This post has been one of the most requested ones on my social media – I have been sharing that I’ve made kombucha a part of my daily regimen and that I have perfected a very simple recipe on how to make it at home.
In the UAE, you still can’t buy the fermented tea because it’s been proven to contain traces of alcohol. Do not worry – a glass of kombucha will not get you nice and loose: when I say traces I am talking about something as low as 0,01 percent (reliable source: the interwebz). In Sweden you can very much buy it and do so pretty much everywhere incl. gas stations but it costs approx 40 kronor (20 aed) a bottle. If you intend to drink it daily it becomes an unnecessary expense, especially since it is childishly simple to make.
Why kombucha you might ask?
- Numerous articles, podcasts and seminars later I have learned that the health of our skin and gut are interlinked. Listen to this goop podcast (link HERE), read THIS article, or if you are Swedish, buy the book called Kimchi and Kombucha.
- I happen to think that kombucha tastes amazing! Growing up in a Polish household I learned to appreciate fermented foods as Polish people pickle and preserve pretty much everything. Left over cucumbers? Sure. Good plum harvest this year? Ya ok. Found a mushroom when walking your dog? PICKLE IT. (Ok I think you get the gist).
- Despite that sugar is one of the main ingredients of kombucha, it is merely an aid in the fermentation process. The sugar becomes the alcohol and then the alcohol evaporates. The end result is a refreshing beverage that contains 2-6 grams sugar per serving, as opposed to a whooping 24 grams for a glass of orange juice. In other words, if you want to drink something else than water, it is better for you.
Right – let’s get to it.
To make a kombucha you need what is called a SCOBY. SCOBY stands for ”symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast” and is a very very VERY ugly slimey character. There is a reason why I don’t include an image (it would make my blog look ugly) but I trust that you’ll immediately jump to it and google it.
The slimey (sorry I mean scoby) can be purchased online – easily in Sweden, whilst in the UAE I have seen that women on Expat Forum freely share them between one another. Once you start making kombucha the scoby grows and multiplies itself with each batch and you find yourself being the Pablo Escobar of fermentation tools – you suddenly have more goods on your hands than you initially wished for. If you however cannot purchase one you can easily grow one from scratch. I did just that and used THIS recipe. All you need is a serving of kombucha to start with – ideally one where the liquid isn’t clear, so stay away from the mass produced ones and go for an artisanal brand. You want the gunky stuff to float around at the bottom, ideally made by someone that resembles Phoebe Buffay in the early episodes of FRIENDS. Nowadays kombucha is sold as widely as a soft drink and many of the mass produced ones are excessively sweet and filtered to the extent that they’re deprived of the good stuff.
*my only addition to the recipe I linked is that it is essential that you keep the container somewhere dark and warm. I stored mine in the cupboard above my cooker and scobyliscious magic happened.
Once equipped with a scoby you are all set. I brew a large jug of dark tea, using black tea and the cheapest tea bags I can find. There is no need to invest in hand picked leaves and silk pouches – the fermentation will pretty much kill the flavour so the tea is merely a vessel for the bacteria. For each tea bag I add a tea spoon of sugar and do a flavour test at the end. You want the tea to taste dark and sweet, a lot sweeter than if you were to drink the tea as is.
Chill it and iunto a large container it goes – glass, not plastic. Add the scoby and preferably a batch of a kombucha you have made earlier. No lid because the gasses will make it pop, a muslin cloth or a ripped up coffee filter makes will do. The kombucha can now breathe freely and at the same time no flies or debris can invade it. 7-10 days later the tea has now become fizzy, tangy and delicious and your scoby is making scoby babies.
I add a few frozen raspberries into mine prior to drinking it but I will leave you to it to explore the flavour options and share them with me in the comments field. As usual, if you enjoyed the post please please comment, like or share. Blogging is only fun when there is an interaction, otherwise I feel like I am talking to myself and whilst that can be entertaining at times, a dialogue is always enriching. XXX Teresa