Gut Healing Kombucha
Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been used for centuries to help aid digestion and alleviate ailments associated with the gut biome. Our gut biome is a major player in our bodies overall function. It controls many functions from simple digestion to our mood and immune system. It is vital that we keep our gut biome happy and healthy with probiotics, prebiotic, and a healthy diet.
Kombucha’s astrological correspondence is Venus, as this heavenly body rules over the digestive system and its element is earth because of its influence over healing and life, and remember your brew is a living thing. The stones associated with Kombucha are green aventurine, spirit quartz, ruby zoisite, and rudraksha.
Kombucha’s history is a long one, dating back to around 220 B.C. It was brought to Manchuria, or northeast China, by its namesake Dr. Kombu, from Korea. He used it to heal Emperor Inkyo, which is when it began to gain popularity. Since then it has been used as a stomach tonic the world over.
The difference between prebiotics and probiotics is that prebiotics feed your gut biome and keep it healthy and happy while probiotics add to your biomes population. It’s important to get both, especially if from supplements as most probiotics don’t have prebiotics.
As with any supplement it’s best to get our pre and probiotics from natural sources like fruits and vegetables. Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefirs are the best sources.
In the process of making kombucha you’ll meet your SCOBY, which will potentially disgust you at first but you will grow to love. Many treat it like a pet in a tank, naming it and feeding it regularly. Most have SCOBY hotels, which we will get into shortly.
SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Your SCOBY is in fact a living creature you will help create. It is a slimy but very tough layer that forms on top of the tea during the fermentation process. When doing a continuous brew you will eventually have to remove your SCOBY and start making another. This is where SCOBY hotels come in. When your SCOBY has gotten too big you can remove it, take a small piece for your next batch of kombucha, and put the rest in a jar with a little sweet tea to feed it. Eventually you will add a few more SCOBY to the jar and have a hotel. Remember to feed your hotel with fresh sweetened black tea once every week or two.
SCOBY has many uses, not just brewing kombucha. They can be dried and capped for probiotic supplements. SCOBY makes wonderful face masks because the bacteria will eat the dead skin. There will be redness for roughly thirty minutes after this, but it’s normal. Lastly I like to air dry SCOBY strips as probiotic dog treats.
Before starting the batch of kombucha it is important to choose the correct fermentation vessel. The container must be glass and no metal can be near the brew. For a single batch a Mason jar can be used since we will only be using the ring and not the seal. For a continuous brew you want a glass container with a plastic but unpainted spigot. It is imperative that the spigot is unpainted or coated as the bacteria will try to digest the paint or coating which will spoil or taint the batch.
Just as important as the fermentation vessel is the bottle you’ll store your brew in. The best option is a glass bottle with a plastic pop cap. I get these by purchasing Italian sodas or going to thrift stores. Remember, no metal or paint.
The brewing process for kombucha is very simple. To start you can either order a SCOBY, get one from a friend, or purchase a bottle of kombucha from the store that has a lot of brown gunk at the bottom (the gunk is the beginning of a SCOBY forming). If you are doing a continuous brew it is important to use an original unflavored bottle. If a single batch is being made, simply match flavors with fruits.
Next we will brew a strong black tea, this will create the environment for the bacteria to live in. Next sweeten the tea and let it cool for at least 30 minutes to room temperature. If the tea is too hot it will kill the bacteria instantly, but it can’t get too cold on the counter.
Once cooled, pour the tea into the fermentation vessel. If the SCOBY was purchased online follow the directions given with it. If it is from a store bought bottle add the SCOBY before adding tea. If the brew is in a mason jar add ? of the bottle. The easiest way to do this is to pour the majority out only leaving the bottom bit. For a continuous brew I generally do one or two gallons so I add roughly a third of the bottle.
Now simply wait while your brew ferments, this will take roughly a week. Everyone prefers their kombucha different so after about five days start taste testing yours to make sure it doesn’t brew too long for you to enjoy.
To flavor your brew in a Mason jar simply add the fruit of your choice to the jar once the SCOBY begins to form. In a continuous brew you’ll want to pour the kombucha into a bottle with the fruit and let it ferment more with the fruit, usually two or three days, making sure to vent the carbonation after day 2 so the bottle doesn’t explode. Next strain the fruit from the kombucha and re-bottle. Let it sit in the fridge for a day or two and enjoy.
Once a SCOBY consumes fruit it takes on that flavor and will affect any brew it is used in so it is important not to add fruit to the brew directly in a continuous brew.
Kombucha is not for everyone as it can have a vinegar taste to it. The longer the batch is brewed the more likely this is. If you want the medicinal effects without that flavor simply brew shorter batches and experiment to find your balance.
For the ingredients the cleaner the better. You are creating life after all. I like to use organic tea and sugar, as well as distilled water to create the best environment for the bacteria.
Another version of kombucha that I recommend if you can’t handle the taste of kombucha is Jun tea. It is made with green tea and honey instead of black tea and sugar. Jun tea is a more tolerable sibling of kombucha. It’s a better choice if kombucha packs too much of a punch for you and is brewed the same way using the different ingredients.
A couple of warnings with your wonderful brew. The first, brewing your kombucha too long results in an alcohol that is commercially sold as kombucha beer. The second warning is that I recommend not drinking kombucha daily for long periods of time. I recommend 3 out of 4 weeks a month maximum as consuming too much kombucha can cause gastrointestinal discomfort such as nausea and vomiting as well as headaches. This typically takes a high amount so don’t worry too much.
I hope you enjoy this kombucha recipe and dive into the world of SCOBY parentage. Brewing kombucha can be a fun hobby with a wonderfully medicinal outcome.
3 cups distilled water
½ cup organic sugar
8 organic black tea bags
? cup bottled kombucha with SCOBY
2 gallons distilled water
1 cup organic sugar
15 organic black tea bags
1 cup bottled kombucha with SCOBY
~Bring water to a boil then remove from heat.
~Add the tea bags and let tea steep away from heat roughly 30 minutes or until room temperature.
~pour the SCOBY and fruit into the mason jar and then add the cooled tea
~let brew for 7-8 days
~strain into a bottle and place in fridge 1-3 days. The brew will keep for up to a week.
~Bring a half gallon of distilled water a boil
~remove from heat and add the organic tea bags, let steep until room temperature or cooler.
~ add the bottled kombucha with SCOBY to the fermentation vessel and then add cooled sweet tea and the remaining water.
~let brew for 5 days and begin taste testing.
~add fruit of choice to a bottle and pour in kombucha. Only fill the bottle ¾ full as room is needed for the pressure created while fermenting.
~let the bottle continue to ferment on the counter for 2-days.~strain the fruit out and put the brew back in the bottle.
~ let the bottle stand in the fridge for a day or two then enjoy.
About the Author:
Theron Baker is a kitchen witch who connects most to the earth and enjoys foraging for ingredients and being in nature as well as his kitchen.