Kombucha is a healthy drink made from Japanese tea fungus – kombucha. Kombucha was used in Eastern Europe, Russia and Japan centuries. The name itself kombucha originated in Japan in 415th year.
In ancient times kombucha was the privilege only of the kind’s castles and was treated as untouchable secret in Japan. Over thousand years ago, the Japanese emperor invited the Chinese emperor on a visit to his castle. When the tour ended the cordial host to the respected guest wanted to give a very valuable present for long memory.
But, the Chinese emperor wanted to share this miraculous fungus with the poor people, and this cure traveled all over on the Asian continent, and then to the rest of the world.
Russia has a long tradition in the use of this healthy beverage, among them called “tea kvass” made by the Japanese fungus.
From Russia, the drink spread to Prussia, Poland, Germany and Denmark but it seems to have disappeared during the Second World War. After the war Dr.RudolphSkelnar renewed the interest for the kombucha in Germany, when he started to use in his practice in the treatment of cancer, metabolic disorders, high blood pressure and diabetes.
During the process of fermentation and oxidation, the fungus in tea works with a variety of complex reactions. It feeds on the sugar in the tea and in return produces other valuable substances that are part of the kombucha liquid: glycolic and lactic acid, vitamins, amino acids, antibiotic ingredients … This is why this mushroomtea is a real small biochemical factory.
The kombucha contains several times more vitamin C than lemons. Of the vitamins B group contains: B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12. It contains different types of enzymes. It is particularly important to emphasize the presence of milk – L acid, which in one liter of liquid can reach up to 3 ml.
Under normal conditions glycolic acid it secrets the healthy liver in sufficient quantities, the problem occurs when our body is burdened with increased amounts of toxins from the external environment. Then our liver fails to produce sufficient amounts of this acid and thus create favorable conditions for the occurrence of cancer and other diseases.
Why use kombucha?
In the Far East for millennia is used as effective cure against fatigue, exhaustion, nervousness,anti-aging, anti-narrowing of blood vessels, constipation, rheumatism and diabetes.
In Russia the kombucha liquids consider for effective cure against all diseases and especially against constipation – “Russian secret home remedy”
In the first book written about kombucha is written about successful treatment of inflamed tonsils, diseases of internal organs, primarily of the inflammation of the stomach, small intestine and colon, against diarrhea, narrowing of blood vessels, high blood pressure, sclerosis, etc.
The kombucha is “cure for everything”
Every day we can meet with many positive experiences associated with the kombucha. Apart from its use as a refreshing drink, it is often used as a medicine. The kombucha is the subject of numerous scientific papers, confirming its healing properties. It has been proven that many of its components have antibiotic and detoxification features that play a special role in the biochemical processes.
The kombucha is an excellent regulator of intestinal activity. With its help you can successfully adjust and avoid the appearance of constipation and hemorrhoids, and to mend the intestinal flora. While the drink has little sour taste, it still does not cause any acidic condition in the stomach, but it facilitates digestion with the hard digestive food. Equal success is achieved in case of kidney stones, urinary canals or the bile.
The kombucha and its metabolic products have an extraordinary influence on the regeneration of cells because it is an excellent remedy for arteriosclerosis.
It is remarkable in its effect of purifying the blood and removing toxic deposits. Namely, it greatly stimulates the metabolism, thereby helping to purify the body and eliminate all types of toxins.
The kombucha helps in the case of permanent headache, joint pain, rheumatism and other problems with aging. Its positive action are proved in a few days, through improved general condition and increase of conditional abilities.
Lithuanians were attributing to the kombucha a great ability to treat all diseases.
Dr. Dan Pon from Japan, based on his experiences with the application of the kombucha- the liquid to many patients did pretty long list of diseases that can be treated this way. The list has been expanded by several famous doctors in the past:
- extends life span;
- prevents formation of wrinkles;
- serves as prevention against cancer, improves breathing;
- relieves arthrosis, positive effect in joint rheumatism;
- cleans blood vessels, beneficial effect of the regeneration of cell membranes and in cardiac infarction;
- enhances the taste of dishes;
- removes disorder in liver;
- reduces body weight;
- removes nausea while driving;
- helps with pox and shingles;
- brings relief in menopause;
- It strengthens the leg muscles;
- enhances potency;
- cure diseases of the hands and feet, back, gray barbell, insomnia;
- strengthens the kidneys;
- softens, cleanses and dissolves gallstones;
- stops diarrhea;
- cure hemorrhoids;
- positive impact on the growth and quality of hair;
- cleans the blood treated myoma on the skin;
- lowers cholesterol in the blood;
- enriches the useful micro flora in the intestines;
- strengthens weakened immunity;
- normalizes acid-base balance
Does the kombucha has any side effects?
