There is yet another use for the good old tea leaf- Kombucha! I love this stuff so decided to give it a go making it at home. For those of you who are not familiar with this magical drink- Kombucha is a fizzy, fermented beverage made from sweetened tea, usually black, that is fermented by a bacteria and yeast culture and ends up full of probiotics as a result.
Kombucha, along with other fermented foods such as Kimchi and Sauerkraut, are in my Top 20 Superfoods. Brilliant food sources of probiotics, this fermented drink has gone from being a little hippie to now mainstream where we are seeing it pop up on menus at great restaurants and with some interesting flavours.
To make homemade kombucha, I have a very basic recipe: quarter of a cup of sugar in 1 litre of filtered water and one loose teaspoon of black tea or BBTC’s English Breakfast. Brew the tea as you normally would, add the sugar and then allow it to cool before adding the SCOBY to a glass container. Cover with paper towel and allow to brew for seven to 14 days. It's that simple! Remove the SCOBY and serve.
What is a SCOBY?
SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, which is what turns sugary tea into kombucha. It feels kind of like a rubbery pancake- a beige cellulose disc that contains the yeast and bacteria that ferments and cultures kombucha. The yeast in the SCOBY—sometimes called a mother or mushroom, though it's not a fungus—eats the sugar in your tea, and the bacteria works with some of the enzymes and other nutrients and makes probiotics as a byproduct. There are many places to buy Kombucha culture online.
It's Easy To Add Your Own Flavours
It is important to use caffeinated teas. The decaffeination process changes the tea's makeup in a way that will affect your final product and you'll miss out on some of the drink's benefits. Other types of tea can be used including Green and Oolong tea.
Once your kombucha is brewed, you can experiment with adding different flavours by infusing it with fruits or herbs.