When my tummy wasn’t feeling well, especially after being glutened, I’d buy a bottle of raspberry chia kombucha from the grocery store. I’d savor each and every sip, since it’s so expensive. I read up on the nutritional benefits of incorporating kombucha into my daily diet, but I couldn’t get over the price tag, so it remained an occasional treat for an upset stomach.

Enter my friend, Kim.

For the past two years in a row at church, I’ve made a new friend whom I immediately click with and feel as if I’ve known forever. Everything is comfortable and easy; conversations about life flow without effort. And then their husbands get a new job and they move away. Kim was that friend the second year, and so now we’ve had more time keeping in touch via text, Instagram, and Facebook than we had together in person. Such is life. I’m so glad we’ve remained in touch though because she is often an inspiration of healthy ideas! She also was so kind as to send her SCOBY back home for me about a month ago, and I finally had no excuse but to brew my own kombucha. Many texts and questions later, I successfully brewed my first batch thanks to Kim!

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria.

The Wikipedia definition is:

Kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a “symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast” (SCOBY). Actual contributing microbial populations in SCOBY cultures vary, but the yeast component generally includes Saccharomyces and other species, and the bacterial component almost always includes Gluconacetobacter xylinus to oxidize yeast-produced alcohols to acetic and other acids.

Why Kombucha?

I think it’s really important for improving your gut-health and inflammation to consider trying kombucha, or other fermented foods. Although the benefits have mixed opinions among the medical community, it’s been a part of Chinese medicine for 1000s of years and has the support of most alternative health practitioners. Kombucha is believed to help healthy gut bacteria flourish; suppress inflammation from autoimmune diseases such as Celiac and Rheumatoid Arthritis; support the immune system; and aid in digestion. I’ve been drinking about 4 oz each day.

What You Need to Get Started

The whole thing feels like a science experiment. In fact I told myself that often; you know, in case I failed miserably. But it turned out to be easy. You really just need water, green tea or black tea, sugar (I know, right?! But I promise it’s okay.), and a SCOBY. I was lucky enough to get one from Kim, but you can create one yourself or by ordering a kit online.

My recipe is coming directly from StupidEasyPaleo. I did not alter any ingredients at all minus the container and cover. The directions are mostly a cut-and-paste from StupidEasyPaleo‘s original recipe on her site; however, anything you see in Italics is my own commentary from my personal experience of brewing homemade kombucha.

StupidEasyPaleo’s HOMEMADE KOMBUCHA

Prep Time: 3 hours |Total Time: 2 weeks| Servings: 32ish

Ingredients:

  • 1 SCOBY (you can order one here if you can’t make your own or aren’t given one)
  • 8 tea bags (I used Bigelow’s organic green tea)
  • 1 cup sugar (I used organic granulated white sugar)
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 gallon Mason jar (I found a $5 “cracker jar” at Target; much cheaper! Just make sure whatever you’re using is GLASS and at least 1 gallon)
  • 1 old t-shirt (I used a cheesecloth from the dollar store with a rubber band around it)

Directions:

  1. Boil 64 oz of water (8 cups) in a large pot.
  2. Add 8 green tea bags and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Remove the tea bags.
  3. Add 1 cup of sugar and stir well.
  4. Allow the tea to come to room temperature and pour into a clean one-gallon mason jar or crock.
  5. Add 64 oz more water to the jar and place the SCOBY (along with any KT it came with) into the jar.
  6. Cover with a piece of old t-shirt, and secure with a rubber band.
  7. Allow the homemade kombucha to ferment in a dark place (mine was in the jelly cabinet we have in the kitchen) for 7-14 days. Mine was ready on day 13, but the air conditioning has been going non-stop these past few weeks so it takes longer in colder temperatures. If you don’t have A/C or if the heat is on, it may be done sooner. The fermentation time will vary depending on your location,yourSCOBY, and how sweet or sour youwantthehomemadekombucha.
    • Sample by moving the SCOBY aside and taking a little out with a clean spoon (I read after the fact to use a wooden spoon as metal should never come in contact with your SCOBY.) After this time, your tea may be slightly carbonated and will be unflavored (only tea-flavored). You may drink the homemade kombucha tea then or to do a second fermentation with different fruits for flavor and more carbonation.

OPTIONAL DIRECTIONS:

Raspberry Blueberry Tea

  1. In a small sauce pan, place 1 cup blueberries and 1 cup raspberries (I actually used a combo of fresh and frozen).
  2. Heat up on medium heat until berries begin releasing natural juices.
  3. Pour mixture into blender (I used my trusty Ninja!) and puree.
  4. Place into an ice cube tray, and freeze.
  5. After your unflavored homemade kombucha tea is done fermenting, transfer it to a 32 oz mason jar. Add two cubes or 1/4 cup of blueberry-raspberry puree. Close the lid and allow to ferment again from 1-3 days – again, it depends on your taste. You may want more or less blueberry-raspberry puree or more or less carbonation. (I separated into two mason jars and added cubes in there.)

Like I said, I kept telling myself this was a science experiment, so on Day 13 I split my basic kombucha into 2 mason jars, and 1 pitcher:

  1. Container 1—pitcher: Straight into the fridge for chilling and enjoyment later that day. If you love basic “unflavored” ‘bucha then you are all set to go! I really enjoyed it plain. 
  2. Container 2—cracker jar: I kepy the SCOBY and it’s newly created albino-pancake friend with 1-1.5 cups of the kombucha and put it back in the jelly cabinet until I was ready for my next batch. This time I screwed the cover on instead of using a cheese cloth. 
  3. Container 3—first mason jar: Brewed kombucha, plus 2 raspberry-blueberry cubes. After 3 days, I took out the leftovers of the cube and placed in the refrigerator and enjoyed once it was chilled!
  4. Container 4—second mason jar: Brewed kombucha, plus 2 raspberry-blueberry cubes. I set on the counter for 3 days. After 3 days, I stirred in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds with a wooden spoon, and placed in the refrigerator. This was so exciting for me and my favorite combination because this one tastes EXACTLY like the Synergy raspberry-chia seed variety I’d buy at the store!
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Beginning step! Boiling water. In the mason jar, you can see the SCOBY saved in over a cup’s worth of Kim’s last kombucha brew. My empty glass cracker jar is ready to go!

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Kombucha

All tucked in and ready to go “to bed” for 2 weeks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raspberry-Blueberry mix-in (PS–this is also how you make clean syrup topping for your pancakes or nice cream)

Raspberry-Blueberry mixture poured into ice cube tray

Raspberry-Blueberry mixture poured into ice cube tray

 

 

 

Container 1 — Pitcher of unflavored kombucha chilling in the fridge

First & Second mason jar before I put in the blueberry-raspberry cubes. One was covered, one had a cheesecloth. I didn’t notice a difference.

My favorite mix! The raspberry-blueberry mix fermented for another 3 days, followed by 2T of chia seeds. Tastes just like Synergy store-bought kombucha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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