Blog: The Gathering Place
by rudenski

Make Kombucha Tea

I am going to see about making my own Kombucha Tea.


Date:   5/20/2006 7:43:42 PM   ( 14 y ) ... viewed 5736 times

Kombucha Tea.

The Kombucha organism is a symbiotic colony of yeast's and bacteria that form a strong membrane that covers the liquid/air interface of the vessel it grows in. Most people who grow it do so in their own homes, under less than sterile conditions, yet Kombucha rarely becomes contaminated with rogue varieties of moulds and bacteria. To grow it, you take a batch of weak to moderately-strong black tea, sweetened with white sugar, that has been cooled to room temperature, and float the membrane in it. Within a week to 10 days, the Kombucha organism converts the tea into a fluid that is drunk several times daily by the patient. Since the Kombucha is a form of life called a vinegar mother, the organism that converts, say, apple cider into apple cider vinegar, the brew becomes more acidic as it ages. After the brewing period is complete, the liquid is strained, refrigerated and drunk. The organism is then put into a new batch of tea (with a bit of the old liquid as a "starter"); often a second membrane will appear, and they can be separated to start another batch.

The working of the organism in the liquid reduces greatly the sugar and caffeine content of the tea, and produces large amounts of B vitamins, minerals, substances that are reported to act as anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents, and various acids, as well as unknown substances. It produces a very tiny amount of alcohol as well, perhaps as much as 0.5%, making it like non-alcoholic brews. The flavour takes some getting used to, but is not unpleasant, a bit fruity and vinegary. The organism itself is not consumed,only the tea.

Cautions: the greatest danger is inadvertently consuming a bad batch of tea that has been contaminated with outside, disease-producing fungi or bacteria. At least one disease-producing bacteria has been found in a batch of tea and this has been linked with fatalities. People with hepatitis don't need the added strain of an induced illness. Fortunately, it is easy to detect a contaminated batch. Other concerns are that the unnecessary consumption of antibiotic and antiviral substances could encourage the mutation of existing pathogens into more resistant strains. I encourage people who are not chronically ill to avoid taking kombucha as a dietary supplement for this reason. Kombucha seems to have a slight laxative effect on some people.
http://www.hon.ch/Library/Theme/HepB/comp.html

This healthful beverage made from tea, sugar, and a fungal culture mushroom is relatively easy to prepare. You may obtain a kombucha mushroom culture from a friend or from a health food market.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 6-15 days
Here's How:

1. Wash all utensils with hot sudsy water and rinse well.

2. Boil three quarts of purified water.

3. Add 1 cup white sugar to water when a rolling boil is reached. Boil water and sugar for five minutes.

4. Turn off heat and add 4-5 tea bags of black or green tea.

5. Steep 10-15 minutes and remove tea leaves or bags and let tea cool (it doesn't hurt to steep the tea longer).
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6. Pour cooled tea into gallon size glass container.

7. Add your Kombucha culture placing it so that the smooth shiny surface lies up. Add 1 cup of fermented Kombucha Tea from a previous batch (or substitute 1/4 c. distilled vinegar).

8. Place cheesecloth over the opening of the jar and secure with a rubber band. This keeps dust, mold, spores and vinegar flies out of the fermenting tea.

9. Allow to sit undisturbed in a well ventilated and darkened place away from direct sunlight (temp. 65-90 degrees F.) for 6 - 15 days.

10. To make sure the tea is ready to harvest, pour off a couple of ounces for a taste test.

11. Taste Test: A taste test on a batch of Kombucha Tea may taste like this: 4-6 Days - Too sweet, not all sugar converted. 7-9 Days - Tastes like sparkling apple cider. 10+ Days - Vinegar taste becoming prominent.

12. When the tea is brewed to your taste, remove the two cultures.

13. Gently separate and place the cultures in a glass bowl covered with plastic wrap or a plastic container and refrigerate. They will keep refrigerated for approximately six months, possibly longer.

14. Pour the fermented tea through a coffee filter and bottle it into glass or food-grade plastic quart bottles.

15. Date and label the bottled tea and put it in the refrigerator.
Tips:

1. 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar can be substituted for the fermented tea starter.
2. One of the four tea bags can be substituted with an herbal blend for variety.
3. Sometimes the culture floats on the surface, sometimes it sinks to the bottom of the liquid. Either way is okay. When the culture sinks to the bottom a new culture (baby) will begin to grow on the surface of the tea.

What You Need:

* four-qt. cooker
* notmetalic spoon
* teaspoon
* measuring cup
* one gallon glass jar

http://healing.about.com/cs/herbaltherapy/ht/How_Kombucha.htm

Kombucha Recipe : How To Make Kombucha Tea
*IMPORTANT Please remove your Kombucha Colony and Starter-tea from the container you receive it in and place in a glass jar or bowl, with a cloth or coffee filter cover secured with a rubber band. You may leave it at room temperature. Brew your first batch of Kombucha tea as soon as possible. Enjoy!
Things needed for Making Kombucha
Ingredients

1. Starter. 1 to 2 cups (250ml. to 500ml) of original, unflavored, Kombucha tea, or 1/4 cup (63ml) of Distilled Vinegar (use _distilled_ vinegar only if no starter is available).

2. Kombucha Colony.

3. Pure, chlorine free, water

4. 1 1/3 - 1 2/3 cups (333ml -417ml) preferably organic sugar. Don't use raw honey - its antibacterial activity could change your colony. You can use white cane sugar. Note: both liquid and dry ingredients are measured using the standard metric measuring cup, that measures in ml; the sugar isn't measured by weight. (kg)

5. 5-6 tea bags (preferably organic) tea for each 1 gallon of Kombucha you want to make. (you can use a combination of various Blacks, Oolong, and Green teas. 15 grams loose tea leaves equals 5 tea bags. (one cup size tea bags) .

Utensils

1. A tea container. A large glass or stainless steel sauce pan for the water/sugar/tea mixture. (Don't use aluminum.)

2. A fermentation container. A one or two gallon (U.S. gallon = 3.785 liters) glass container with a wide opening works well.

3. A plastic funnel.

4. A strainer (cheesecloth, plastic, or glass).

5. A glass measuring cup.

6. Glass storage bottles for storing the Kombucha tea you've made.

7. A clean closely woven cover for your jar (a napkin, handkerchief, paper napkin, or paper coffee filter). Don't use cheesecloth!

8. Large rubber band to secure the cover to the container.

Making Kombucha
Preparation

1. Remove all rings from your hand.

2. Wash your hands and rinse them well so you don't have any soap residue left on them. Use a nail brush.

3. Wash and rinse the fermentation container. Be sure to rinse very well.

4. Put 4 cups of chlorine free water into the stainless steel or
glass pan that you’re going to use to heat the water, sugar and tea.

To get rid of the chlorine in your tap water, boil it uncovered for 5 minutes. You can also get rid of
the chlorine by letting the water sit uncovered for 24 hours. This will
allow the chlorine - which is a gas - to dissipate naturally. Natural
mineral water would also be safe to use."


5. Add 1 1/3 to 1 2/3 cups (333ml to 417ml) of sugar to the water before it boils. Stir the sugar into the water as you bring it to a boil (to keep it from burning on the bottom of the pan). Use Organic sugar if possible.

6. When the water/sugar mixture boils, turn off the heat. You may boil it longer if you need to purify your drinking water.

7. Immediately add 5 or 6 bags of Organic tea to the water/sugar mixture. You can use varieties of black, oolong or green teas.

8. Let it steep, covered, with the heat turned off for around 15 to 30 minutes.

9. Remove the tea bags.

10. Pour 3 quarts of cold water into your fermenting container. If you are not sure of the safety of your drinking water boil it first!

11. Pour the tea, sugar, water mixture into the fermenting container with the cold water.

12. Wait until the liquid in the fermenting container cools down to room temperature. Kombucha prefers a temperature of around 75-85 degrees F.(73-83 degrees means 22-27 centigrade).

13. Pour half of the Starter into the Fermenting Container and stir.

14. Place the Kombucha Colony into the Fermenting Container. Pour the rest of the Starter on top of the Colony.

As the new colonies grow; discard any old and worn colonies. (You may wish to put them onto your compost heap.) Be sure to set aside a spare colony in enough Kombucha tea to keep it covered with liquid. You may store it covered with a cloth at room temperature or refrigerate it. Better yet; give it to a friend:-))

15. Cover the Fermenting Container with the cloth or paper cover, and fasten it with a rubber band.

Fermenting Kombucha
1. Put the Fermenting Container in a quiet place. Don't move it until you decant it.

2. Keep it at around 73-83 degrees F. (22-27 Centigrade), and out of direct sunlight.

3. Don't smoke or grow plants around your colony, (it may cause mold, "mould").

4. Fresh air and warmth are important for Kombucha.

5. Rarely molds may form on top of the culture that look fuzzy like bread mold. Their color may be white, green, or black; powdery in appearance. If molds develop throw it all out and start over again with a completely new colony.

6. How long to ferment: On average, after 7 days it will be slightly more sweet than sour. At 8 days it will be more sour than sweet. After 8 days it becomes progressively more sour until it turns into a delicious mild table vinegar. Suit your own taste. Speed of fermentation depends on many factors including brewing temperature and the width of the opening of your container and its size. Taste to be sure. Whenever it tastes the best to you, decant and enjoy it.

Harvesting Kombucha
1. First remove the Colony from the fermenting jar and put it into a glass pie-plate or container. Pour in enough Kombucha liquid to completely cover it. It is best to begin your next batch of Kombucha right away. (If you need to store it for awhile, you may do so in your brewing jar, at room temperature, in it's own Kombucha tea, covered with a cloth.)

2. Save 1-2 cups (250-500ml) Kombucha liquid for your next Starter. Keep the Starter unflavored (otherwise you could alter the chemistry of the Kombucha).

3. Pour the remaining liquid into your glass bottles. Some people prefer to strain their Kombucha while bottling.

4. Seal the bottles and refrigerate. The Kombucha tea can keep at least a year or so, if refrigerated. It is normal for the liquid to develop a small Kombucha Colony even in the sealed bottle.

5. If you need to store the Kombucha Colony for a week or two, keep it in plenty of Kombucha tea, Keep it in a glass jar covered with a cloth. The lower the temperature the slower the fermentation. When you want to start making Kombucha again you can use this liquid - even if it is vinegary - as Starter. It is easier to start a new batch at the same time that you decant the one you just made.

Using Kombucha
1. If you wish, you can flavor the Kombucha tea that you will drink when you bottle it. Try using pieces of ginger, berries, lemon juice, preserves, extracts, or herbs. Feel free to experiment with various flavors. We do not recommend flavoring the fermenting tea because it may effect the constituents of the Kombucha Colony in an unpredictable way.

2. If you take the bottled Kombucha tea out of the refrigerator for a long time loosen the air tight seal. (At room temperature carbonation will build up and the bottle may break.)

3. You may prefer to let the liquid come to room temperature before drinking. Some prefer it cold. Don't overheat the liquid; heat will destroy some of the healthful benefits.

4. If you are using Kombucha for the first time you may wish to start with 1 ounce (30ml.) a day or even less for the first week. After that you may increase the amount slowly ounce by ounce. Go by how your body feels. Be sure to always drink lots of plain water too! In the beginning you may prefer to take your Kombucha with meals rather than on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
http://users.bestweb.net/~om/kmi/manual.html

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