Kombucha has certainly made its mark in Australia over recent years. While it has long been popular with the integrated health community as a gut- friendly living drink, it has recently gone mainstream and is now available in most health food stores.
Lara Ball of Wild Kombucha by Ballsy shared with us the ins and outs of the new fad, sharing with us her recipe you’ll be itching to try.
What is Kombucha?
Originating in China and commonly referred to as the ‘tea of immortality’ Kombucha is known for its purported health benefits. It ‘s a naturally detoxifying and energising living drink that’s produced through the aerobic fermentation of green tea, black tea and sugar.
A colony of bacteria and yeast called the SCOBY converts the sugars into a range of organic acids which results in a mildly carbonated and delicious tasting brew that has been consumed for centuries in Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe.
Producing a traditional SCOBY fermented kombucha is paramount to the success of it, with the biggest challenge being achieving a consistent final pH, residual sugar and legal alcohol content. In fact, last year in Melbourne the government cracked down on a number of brands due to quality control reasons and illegal alcohol levels.
‘While a small level of alcohol is normal during fermentation, the true level is difficult to accurately measure and can easily increase if too much residual sugar remains in the living brew, says Lara.
Image via pinterest
So why is it all of a sudden so popular?
There has been a growing interest and return to fermented and living foods and drinks as more studies have come out about their various health benefits, and most experts are talking about them.
Furthermore, as the yoga and wellness space grows, so does the desire to consume healthy, conscious products made from ‘real food’. After all, who wouldn’t want to jump on the bandwagon of an ‘ancient elixIr’ that has been revitalized.
Finally, it is a great alternative to soft drink as it still has the bubbles, slight amount of caffeine and is refreshing but it is actually good for you!
Why not try it at home? Read below for Lara Ball’s recipe for home-brewed kombucha – a guaranteed new fridge favourite.
Basic Home-Brew Kombucha recipe
Makes approx 3.5L
14 cups of filtered water
6 standard size tea bags (preferably organic, and best to start with a black tea)
1 cup of cane sugar ( preferable organic)
1 cup of starter liquid (also know as Kombucha. If buying a commercially brewed Kombucha, please be sure to use an unflavoured and definitely an unpasterised one)
1: Heat 4 cups of filtered water, for ideal temperature it depends on what tea you are using – for Black tea 90-95ºC is perfect.
2: Once water temperature is correct, steep tea bags for 15 minutes.
3: After 15mins, remove tea bags.
4. Add 1 cup of sugar to the hot tea mixture and stir, until dissolved.
5. In a new container add the hot tea & sugar liquid with the remaining 10 cups of (cold) water. This will cool your brew down, you don’t want to be adding your starter culture & SCOBY to hot liquid! This will kill your starter and SCOBY.
6: Transfer all the mixed liquid into your fermentation vessel, ensure your vessel is clean and sterilised.
7: Add starter to fermentation vessel.
8: Add SCOBY gently to the liquid in your fermentation vessel and place a clean cloth or tea towel over the top of the vessel.
9. Store your fermentation vessel out of direct sunlight, ideally in a warm and familiar location – don’t hide it in the back of the cupboard and forget about it!. In 1-2 weeks your brew ( or booch) will be ready for tasting. Brew to taste, for some taste buds this is 2 weeks and for others 4 weeks or longer. Remembering the longer you ferment for, the more vinegary your brew will become.
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