
- Split the Kombucha tea from the first fermentation and fill up ¼ or 1/3 of each sterilized bottle evenly. You may want to strain the tea too to have clearer liquid.
- Flavouring is fun and you can choose to use more juice, more tea or spring water.
- Choice 1 more juice : Fill up the bottle with ¼ to 1/3 bottle fruit juice evenly in each bottle or you can add different flavour of tea too. Make your own choice and you can read the label of other Kombucha drinks to get ideas. If you choose the flavour of juice, you can look for 80 – 100% juice with no added sugar. If you choose to make more tea, you may need to add a pinch of sugar so the 2nd fermentation can process with ease. Juice naturally has sugar so you do not need to add sugar.
- Choice 2 more tea : Fill up the bottle with ¼ to 1/3 bottle with your choice of flavoured tea. If you are not adding juice, you can add some maple leaf syrup for sweetness. Maple leaf syrup has benefit minerals.
- Add Spring water or your choice of tea (room temperature) to fill up to the top but leave a bit of air. Stir to mix. Put the lid on and turn it tightly. (I also bought some Kombucha tea from the store to see what ingredients are inside and make my choices.)
- Continue to ferment for 3 days in warm area. Kitchen counter top works well. The bacteria will eat some of the fruit juices to continue fermenting. There is no need to add sugar. Juice has enough sugar to feed the second fermentation.
- After 3 days, the drink is ready. You can test drinking it at room temperature. When you open it, there may be carbonated bubbles created during fermentation. To stop the fermentation, you will put the Kombucha into the refrigerator. After the Kombucha sits in the fridge, you will also notice some residues at the bottom of the drink as it may still be fermenting at a low speed. Other drinks on the market have residues too if they use more real juices instead of more water. Tighten up the lid. As a precaution, remember to leave some air on the top of the bottle.
Fizzy drinks or bubbling Kombucha
If you want very frizzy drinks but this require more efforts to do and experiments. The temperature of the 1st fermentation and 2nd fermentation needs to be warmer so it will create more carbonation. On the internet, there are people suggesting even heating up the area to raise temperature which I have never tried. Some people will place the containers on a heated sheet. THICKER GLASS Bottles with metal lids or resealable covers like some beer bottles work good so gas can be sealed in. It is common to have some bubbles naturally. Conclusion, more fermentation 1 tea, warmer room temperature, more days and tight lid will help to give more buttles.
Please be careful to when you open up as I heard there is chance of bursting if too much pressure continues to build up. That’s why drinks are put in the fridge with lower temperature to stop the pressure to build up as there will be much less fermentation.
- Prepare for the Next batch – follow Fermentation Stage 1. I will keep the new Scoby usually the one lighter in colour. Add new tea with sugar like before again.
- I will discard the old Scoby, give it out to somebody else or brew another jar. Some people will keep all extra Scobies into another bigger container called hotel with lots of Starter Tea. The purpose is to store them for future use or give away.
1. Starter Kombucha Scoby will sink into the jar. New Kombucha Scoby will grow and seal the top of the jar to protect the bacteria to grow. So if the jar is bigger, then the Scoby will grow bigger in size.
The liquid inside (called tea) to make drinks. You may not want a big jar if you are new in fermenting.
The colour of the Kombucha Scoby will change depending on what kind of black tea or green tea you are using.
3. All the drinks will continue to create a scoby inside.
Every bottle of Kombucha ferments has tiny thin Scoby inside the drinks. It may not be very noticeable or very noticeable. The drink is safe.
If you are new in making Kombucha, it is always good to make a small amount first. When I first started, I tested the drink to see how I feel about the drink by drinking a small portion and wait for one hour. I will then drink more after one hour. I will keep testing for 2 hours to see how I feel. Does the body feel good with the drink?
Kombucha brews best between 68-78°F. Brewing it on the warmer end of this range will speed up the culturing. It is possible to brew kombucha even up to 85°F. A warmer brewing temperature will result in a stronger tasting kombucha.
You will notice that it grows slower in winter as your home is colder too.
For myself as I am very energy sensitive, I really enjoy my Kombucha. My family drinks for all the powerful probiotics. You can email me your questions too.
Master of Qi Gong
Waiver of Liability: All information is for Master Teresa’s personal use and it is not intended for medical advice or use. Please research and as professional advice on all matters on your health especially for pregnant women.