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Retro WON: How to Make Kombucha Tea, the ‘Immortal Health Elixir’

Have you ever heard of Kombucha tea, aka mushroom tea?

I hadn’t, until I spent a week at Kenda Lenseigne’s home and questioned her about the 2-gallon glass container sitting on her kitchen counter, filled with a tan liquid, emanating a slight aroma of vinegar. She went to her refrigerator and brought out one of the many mason jars filled with the same color liquid and poured me a small glass. The first sip tasted a bit odd, but by the time I finished the glass I decided I liked it. My friend explained how she made the fermented tea called Kombucha and offered me her recipe and a small jar with a piece of her SCOBY (sometimes called, “The Mother” or Mushroom) to take home ( I would need it to start my own batch).

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A SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).

Originating around 2,000 years ago in Far East and sometimes called the “Immortal Health Elixir” this fermented beverage, known as Kombucha, is believed to have many health benefits.

Possible Health Benefits of Kombucha (These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA)

  • Aids in cleansing and detoxification
  • Improves digestion through increased nutrient absorption and waste elimination
  • Increased energy
  • Weight loss
  • Boosts immunity
  • Helps with inflammation reducing joint pain
  • Probiotic rich

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Although I could easily purchase Kombucha tea at most health food stores, being a “do-it-yourselfer,” I decided I would start my own batch with the SCOBY Kenda gave me. A SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) contains a living colony of bacteria and yeast that start fermenting once combined with sugar. This ugly, rubbery, slimy disc grows and eventually covers the surface of the tea, sealing it off from the air. As fermentation takes place, the sugar turns into probiotics and healthy acids.

 

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How to Make 2 Gallons of Kombucha Tea

What You Need:

  • 2-gallon glass container (I bought mine at Walmart for $11.46)
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 16 tea bags or 1/4 cup of loose tea (I use green tea; however there are others you can use, but avoid any oily teas like earl grey or flavored teas.)
  • A light dishcloth and large rubber band
  • Long wooden or plastic spoon (avoid kombucha contact with metal)
  • Pot large enough to boil 2 gallons of water
  • 1 SCOBY
  • 1 quart of starter tea
  • Glass jars with lids
  • Strainer
  • Funnel
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Michelle pours her Kombucha into 2 quart jars before straining.

Begin with sterilized equipment and wash your hands thoroughly.

  1. Boil 1 gallon of water with 2 cups of sugar.
  2. When the water boils, add 16 tea bags or 1/4 cup of loose tea. (I use green tea, however you can also use black tea.)
  3. Allow tea to steep until it is cool (or longer).
  4. Strain tea bags or leaves into a 2-gallon jar.
  5. Add 3 quarts of cool water to jar.
  6. Add 1 quart of the starter tea or pre-made Kombucha. (You will now have 2 gallons of liquid.)
  7. Carefully add the SCOBY (mother) to the tea.
  8. Cover the jar with a thin dishtowel and a rubber band to keep fruit flies out.
  9. Allow to ferment for 7 to 10 days. Fewer days will produce a weaker Kombucha that is sweeter; more time will give you a stronger Kombucha with a more sour taste. I start tasting mine at 7 days.
  10. Achieve the desired taste, then prepare your tea for the next batch. Now, gently remove the SCOBY and place on a clean plate. Reserve 1 quart of starter tea for your next batch.
  11. Strain and pour the finished product into smaller class jars with lids and refrigerate.
  12. The whole process can begin again.
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A little flavored tea adds variety to the Kombucha batches.

To flavor the Kombucha, add a small amount of herbal tea or grated ginger to the jar when bottling.

I could go on and on about my Kombucha tea. Adding different flavors, brewing for varying amounts of time and even double fermenting for more fizz. Take the time and do some research online to find out what will work best for you. Although the recipes are similar, there are slight differences that you may like better. And if you decide you love your SCOBY like me, you can find my shirt at Violet Love.

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So what are you waiting for? Let us know if you brew Kombucha Tea!

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All the statements made in this post are based on the personal experience and a collection of research gathered in various ways. The author can in no way be held responsible for any problems arising from the use of the information contained in this site. All information is given freely for use at your own discretion and is for informational purposes only. No health claims for Kombucha have been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nor has the FDA approved Kombucha to cure or prevent any disease.

Please consult with your Physician before using Kombucha tea. Only your health care provider can provide you with the best advice on what is safe and effective for your health. This site is not responsible or in control of the consumers’ home brewing process.

This Retro WON, How to Make Kombucha Tea,  first appeared September 14, 2016.

  • About Michelle Cerino

    Michelle Cerino, aka Princess Gunslinger, is the managing and social media editor at The WON. Michelle is the president of Cerino Consulting and Training Group, LLC, a firearms training company she built with her husband Chris in 2011. Her path in the firearms and outdoors industries is ever progressing. She is writing, hunting, competing and doing contract work for major manufacturers.