Kombucha – the Brooklyn way

kombucha

My Kombucha

I first tried Kombucha  last year at the Brooklyn Food Conference. when I tasted some from a new company called Kombucha Brooklyn. The first taste made my taste buds stand up tall.

It’s a little fizzy, a drop sour, but very yummy. Now, I am seeing a variety of  kombuchas sold in all of the stores in my neighborhood. The most popular variety I have seen is GTs Kombucha.

Kombucha is fermented tea. Kombucha’s history is unclear, but according to good old wikipedia, kombucha made its debut in Russia in the 19th century and became popular in China and Japan. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kombucha was imbibed for a few thousand years in those countries. According to information on the the Raw Freedom Community website:

“In China, kombucha tea has been utilized as a health beverage for thousands of years, dating back to before 200 B.C. It has been consumed for centuries in Japan, Korea, and Russia. In the early 1900s, use of the tea spread from Russia into other European countries including Germany, where it was touted as a health elixir for many years. In the 1950s and 1960s, German and Italian researchers claimed that kombucha tea exhibited strong anticancer properties, and it was promoted as a miracle cure for cancer. Alexander Solzhenitzyn, the Nobel Prize winning Russian author, reported that kombucha tea, which he began to drink during a prison term, cured his stomach cancer.”

Lots of people claim health benefits for kombucha. I can’t find anything conclusive on the health benefitts, but according to the Mayo Clinics’ Dr. Brent A. Bauer:

“Long popular in other countries, Kombucha tea is gaining popularity in the United States. Although frequently referred to as a mushroom, which it resembles, Kombucha is not a mushroom — it’s a colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha tea is made by adding the colony to sugar and black or green tea and allowing the mix to ferment. The resulting liquid contains vinegar, B vitamins and a number of other chemical compounds. Kombucha tea is commonly prepared by taking a starter sample from an existing culture and growing a new colony in a fresh jar. Health benefits attributed to Kombucha tea include stimulating the immune system, preventing cancer, and improving digestion and liver function.”

I do know that I like it and it costs $5 for a bottle. So…..I had to make my own.

Kombucha is  tea that fermented using yeast and bacteria. The kombucha culture is called a SCOBY -(Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast). To make kombucha, you either need to get your hands on a kombucha mother or its babies (no kidding) which is a SCOBY mushroom that was grown by someone else — I have seen people trading SCOBYs on craigslist or go to Get Kombucha.com which sells kombucha starter kits (their tag-line is “Yeast. Bacteria. Delicious”– I love it!) OR, you can use a bottle of store-bought kombucha as your starter. I went the latter route.

Kombucha is easy to make.  A good kombucha recipe is at this page on Sadie Magazine. What you need:

–A large glass jar

–A handkerchief or porous cloth

— A rubber band (to keep the cloth on top of the jar)

–5-6 tea bags

–A cup of sugar

–A bottle of store-bought kombucha

I used this video to help make my kombucha:

My kombucha is 10 days old and I see lots of activity in the jar. it’s sitting on top of my refrigerator. All kinds of white “stuff” is forming and I’m assuming that it’s fermenting as it’s supposed to.If it works, then I can continue to make it using a little of what’s left after I’ve drunk most of what’s in the jar. I’m going to give it another week before I try it.

What’s the worst that could happen? Well, according to Dr. Bauer (above) unsterile conditions in the brewing process could lead to adverse health effects. I sterilized my jar carefully and I think my brew is clean. I’ll let you know….

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4 responses to “Kombucha – the Brooklyn way

  1. Very nice post. If you know people who want a “kosher” scoby and don’t want to make it themselves (like it sounds like you’re doing… great job, btw), send them my way.

    Happy fermenting.

  2. it was not that bad after all. tried Kombucha with some friends taking botanical slimming soft gel.

  3. I ordered my Kombucha Starter Kit from :
    http://www.kombuchahealthdrink.com
    they were great !!!

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