What is Kombucha?
To sum it up, Kombucha is a fermented tea with probiotics. Kombucha starts off as sweetened tea, then a SCOBY and starter tea is added. This Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) contains two notable bacterias: Acetobacter and Lactobacillus. These bacteria are known for producing cellulose, which encases and protects cells. The yeast in the SCOBY eats the sugar in the sweetened tea, producing alcohol. The bacteria in the culture then turns the alcohol into acetic acid, which is vinegar. This balance of yeast and bacteria produces a probiotic rich drink that tastes tangy, earthy, or vinegary, depending on brew preferences.
A healthy kombucha scoby with yeast strands
First, we must take a quick look at the enteric nervous system. The enteric system is a mesh like lining containing nuerons within the esophogus, all the way down to the colon. The enteric nervous system (ENS) is considered a major govern of the autonomic nervous system ( nervous system that controls necessary involuntary functions). The enteric system is complex and the responsibilites it plays are dynamic. Key roles include secretion and absorbtion, and harboring a direct link to brain through vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the middle man between the enteric system and the brain itself. For instance, when your brain processes the fight or flight response, the message is back and forth to the vagus nerve to stimulate heart rate, sweating, “butterflies” in your stomach, and other nervous responses. This is a prime example of why are are what you eat! Truly, this translates to a healthy gut= a healthy brain. This is where probiotics come into play. The probiotics are called apathogens, which are good bacteria. The theory is that the apathogens coloniz within your gut, competing with the bad bacterias. This all totals to a healthier gut and a boosted immune system.
Benefits of kombucha
Not only does kombucha contain probiotics, there are many other wonderful components of this complex drink. After fermentation, kombucha contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2, B3(niacin), B6, B12, folate, and antioxidants. This drink can provide a variety of benefits like:
- destroys free radicals that cause cellular damage
- supports healthy liver
- boosts metabolism, digestion, and bowel function
- reduces blood pressure
- reduces inflammation (which is the start of many diseases)
- help control candida
- Do not wear rings or bracelets while brewing
- Do not use metal equipment
- Do not keep kombucha in direct sunlight, or withing 4 ft of other ferments
- Do not ever try to salvage a moldy batch. Trash the entire thing, to include the scoby, and start fresh
- Do not cover kombucha brewing vessel with a lid, only breathable material that is
Let’s get brewing!
- white vinegar for cleaning
- 8 organic tea bags black or green tea
- 1 cup organic white sugar
- 11 cups filtered water
- 1 scoby
- 1 cup starter fluid
1 rubber band and a clean cloth
Begin by boiling 4 cups of water. When water has reached boil, remove from heat. Add 1 cup of sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Add 8 bags of tea, and let seep until water is at room temperature.
While waiting for the sweetened tea to cool, begin washing the utensils well. Wash your hands with soap and water, then rinse well with vinegar. Rinse out your brewing vessel with vinegar. Everything that will come into contact with the kombucha should be rinsed with vinegar to prevent bacterial transfer to the scoby.
Once the tea is cooled, combine tea, scoby, and starter fluid in the brewing vessel. Add 11 cups of filtered water to the brewing vessel.
Place a coffee filter or CLEAN rag/t shirt over the top of the brewing vessel. Secure with a rubber band.
Place kombucha somewhere that is out of direct sunlight, with a stable temperature around 73-78 degrees. Leave kombucha for 5-7 days. Taste test on the 5th day to see the progress. Generally, kombucha is best brewed for a solid week. Longer brewing times will produce a more vinegary drink.