The kombucha is rich in organic acids making it possible for allergic reactions to individuals sensitive to acids. It stimulates the ejection of poisons and toxins.
Can it be consumed by children?
From previous studies it showed that the kombucha drink has nothing harmful for the children. The content of alcohol in this drink is low and roughly near like the one in fruit juices normally consumed by children. The kombucha is not recommended for children under 1 year of age because it contains bacteria and enzymes that could be difficult for the children’s digestive system which is in a phase of forming.
How to make Kombucha Tea?
Kombucha tea should be madein a larger transparent glass jar, for example, of five liters. The measures that we have are for a liter, but it is better to make four liters, because it will last just until the next week. Per liter of water should be added hundred grams of sugar and a teaspoon of black or green tea, then boil it and leave it to cool down.
The “mushroom” (available in bio-stores) wash it in warm water and put it in the tea. Cover the jar with gauze and keep it in a bright place eight days in order for the “mushroom” “to be working”. Then decant the tea and drink, and wash the “mushroom” and repeat the process. If there is a long standing without decantation, it will transform into vinegar that can be used for pickling, and the “mushroom” will, most often, recover. In case of prolonged absences from home, the “mushroom” can also be dried between two sheets of filter paper, and later re-used.
Kombucha, even though in the name it stands the word “mushroom”, is not only that. Namely, it is a mixture of different organisms, including ringworm, yeast and some bacteria (bacterium xylinum, gluconicum bacterium, acetobacterketogenum), as well as pichiafermentantsa. It’s built in the form of a multi-layer membrane, grayish in color and it is not eatable.
Kombucha is called a thick, slimy, brown cover jelly mass that floats on the surface of sweetened liquid, which after fermentation is used as a tea drink, but also as a sour liquid that can be used as a condiment instead of vinegar. The whole process takes place in the glass jar.
It is extremely important the drink to be sweet, since it contains glycolic acid, which under normal metabolic conditions is produced by the liver. This acid goes directly into the blood and has a protective role in the human body. By increasing the percentage of acid in the blood leads to excessive acidification, which can greatly disrupt the balance of the organism, and in severe cases, cause death. Moderate consumption of the beverage produced by tea fungus provides protection against contamination of various kinds, and some can cause cancerous diseases.
Makes about 4 litters
- 3 1/2 quarts water
- 1 cup sugar (regular granulated sugar works best)
- 8 bags black tea, green tea, or a mix (or 2 tablespoons loose tea)
- 2 cups starter tea from last batch of kombucha or store-bought kombucha (unpasteurized, neutral-flavored)
- 1 scoby per fermentation jar, homemade or purchased online
- Optional flavoring extras for bottling: 1 to 2 cups chopped fruit, 2 to 3 cups fruit juice, 1 to 2 tablespoons flavored tea (like hibiscus or Earl Grey), 1/4 cup honey, 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh herbs or spices
- Stock pot
- 4 liter glass jar
- Tightly woven cloth (like clean napkins or tea towels), coffee filters, or paper towels, to cover the jar
- Bottles: Six 16-oz glass bottles with plastic lids, 6 swing-top bottles, or clean soda bottles
- Small funnel
Note: Avoid prolonged contact between the kombucha and metal both during and after brewing. This can affect the flavor of your kombucha and weaken the scoby over time.
Make the tea base: Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Drop in the tea and allow it to steep until the water has cooled. Depending on the size of your pot, this will take a few hours. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the pot in an ice bath.
Add the starter tea: Once the tea is cool, remove the tea bags or strain out the loose tea. Stir in the starter tea. (The starter tea makes the liquid acidic, which prevents unfriendly bacteria from taking up residence in the first few days of fermentation.)
Transfer to jars and add the scoby: Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon glass jar (or divide between two 2-quart jars, in which case you’ll need 2 scobys) and gently slide the scoby into the jar with clean hands. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers tightly-woven cloth, coffee filters, or paper towels secured with a rubber band. (If you develop problems with gnats or fruit flies, use a tightly woven cloth or paper towels, which will do a better job keeping the insects out of your brew.)
Ferment for 7 to 10 days: Keep the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and where it won’t get jostled. Ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking the kombucha and the scoby periodically.
It’s not unusual for the scoby to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways during fermentation. A new cream-colored layer of scoby should start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days. It usually attaches to the old scoby, but it’s ok if they separate. You may also see brown stringy bits floating beneath the scoby, sediment collecting at the bottom, and bubbles collecting around the scoby. This is all normal and signs of healthy fermentation.
After 7 days, begin tasting the kombucha daily by pouring a little out of the jar and into a cup. When it reaches a balance of sweetness and tartness that is pleasant to you, the kombucha is ready to bottle.
Remove the scoby: Before proceeding, prepare and cool another pot of strong tea for your next batch of kombucha, as outlined above. With clean hands, gently lift the scoby out of the kombucha and set it on a clean plate. As you do, check it over and remove the bottom layer if the scoby is getting very thick.
Bottle the finished kombucha: Measure out your starter tea from this batch of kombucha and set it aside for the next batch. Pour the fermented kombucha (straining, if desired) into bottles using the small funnel, along with any juice, herbs, or fruit you may want to use as flavoring. Leave about a half inch of head room in each bottle. (Alternatively, infuse the kombucha with flavorings for a day or two in another covered jar, strain, and then bottle. This makes a cleaner kombucha without “stuff” in it.)
Carbonate and refrigerate the finished kombucha: Store the bottled kombucha at room temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate. Until you get a feel for how quickly your kombucha carbonates, it’s helpful to keep it in plastic bottles; the kombucha is carbonated when the bottles feel rock solid. Refrigerate to stop fermentation and carbonation, and then consume your kombucha within a month.
Make a fresh batch of kombucha: Clean the jar being used for kombucha fermentation. Combine the starter tea from your last batch of kombucha with the fresh batch of sugary tea, and pour it into the fermentation jar. Slide the scoby on top, cover, and ferment for 7 to 10 days….
Covering for the jar: Cheesecloth is not ideal because it’s easy for small insects, like fruit flies, to wiggle through the layers. Use a few layers of tightly woven cloth (like clean napkins or tea towels), coffee filters, or paper towels, to cover the jar, and secure it tightly with rubber bands or twine.
Batch Size: To increase or decrease the amount of kombucha you make, maintain the basic ratio of 1 cup of sugar, 8 bags of tea, and 2 cups starter tea per gallon batch. One scoby will ferment any size batch, though larger batches may take longer.
Putting Kombucha on Pause: If you’ll be away for 3 weeks or less, just make a fresh batch and leave it on your counter. It will likely be too vinegary to drink by the time you get back, but the scoby will be fine. For longer breaks, store the scoby in a fresh batch of the tea base with starter tea in the fridge. Change out the tea for a fresh batch every 4 to 6 weeks.
Other Tea Options: Black tea tends to be the easiest and most reliable for the scoby to ferment into kombucha, but once your scoby is going strong, you can try branching out into other kinds. Green tea, white tea, oolong tea, or a even mix of these make especially good kombucha. Herbal teas are okay, but be sure to use at least a few bags of black tea in the mix to make sure the scoby is getting all the nutrients it needs. Avoid any teas that contain oils, like earl grey or flavored teas.
Avoid Prolonged Contact with Metal: Using metal utensils is generally fine, but avoid fermenting or bottling the kombucha in anything that brings them into contact with metal. Metals, especially reactive metals like aluminum, can give the kombucha a metallic flavor and weaken the scoby over time.
It is normal for the scoby to float on the top, bottom, or sideways in the jar. It is also normal for brown strings to form below the scoby or to collect on the bottom. If your scoby develops a hole, bumps, dried patches, darker brown patches, or clear jelly-like patches, it is still fine to use. Usually these are all indicative of changes in the environment of your kitchen and not a problem with the scoby itself.
Kombucha will start off with a neutral aroma and then smell progressively more vinegary as brewing progresses. If it starts to smell cheesy, rotten, or otherwise unpleasant, this is a sign that something has gone wrong. If you see no signs of mold on the scoby, discard the liquid and begin again with fresh tea. If you do see signs of mold, discard both the scoby and the liquid and begin again with new ingredients.
A scoby will last a very long time, but it’s not indestructible. If the scoby becomes black, that is a sign that it has passed its lifespan. If it develops green or black mold, it is has become infected. In both of these cases, throw away the scoby and begin again.
To prolong the life and maintain the health of your scoby, stick to the ratio of sugar, tea, starter tea, and water outlined in the recipe. You should also peel off the bottom (oldest) layer every few batches. This can be discarded, composted, used to start a new batch of kombucha, or given to a friend to start their own.
If you’re ever in doubt about whether there is a problem with your scoby, just continue brewing batches but discard the kombucha they make. If there’s a problem, it will get worse over time and become very apparent. If it’s just a natural aspect of the scoby, then it will stay consistent from batch to batch and the kombucha is fine for drinking.