Kombucha – the somewhat different tea drink

Experimenting at home is fun for everyone. In the last few months, I’ve been fascinated by fermentation in all its colorful facets. For me personally, it is totally exciting to see how a “new” cooler product is created from a casual basic product through fermentation – a spiced-up version, so to speak. Because of the variety of possibilities, you can let your creativity run wild here – from ginger carrots to red cabbage, onion to kimchi – anything you can put in a jar is allowed! In addition to preserving food like in grandma’s day, you can also play around with drinks. For quite some time now, one of the in drinks has been homemade kombucha. This involves fermenting sweetened tea, usually green or black tea, with a kombucha mushroom (called scoby). What I really like about it is that you only have to start it once, then let it ferment for 5 to 14 days, and voilá you have a great drink – by the way, if you let it stand longer, it becomes vinegar, so if you forget – no worries just use it for cleaning.

Nice to know about Kombucha

1| ORIGIN: According to a myth, the drink finds its origin in Japan – around 400 AD, a Korean doctor named Kombu was summoned to the Japanese emperor Inky. This Kombu treated the emperor with a special Cha (tea) until his recovery. Since that time, it has been called Kombucha, which means the tea of Kombu
2| PRONUNCIATION: Kombucha can be pronounced differently, either according to Japanese etymology kɔmˈbut͡ʃa (with “tscha” at the end or the Russian variant kɔmˈbuːxa just exactly as it is written – so both have their correctness
3| EFFECT: since kombucha contains living microorganisms, it has a positive effect on digestion, the enzymes & acids it contains help to cleanse our body system, thus relieving the liver & pancreas, it has a beneficial effect on the immune system, which as we know never does any harm, and also raises our energy level due to the caffeine contained in the tea

5 steps to your kombucha

Recipes, as well as videos for making Kombucha, are really enough on the internet – I got this one from my friend and it worked great – so it’s up to you which one you use ;). Feel free to try several different ones. Now to the steps:

1| TEA TIME
Bring the desired amount of water to a boil and add about 8g of tea per liter and let it steep for the desired time – varies depending on the tea. By the way, mostly green tea or black tea is used, as it works best with the Scoby.

2| SWEET IT UP
Per liter dissolve approx. 90 to 100g sugar in the finished tea while stirring completely

3| COOL DOWN & PREP
The tea must now cool down to room temperature, besides you can already prepare a clean glass, in which the Kombucha may finally ferment. Important: It should not be washed with detergent beforehand, but better cleaned with vinegar.

4| SCOBY
Now comes the marriage. First of all, you fill some liquid (a Kombucha – can be bought or you can get one from your friend including the Scoby) into the glass, then the main actor, the Scoby, comes in and finally the sweetened tea follows.

5| COVER IT UP
Now the fermentation jar is “closed” with a cover cloth (IMPORTANT: Must be air-permeable) and rubber ring or something similar

6| SIT & WAIT
Place the fermentation vessel in a warm place (at least 21 degrees – it’s not that precise, but the kombucha doesn’t like it too cold – after 7 to 14 days (depending on how intense the taste should be) it is ready – I usually leave it for 12 days. Then the finished kombucha can be bottled and stored in a cool place in the refrigerator. When bottling, I still let the drink through a strainer so there are no “mushroom flankers” in the finished drink.

7| REUSE:
About 10% of the finished kombucha, along with the scoby, serves as the starter liquid for the next culture. More won’t hurt either, as it will speed up fermentation. For each new preparation – briefly remove the mushroom under cold running water – possibly remove the dark-colored layer – rinse the fermentation vessel, then clean it with vinegar and start again at step 1.

So, those were the glorious 7 Kombucha steps – actually really easy. If you then have a good basic kombucha, which fits from the sweet-acid game, you can still refine with various fruits, etc. – such as raspberries, strawberries, pomegranate seeds,… There is no limit to your imagination. Have fun experimenting!

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