In the past year, I have done some serious self-work. Working on my mental health has been my main priority, but my physical health is often dictated by the former. When I’m going through an especially anxious period, the last thing I remember to do (or want to do) is physically take care of myself. And while there’s plenty to be said about health and nutrition also correlating to your mental well-being, it is a cycle that I’m constantly trying to get under better control. One thing, amongst many, I’ve learned to do to better nourish both my body and mind, is brew my own kombucha! A friend of mine got me started earlier this year, and I have ever since unabashedly become a TOTAL ‘BOOCHIE MAMA! It’s relatively easy, has plenty of health benefits, saves you money, and is an overall very rewarding hobby to pick up!
Before we begin, you need to first obtain a starter SCOBY and at least one cup of Raw Kombucha, also called Starter Tea, from another Boochie Mama. There are some websites that sell them online, but if you live in Asheville, or are ever passing through, feel free to get some from me! For every batch of kombucha you brew, you render a new baby SCOBY. You can start a “SCOBY hotel” and keep them alive indefinitely as long as they are submerged in raw kombucha. SCOBY’s are Symbiotic Cultures Of Bacteria and Yeast that essentially make all the magic happen when turning sweet tea into kombucha. It’s a living culture that eats all the sugar and turns the tea into a carbonated, slightly acidic drink filled with tons of probiotics and other health benefits!
OTHER THINGS YOU NEED:
- Gallon Glass Jar, and a second one if you want to start a SCOBY hotel
- 10 Black Tea Bags (no flavors!)
- 1 Cup Sugar
- Starter SCOBY
- 1 cup Raw Kombucha
- Coffee Filters & Rubberband
- Flavorings (optional)
- Brew just shy of a gallon (I use around 15 cups) of water with tea bags. Stir in sugar until it dissolves, remove from heat and let cool while steeping. Remove the tea bags, and pour into a clean gallon glass jar.
- Once the sweetened tea has completely cooled, add the raw kombucha, also sometimes called “starter tea”, as well as your starter SCOBY.
- Keep the jar covered with a coffee filter and rubberband. Oxygen is necessary for the tea to ferment, but fruit flies also love to taste your brew!
- Let the tea sit at room temperature for at least 7 days. The longer you wait, the more acidic the kombucha will be. I generally wait 10 days, but you can taste it for your preference.
- Once you’re happy with your kombucha’s acidity, remove the SCOBY. During fermentation, the original SCOBY basically makes a baby, so now you should have two! Aw, motherhood! If you want, you can save them to make more kombucha, also taking a cup of your new, raw kombucha keeping the SCOBY’s submerged so they don’t dry out.
- Once the SCOBY’s are removed, I add my flavors. I’ve found the easiest way is to add juice (store bought, or DIY if you have a juicer, or even a blender), but there is still plenty of yeast in the kombucha to eat through whole pieces of fruit, though this will take longer. I’ve seen this process done a few ways, so see below for some other blogs that explain the process in a little more detail!
- After a few more days (again, taste for preference!), I strain the flavored kombucha into air tight bottles. Straining takes all the remaining “muck” out, and again, it’s easier if you used liquid flavorings as opposed to whole fruit. The snap back bottles are the easiest and most securely “air-tight”, but I’ve also had success with mason jars. Eliminating oxygen now enables the kombucha to carbonate.
- I usually allow for a week for both the flavoring and carbonating process combined. But once the kombucha is also carbonated to your preference, you can place it in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process and enjoy!
To learn more about the brewing process and flavoring tips, check out thekitchn, cultures for health, and scienceandfood. I’ve found that there are a few different ways to tweak the process, but do what works best for you, boo! (ahem *broo*!)
Lauren Wise is a mermaid living in the mountains of North Carolina.