Homebrewing Party: Let's Make Kombucha!

Homemade Kombucha
 

Last year I got in deep with brewing my own kombucha. It was like my child: I nurtured it, watched it grow, and drank...never mind on that last part. Yes, it was like my child until I actually got pregnant with a child and there's only room for one around these parts. 

(What actually happened is that every single smell triggered my nausea so bye-bye kombucha.)

But for a while, we had a continuous weekly stream of delicious, fresh kombucha. I tried all sorts of different flavors which made my tongue and my gut happy. Is this getting weird? I’m sorry. What I’m trying to say is this: I want to brew it again. And I want you to do it with me.

 

What is kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented tea. (Sounds delicious, right?) It originated in China about 2000 years ago and now you can find it on just about every grocer’s shelf, from Whole Foods to Wal-Mart. 

 

Why should I be drinking kombucha?

Personally, I drink kombucha for two reasons: I like the taste and I like the health benefits. And to be totally honest, the first time I tried it I felt my shoulders start to relax in the same way they do when I drink wine. Magic, I tell you.

I started drinking kombucha because I was looking to add fermented foods to my diet but I wasn’t eating dairy, and sauerkraut just isn’t my thing. It was weird at first, but then I was hooked. Similar to my Game of Thrones experience.

If you’ve tried it and you didn’t like the taste, I’d implore you to try, try again. I like certain brands and flavors better than others. Some brands try to sneak Splenda or some other nasty fake sweetener in there and you just don’t need it! My favorite off-the-shelf is GT’s Trilogy. It’s raspberry, lemon, and ginger with just the slightest hint of a wine buzz.

 

Here are a few of the health benefits: 

  • The acids may improve digestion and encourage regularity
  • The “good bacteria” help restore your body’s pH balance, which then makes you more alkaline, which then creates a healthy gut—one that doesn’t rely on sugars for energy
  • It helps your body to absorb nutrients and supports a healthy immune system

I’ve found that drinking kombucha generally makes me feel relaxed yet energized, and my ability to focus increases. And as much as I love coffee, a cup in the afternoon more often triggers anxiety and a quick spike of energy—not exactly what I need to power through that afternoon lull.

 

What are the benefits of making it at home?

SO many benefits but I’ll focus on two: it’s fun and it saves money. 

I’ve always been fascinated with making things at home that seemed impossible: cheese, butter, Pop Tarts...ya know, that kind of thing. Homemade always tastes better made with fresh ingredients, and kombucha (in my experience) is no different. 

The thing about kombucha is that it’s best if you drink it as part of your daily diet. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to drop $4 a day on a bottle. Homebrewing was my only option, so I did the math: a continuous batch of home brewed kombucha makes 6-16oz. bottles per week. That’s $24 in store-bought kombucha. If you purchase all the tools and ingredients you need to get started with home brewing, you’re looking at about $50. That means that 3 weeks in, you’re already saving money. And I like that math :)

 

Wanna brew with me?

So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to brew some kombucha, and we’re going to do it together. Kombucha needs a mother, or a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast), to get started. This is a nasty-lookin’ jellyfish-type thing that you can either buy or grow yourself. In reference to my “fun” point above, I prefer to grow it. Think of it as a science experiment.

I’m going to give you a list of tools and ingredients and we’ll start this brewing adventure together on February 1. I’ll be checking in here with instructions, resources, and updates, but the majority of this family brew-fest will be happening on Instagram, so make sure you’re following me. AND, if you want to join in, leave me a comment on this post with your IG handle so I can give you a follow. #followforfollow #butreally

 

Let's go.

Ready? Here’s what you need to get started. Make sure you have all these things in your pantry and then come back here February 1 for round 1 of instructions. Brew party, here we come.

You'll need:

 
 

Pakkon Wide Mouth Glass Mason Jar
Newman's Own Organic Black Tea
Wooden Spoon
Case of 6 - 16 oz. Easy Cap Bottles

A large pot to boil water/brew tea
Paper towels
A rubber band or hair tie
White granulated sugar
One 16-oz. bottle of unflavored, unpasteurized store-bought kombucha like GT's original flavor:
 
 
Source: The Kitchn

Source: The Kitchn

Let's do this! Leave a comment below if you're in to brew some some fizzy effervescence.

 

Sources and Resources: The Kitchn | Kombucha Kamp