An Introduction to Kombucha: Care and Advice.
If you have recently been introduced to Kombucha you may have a few questions: In this blog, I hope to answer a some common ones.
Note: This advice refers only to home brewed or artisan Kombucha – not commercially made Kombucha; which is a (very) different drink entirely.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink. Traditionally low in sugar; it has a slightly tangy/sour/tart taste and a naturally occurring (slight) fizz.
Kombucha has been brewed for millennia and consumed for the health benefits that the probiotics, yeasts, organic acids and vitamins it contains.
Real, ‘hardcore’ Kombucha is nothing like the commercially available drink; which tends to be over-carbonated (artificially) and ultra-filtrated to remove much of the live bacteria and yeasts. If you like a fizzy drink, the commercially produced stuff might suit you, but if you want authentic Kombucha with all the health giving attributes, you will need to source an artisan (small scale produced) brand or…brew your own. If you would like to know how to brew your own, email me and I can tell you the basics; or you can attend one of my workshops.
How much Kombucha should you drink?
If you are new to Kombucha, it is probably best to introduce it slowly ie. start with 100-150ml per day and, over a couple of weeks, build up to 250-300ml. This cautionary measure will ensure your digestion is not upset by the introduction of the billions of beneficial bacteria that are being introduced in the Kombucha.
In most people there will be no untoward ‘symptoms’ but those who have a disrupted gut flora or a tendency to poor gut function may find they need to be sipping frugal volumes for some weeks, before increasing the volume of their daily consumption. Best to test and adjust accordingly.
If you are pregnant, taking medication, are diabetic or have a health condition, I would advise you email me so we could talk through the ‘suitability’ of Kombucha for you. This would be ‘free’ advice.
Alive and Kicking!
Kombucha is a live, bio-active drink – full of beneficial bacteria and yeasts. The brew can continue to ferment even once taken away from the scoby (mother culture); it is therefore prudent, if your homebrew is being stored in an airtight bottle, that the build-up of any gases are ‘released’ by ‘burping’ the bottle regularly (daily, if being kept at room temperature). Refrigeration does slow the fermentation rate down, but ‘burping’ may still be advisable if your brew is being stored for long periods.
As the weather gets warmer the kombucha will naturally become more carbonated; therefore in warm weather it is highly advisable to chill your bottle before opening; not doing so may result in ‘explosive’ or very ‘frothy’ opening – and a mess to clear up!
You have tried home-brewing and it’s nothing like the one you tried before.
Kombucha brewing is an art and a science combined; the outcome is often varied at first and a bit of trial and error is required. It definitely need not be onerous.
Identify the variables and play with them; the type of tea you use, the time you allow it to steep, the type of water you use, the temperature of the water, the ambient temperature when left to ferment, the consistency of the temperature when left to ferment, the time allowed to ferment etc. etc.
Keep it simple and focus on getting the first ferment ‘mastered’ – and then start playing with flavours for your second ferment. You may have the odd mis-adventure and a sour vinegary brew in the early days but try not to get disheartened; it’s easy to start over and try again. It will come with a little perseverance – and the health payback will be worth all the effort.