Kombucha: "The Tea of Immortality"
Seedsofhealth.co.uk describes Kombucha as, ... a living health drink made by fermenting tea and sugar with the kombucha culture. ... The first recorded use of kombucha comes from China in 221 BC during the Qin Dynasty. It was known as "The Tea of Immortality". It has been used in Eastern Europe, Russia, Japan and many other countries for several centuries.
There are at least 81 names for Kombucha representing various continents of the world. It has really helped me deal with joint pain and body stiffness in general. My Mom finds it helps with her digestion. My sister Dorothy says it quickly settles her stomach. So much for anecdotal testimony. What can I say, I feel better.
There will always be sceptics, especially from those who haven't really drunk Kombucha. Do you have to be careful? Sure, just like every other edible thing you make, keep your prep environment clean. You can read warnings about Kombucha. There are a few cases where drinking Kombucha hurt people. But you can read thousands of reports of people getting poisoned from just about every kind of food that is out there, which of course should lead us to the conclusion that we should stop eating all those foods. And let's not get into all the recorded deaths from approved science driven products and drugs pumped into us for decades, which should lead us to the conclusion that those drugs should never be used by anyone. Right! Do your research. But what must be taken into consideration is that for thousands of years, nations have discovered that Kombucha helps them. We can learn from 2,000 plus years of experience.
So, what does it produce? On his website, Dr. Axe reports this about Kombucha,
An article published in the journal Food Microbiology established that the following probiotics make up this health elixir:
Gluconacetobacter (>85 percent in most samples)
Acetobacter (<2 percent)
Lactobacillus (up to 30 percent in some samples)
Zygosaccharomyces (>95 percent)
Ultimately, this cocktail of good bacteria interact together in a unique way to produce some unbelievable health benefits for those who drink it.
After being fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, b-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic), which are tied with the following effects:
Cleansing and Detoxification
Reduced Joint Pain
So what is this "tea of immortality"? Kombucha is a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast or SCOBY. It has a gelatinus mushroomy pancake appearance. The SCOBY feeds on a mix of sugary tea and turns it into a wonderful concoction of probiotics and ingredients that helps the body build antioxidants and anti-inflams.
It is super easy to make. A cup of sugar in a gallon of water, heated to a rolling boil. Then add 8 bags of usually black tea. Allow to cool to room temperature. Add the SCOBY, and cover with a coffee filter held tight by a rubber band to allow for air but at the same time keep out the fruit flies etc. Wait 4 -6 plus days, depending on surrounding temperature (65-85 degrees F good). 80F is ideal. Then drink straight or bottle. You can choose to put the solution through a second fermentation process by adding apple or other juices at a 10-20% solution mix. This produces a lot of natural carbonation over the next few days. This mix should be bottled in bottles made to handle pressure. The bottles do need to be opened every few days to release the gas. Waiting too long results in pressured geysers that empty most of the bottle before getting control of the reaction.
Depending on the age of the Kombucha, taste will vary from sweet and bright to a fairly strong vinegar taste similar to apple cider vinegar with the mother.
After anywhere from 1 to a few batches of Kombucha, your SCOBY will produce a baby SCOBY. When large enough, the baby can be separated from mama by gently pulling them apart. SCOBYs may be cut and eaten or cut to suit the size of another Kombucha brewing container. My first SCOBY was about 3 inches in diameter and 1/8 of an inch thick. The "baby" it produced matched the diameter of my large brewer, about 10 inches in diameter and about an inch thick! Anyway, this should get you going. There are so many web sources of info and tutorials that can fill in some of the details I have missed. As usual, the idea is to research, jump in, learn as you go and customize for your needs as you go.
The photos above show a simple compacted demo on how to make Kombucha.
So.... Go ahead. Make your day. Jump into the fabulous world of Kombucha, the drink the ancients called the Tea of Immortality.