Kombucha has been around for thousands of years, and throughout various cultures. This fermented drink is loaded with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, probiotics, lactic acid and other properties that make it an excellent health elixir.
What is kombucha you may ask? Well, the closest you may come to describing this drink is that it is sweet black tea that is fermented with an SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). After processing, the drink is a highly nutrient dense, low sugar beverage.
The fermentation process takes anywhere between 7 -12 days depending on the temperature and the strength of the SCOBY. During the process of fermentation, over 90% of the sugar is gobbled up by the yeast.
Probiotics in kombucha
Kombucha is loaded with health-preserving probiotics including:
Health benefits of kombucha
There are a number of health benefits from drinking kombucha on a regular basis including:
Boosts energy – The fermentation process causes iron to be released from the black tea. Also, there is a bit of caffeine and some B vitamins which also boost energy. Iron increases hemoglobin levels through chelation. Oxygen molecules are then transported to cells and tissues.
Better digestion – Kombucha is great for your gut because it is loaded with probiotics. These probiotics encourage the growth of thriving gut flora which help us digest our food and absorb nutrients. At the same time, kombucha helps suppress the growth of bad bacteria that can cause infections and chronic health problems.
Detoxification – Research has demonstrated that kombucha tea contains powerful properties including glucuronic acid and cleansing enzymes that help reduce and eliminate liver toxicity and encourage the excretion of waste. It can remove fat and bad cholesterol from the blood and remedy oxidative damage to cells.
Reduced joint pain – Kombucha is loaded with properties that improve joint health including glucuronic acid ( mentioned above), Chondroitin sulphate and also glucosamine. All of these enzymes are believed to be responsible for helping the body rebuild tissue.
Immune support – Kombucha has the ability to keep the immune system functioning at its best by controlling free radicals. Researchers have discovered a very potent antioxidant, D-saccharic acid – 1,4-lactone (DSL) in the fermented beverage.
DSL has been clinically proven to reduce oxidative stress and immunosuppression. It is thought that the combination of vitamin C and DSL help protect cells from damage and keep inflammatory diseases at bay. Also, the probiotics found in kombucha also strengthen the immune system.
Cancer prevention – A study published in Cancer Letters noted that the glucaric acid found in kombucha reduced risk of cancer in humans.
Other noted benefits of drinking kombucha:
- Reduced hot flashes during menopause
- Helps with chronic constipation
- Reduces insomnia
- Helps cleanse the gallbladder
- Reduce allergies
- Helps prevent gout and ulcers
- Improves heart health
- Helps to keep blood sugar balanced
- Helps improve mood and fend off depression
How to Make Your Own Continuous Brew Kombucha
While it is not necessary to make a continuous brew kombucha, it is more effective and healthier in a few ways. First, this method which uses a spigot container of some kind, yields a broader diversity of helpful bacteria, reduces the risk of mold, and best of all keeps you in kombucha all the time!
- Glass jar with spigot
- Wooden spoon for stirring
- Rubber band
- One kombucha SCOBY
- Organic tea
- Starter tea from earlier batch of kombucha or distilled white vinegar
- Filtered water
- Prepare the sweet tea using 2 tablespoons of loose tea, 2 family size tea bags or 8-10 small bags per gallon of water. Add one cup of organic cane sugar per gallon (no honey).
- Let the tea cool to room temperature and pour it into a glass jar – leaving 20% of the room at the top. Pour liquid from the previous batch of kombucha into the jar. If you are starting fresh with a dehydrated SCOBY, pour in a ½ cup from a store-bought bottle of kombucha for best results.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and place the SCOBY at the top of the jar of tea. It should float.
- Cover the jar with the coffee filter or cloth and hold it in place with a rubber band.
- Set the jar in a warm corner of the kitchen ( 70-75 degrees is best). Be sure to keep the jar away from any other fermenting products.
- Allow the tea to ferment for about 7 days. It will taste tart but also a little sweet.
- Pour the kombucha into quart-size mason jars with plastic lids ( don’t use metal). Leave about 20% room at the top.
Special tips for continuous brew
Harvesting and feeding: It is best to harvest and feed your SCOBY weekly.
Sugar content: It is a little harder to control the sugar content of kombucha when using the continuous brew system. If you would like your tea low in sugar, draw off at least 2 weeks worth of tea at a time before adding the sugared tea.
Cleaning: Clean the spigot on the jar only if it becomes clogged. If you need to clean, remove the kombucha and the SCOBY and place in another clean glass container. Use white vinegar and a clean bristle brush to clean the jar. Rinse thoroughly and repeat.
Huge SCOBY: With the continuous brewing system you will get a very large SCOBY as it will continue to grow and take up room in your container. To resize your SCOBY you can cut it up using a non-metal utensil. Give to friends and family members so that they can make their own kombucha.