A few weeks ago on a rare sunny morning, our postman delivered a small, almost-unearthly package through our door. Carefully encased in a bag of liquid, it was our new little health hero ... a Scoby.
If you've just google imaged Scoby and are now sufficiently confused, let us explain...
Despite its looks, a Scoby is not some strange alien toy like those ones from the 90s (remember those?!). Scoby actually stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria & Yeast, and this wedge of goodness has the potential to make the delicious and energising drink Kombucha!
Kombucha is having a serious rise in popularity at the moment. We've been brewing it at home for the past few weeks and absolutely love it. Here's a quick lowdown on this fermented, super-drink:
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is made from sweetened tea that is fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria & yeast (aka scoby). It varies between each brew, but is generally tangy, refreshing and often has a slight fizz to it. Kombucha reminds us of a sweeter, more palatable kind of apple cider vinegar. So far we find it's best drunk from the fridge on a hot day or when energy levels are feeling low!
Health Benefits of Kombucha
There are a lot of articles online describing Kombucha as an 'elixir of life'. The origin of the drink dates back over 2 thousand years (!) and continues to be drunk for increased energy, clearer mentality and better digestion.
While we're not ones for quickly praising any food/drink as a miracle cancer-curer, it is definitely worth noting the drink's high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and probiotic live cultures. If you have digestive issues, low energy-levels or just want a general health boost, then Kombucha is such a great thing to try out!
What about the sugar?
Like many people, we were initially quite dubious about the sugar content when brewing Kombucha. After all, we're often scouring over food/drink labels to avoid sugar (or anything unnatural), so it seemed pretty hypocritical to throw a cup of sugar in with our Scoby.
The fact is, sugar is a vital part of making Kombucha and cannot be avoided. Put simply, the bacteria & yeast feed off of the sugar in order to ferment and produce the tasty Kombucha... by the end of each brew, only a very small amount of sugar will remain!
Homemade (Ginger) Kombucha - Recipe makes 1.2 litres
-A SCOBY in 1/2 a cup of previously made Kombucha* (we purchased ours here)
-A sterilised glass jar (ours holds 1.8l from Ikea) Make sure your jar holds a larger quantity of liquid than you will be using. The SCOBY needs a 1 inch gap of air in order to work its magic.
-1 litre of boiling water
-80g of Sugar (any sugar is fine, however we use brown & organic)
-5/6 tea bags (we use black, but it is also possible to use green tea)
-A cheesecloth/muslin cloth & elastic bands
-Ginger (optional - your kombucha can also be flavoured with fresh fruit or herbs! )
1. First step, make some tea! In a large jug combine the teabags/sugar/boiling water and stir the mixture well. Allow this to brew for around 30 minutes, then remove the teabags and place the jug to one side.
2. Wait for the tea to cool down. This may take a few hours for it to get to room temperature...check with a finger before you proceed, as it's really important the tea isn't hot when placed with the scoby.
3. Pour your tea mixture into your jar. Note that you should use a jar that holds a bigger quantity than your amount of tea.
4. Next pour in the 1/2 cup of kombucha and gently place your scoby into the jar. Make sure your hands are clean! The scoby should float on top of the liquid, but if it sinks this is not a problem.
5. Cover the jar with a cloth and secure this with an elastic band. Store the jar in a dry place away from direct sunlight.
6. Now a little patience! The time period for fermentation is varied, but 7-9 days is the average amount. After 7 days, taste some of your Kombucha...it should taste slightly sweet and tangy. If it's too sweet then leave it longer and try it daily until it suits your taste.
7. Transfer your kombucha into clean bottles and store in the fridge. We strain ours to remove any large bits of culture. If you want to flavour your kombucha then do so by adding finely sliced ginger/fruit slices/fresh herbs to your bottles.
8.Once finished, your scoby will be ready for its next batch of brewing. Remember to leave the scoby in at least half a cup of the kombucha in order to keep it alive!
*Once you purchase your scoby and it arrives, try to brew your first Kombucha batch within the next 4 days (or else the scoby may go mouldy). Make sure the scoby is kept with the Kombucha liquid & they are not separated.
Happy Kombucha drinking!
Have you made or tried Kombucha before? Let us know what you think...