To say kombucha tea is an acquired taste is the understatement of the year. While the nuances of the flavor can change based on the recipe add-ins and length of the brewing period, in essence, kombucha tastes like vinegar. So, why the recent esteem? Because on your way to becoming a kombucha lover, which I am told happens with time, all the touted kombucha benefits make the taste all the more palatable.
Lee Burdette, author of the book and local blog Well Fed Family, has been making kombucha tea and teaching kombucha workshops for about five years and always has a fresh brew going in her kitchen. “It’s very detoxifying and it’s a probiotic. The live bacteria works like eating yogurt as far as giving you good bacteria to optimize your gut,” she says.
Hardly a modern phenomenon, kombucha has been used as a natural metabolic aid and detoxifier since 221 B.C. during the Chinese empire of the Tsin-Dynasty. kombucha benefits
In her classes and on her blog, Burdette suggests starting with basic black or green tea, organic if you’ve got it, and a large (one-gallon) glass vessel (never plastic or metal), such as Mason jar. “Brew the tea—preferably using some sort of filtered water— and add about a cup of raw sugar per gallon of tea,” she says. “Let it steep for about 15 minutes then it cool down to room temperature.”
Then you’ll need to add your kombucha starter culture, otherwise known as the SCOBY, or Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. You can buy these online on such helpful sites as Kombucha Kamp but Burdette suggests reaching out to her or to a fellow kombucha brewer to snag a small piece of their culture.
Since this strange brew is now a live entity, it needs to breathe, so Burdette advises covering the lid with a clean towel or piece of cloth and then securing with an elastic band. Then stick it somewhere it won’t get bumped and wait about a week to taste. kombucha benefits
“It takes about 5 to 14 days for the finished product,” says Burdette, who typically likes the very sour taste a long brewing period yields. “But you can stop the brew shorter so it’s not as sour.”
Avid brewers will move on from the plain version and start to add in things like blueberries, ginger, pineapple, and carrot juice. “You can get as creative as you want to get. I’ve made some that tastes like ginger ale, even some with a root beer flavor. I encourage people to try strawberry or grape flavors first.”
The main point Burdette drives home is to be very hygiene-conscious during the process. “It’s a live and raw product so you have to be clean. Always wash your hands and don’t sip from the brew jar,” she says. Once it’s done, place it in the fridge and the fermentation will stop. From there it becomes a beverage, salad dressing, marinade, even kombucha Jell-o. kombucha benefits
In 2013, Daniel Koenigkann started Living Vitalitea to make what he says is the area’s best tasting raw and organic kombucha tea. His Blueberry, Ginger Honey and Honey Lime varieties are available at Black Bean Deli, Eat More Produce, Fresh 24 and Rhapsodic Bakery.
Whichever route you take, store-bought or homemade, plan on a long falling in love period. And if at first you don’t love it, try, try again. Your gut will thank you. kombucha benefits