Kombucha, Mushroom Tea**

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Mother in Kombucha, ready to be transfered

A kombucha scoby (also known as the mother) is a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. It is a living organism that ferments sweeten tea to become kombucha tea. It has a long history and references to it have been found as far back as 414 when it was given to the Japanese emperor by a Korean healer to aid in healing the emperor’s dis-ease. The kombucha made its way across Asia and into Europe where people recall their grandmothers making tea with a floating fungus on top. Reports of the tea emerged in the 1920’s when scientists started showing interest in the ‘magical’ tea. Most interest stop at the advent of WW2, but the tea made a resurgence in the 1960’s and 1970’s with the health food craze. In the mid 1990’s it became a big health fad because of the benefits of the live ferment. Since then there have been many reports of the amazing health benefits of kombucha and it is becoming a staple in many health conscious households. It is simple to make and delicious to drink!

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look at that gorgeous mother!

Kombucha tea contains acetic and lactic acid, both which have benefits for the body. It also contains a small amount of glucuronic acid (detoxifier). Normally produced by the liver, glucuronic acid is a potent detoxifier. If your liver is overloaded and/or your body is dealing with a lot of toxins (and in today’s world, who isn’t?) it can be a powerful aid to help the body’s cleansing process, and help boost immune system. It is a great thirst quencher and is a tasty, bubbly alternative to the soft drinks.

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what you need

What you will need to make kombucha:

  • 1 gallon of water (and a glass container to hold it) (do not use flouridated or chlorinated water, no water run through a filter. i have found that my well water is perfect for kombucha)

  • 1 cup of sugar (it is best to use plain sugar not honey, not maple syrup or any other sweetener. The sugar is for the mother to eat and most will be consumed by the scoby)

  • 2-4 organic plain black or green tea bags

  • 1 kombucha scoby

  • Boil the water, add tea and let brew.

  • Add sugar and mix thoroughly.

  • When the tea is at room temperature you can add the scoby plus ½ -1 cup of kombucha tea (your mother should come with some or use some from your last batch).

  • Cover the tea with a towel (the scoby need to breath) I put a small plate on top of the towel. Let the tea sit in a warm, dark (not direct sunlight place) and let set for 5-7 days.

    • I recommend that you taste the tea each day. This is a really good way to get to know your scoby and the fermentation process. It also gives you the opportunity to get the taste that you like best

    • Temperature and time play an important role in making kombucha, since both are variable they can speed up or slow down the fermentation process.
  • When the tea has been fermented to your liking it is time for the real fun to begin! Time to flavor your kombucha, unless you like it plain then bottom’s up!

At the flavoring point there is a lot of variation on combinations, even on how to do it. I am going to explain how I add flavor to our kombucha. A quick internet search will give you many other results and ways, it is fun to see how others are making and drinking their kombucha (I’ve even read about fermenting mountain dew with a scoby!!) 

So here goes how I add flavor:

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Strawberry Kombucha
  • After I have removed the scoby and placed her in new tea, I have a little less than a gallon of tea. I use ½ gallon mason jars to flavor and store kombucha. Many choose to do individual bottles but I found this to be too much work for me especially since we are home more often than not.

  • I add the flavor (fruit, herbs, etc) to the ½ gallon jar (enough to cover the bottom in most cases) and then top off with kombucha. I let the jars sit on the counter, lightly cap for a few hours, maybe over night. Then a cap tightly place in the fridge to cool. We drink it at our leisure after that!

  • what are our favorite flavors?, you ask. Well….

    • We love strawberry (whole strawberries covering the bottom of the ½ gallon jar)

    • Ginger root (cut up fresh ginger, about a 1 inch piece)

    • Hibiscus orange rose-hips (a couple of cuties peeled and cut in ½, a handful of dried hibiscus petals, 2-4 dried rose-hips smashed).

    • We like to add lemon to the ginger every once in a while.

    • Fresh fruit that is just at (or a little over) ripe make a good choice too. Cherries, blueberries, raspberries have all ended up in the kombucha jar.


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scobies ready to go 

**this post first appeared on my blog Free-Range Family Farm in August 2016

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