If you randomly picked a yoga teacher off the street of NYC, chances are they have a kombucha on them. Kombucha has become so popular and main stream (or at least it seems that way in NYC) that every time I turn there seems to be a new brand of kombucha drinks. I myself have been a lover/drinker of kombucha, since, on top of it being a great health drink packed with probiotics, its bubbly nature has appealed to my non-soda-drinking self.
I don't remember how I was first introduced to this mysterious, naturally effervescent drink—it must have been by a fellow yogi or I must have come across it by my countless trips to the health food store—but this one thing is for sure: my love of kombucha is growing. In fact, love so great I have begun brewing my own kombucha at home.
I had know a few brave souls who brewed their own kombucha in the past, but I was intimidated by the idea of making my own. Sterilization process I saw on the food channel for canning with Alton Brown seemed daunting enough, and I didn't feel equipped for sterilization that was also required for kombucha production. I looked at those home-kombucha-brewer with admiration. I mean, who wouldn't want endless kombucha? With homemade kombucha, you can make kombucha continuously with your initial scoby because it keeps growing and growing.
However, in the end, what I needed was to warm up to the ideas of making my own kombucha, just like when I switched from canned beans to dried beans. Cooking dried beans initially seemed like a lot more work to me, but now it seems like it's no big deal. And there's no comparison in the freshness and taste of the beans!
Alex and Daria are a couple that I've been friends with for several years now. When I met them, I was the crazy health-nuts they secretly laughed about. But now, they seemed to have surpassed my health-nutsness and passionately tell me about the benefits of coffee enema and the importance of having a reverse osmosis water system in our homes. (Alex also lost a ton of weight and reversed aged in the last year.)
They recently added kombucha making to their health regimen, and emailed me pictures of the proud home production.
We decided to meet up a few weeks ago to catch up and have some dosas (fermented crepe made from rice batter and black lentils--a delicious south Indian dish!) at Ganesh Temple near me in Queens. They asked if I wanted to taste their kombucha, and to have some scoby to start my own kombucha production. And this time, I was ready!
Thus, my home kombucha production has begun.
All I needed was the scoby they gave me, tea leaves, jar, and sugar. A lot of people use black tea to make their kombucha but I decided to use green tea for my first batch. Also, I didn't want to use refined sugar (though sugar will be eaten up and processed for fermentation by the scoby) so I used honey instead. The picture at top right is my lovely first batch of kombucha. The thing floating on top is the scoby mother/baby.
I have to say, since I adopted the scoby mother (or baby) from Alex and Daria, I have immediately fallen in love with the scoby. I feel affection for the thing. It is a living thing after all (and I always had a thing for mushrooms). I find myself kissing the jar and saying "I love you" to the scoby. Aside from the fact it will give me an elixir of good health, and possibly save me money on probiotic pills, I think it's cute and it wants my loving. I shall give it love. It has won my heart at first sight.
Here is a picture of the glass of my first ever homemade kombucha. Mmm, yummy.
To good health.
So what is kombucha?
Kombucha is a traditionally fermented, probiotic filled beverage originally from China, made with black or green tea, sugar, and a scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Yes, it does sound a bit scary now that it has the words bacteria and yeast, but the bacteria and yeast present in kombucha are the beneficial kind and not pathogens that can make you sick. Kombucha contains high levels of antioxidants, b-vitamins, probiotics and glucaric acid. It has been said to have a variety of health benefits including:
- liver detoxification
- improved pancreas function
- increased energy
- better digestion
- improved mood (helps with anxiety/depression)
- kills Candida (yeast)
- helps nutrient assimilation
Ready to make your own endless kombucha?
Here are links for more information and how to make your own kombucha: