Sunday, November 21, 2010

Homemade Kombucha

Kombucha is a mysterious thing. It usually starts off as tea and sugar, is fermented, and ends up as an elixir with a beery, pungent flavor. I do have experience with fermented things, kimchi being my most favorite. But part of the mystery for me is the strange glob-like substance that is the bacteria starter for the tea. It's called a scoby which is according to, it is a "symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria (the friendly type)". It looks a bit like a moldy pancake. You can see one here. The mystery continues in the origin of the tea. It is believed to have originated in the East, possibly China, and has been around for at least two thousand years.There are many enthusiasts out there that tout Kombucha's magical powers of boosting energy, eyesight, and immunity, among other healthful things. I've had a handful of bottles of Kombucha over the years, and have never really grabbed onto it. I do like the pungent, fermented taste, but I'm not always in the mood for it. I've also been pregnant twice in the past 4 1/2 years, and drinking a mysterious brew did not seem like a wise thing to do. But now there isn't anything holding me back, so why not dive into the whole Kombucha craze! Still, I pass the refrigerated case in the health food store, not paying it much attention. But, what about homemade Kombucha? That got my attention.If you have a scoby (you can buy one, or get one from someone that has been brewing the tea), all you need is water, sugar, and a few weeks. Turns out that my friend PC has been brewing his own Kombucha! PC brought his homemade brew to the office the other day, and offered me a taste. There is a strange little creature floating in the tea, which seems to be a remnant of the brewing process (does it have something to do with the scoby? I need to do a bit more research). I was a little hesitant, but I reluctantly took a sip. What a surprise! It was quite delicious! Unlike most other commercial Kombucha brands I've had, it was very smooth, and not overly pungent. There was a mellow tang about it, and it was very sweet. He started with black Darjeeling tea, green tea, and sugar, then fermented the mixture for two weeks. I didn't really taste the Darjeeling, but the mixture had a slight green vegetal flavor. Apparently the longer you let the tea ferment, the more pungent it becomes. I'm guessing the longer it ferments, even more healthful properties are created.

PC offered to give me a scoby, to let me try my hand at the brewing process. If I can find a place in our apartment that is far away from curious little hands, I might just take him up on it! Stay tuned!


  1. That sounds like a great idea - this post made me want to make my own Kombucha...i'll even try flavoring it with fresh ginger juice ?

  2. Good idea! Ginger is a great flavor to add!