Kombucha is a tea fungus that originates from Japan. It’s been used in Eastern Europe, Russia and Japan for centuries.
The tea originally was drunk only by the kings and it was a well kept Japanese secret for many years. Thousands years ago the Japanese emperor invited the Chinese emperor and by the end of the visit he wanted to give his guest something very special so he gave him the tea. But, the Chinese emperor didn’t want to keep the tea a secret so he shared the fungus with his people regardless of their social status.
Russia has a long tradition in the use of this healthy beverage, among them called “tea kvass” made by the Japanese fungus.
From Russia, the drink spread to Prussia, Poland, Germany and Denmark but it seems to have disappeared during the Second World War. After the war Dr. Rudolph Skelnar renewed the interest for the kombucha in Germany, when he started to use in his practice in the treatment of cancer, metabolic disorders, high blood pressure and diabetes.
When the fungus ferments, many complex reactions are happening. It feeds on the sugar in the tea and in return produces other valuable substances that are part of the kombucha liquid: glycolic and lactic acid, vitamins, amino acids, antibiotic ingredients … This is why this mushroom tea is a real small biochemical factory.
This fungus contains more vitamin C than lemons and contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12. It also contains various types of enzymes and . It is particularly important to emphasize the presence of milk – L acid, which in one liter of liquid can reach up to 3 ml.
For thousands of years, kombucha has been used as a cure for fatigue, exhaustion, nervousness, anti-aging, anti-narrowing of blood vessels, constipation, rheumatism and diabetes.
Russians use kombucha for treating all sorts of illnesses and refer to it as a “Russian home remedy”.
Kombucha also successfully treats inflamed tonsils, diseases of internal organs, primarily of the inflammation of the stomach, small intestine and colon, against diarrhea, narrowing of blood vessels, high blood pressure, sclerosis, etc.
It is a very interesting subject for research among many scientists and it’s been proven that many of its components have antibiotic and detoxification features that play a special role in the biochemical processes.
The tea of this fungus will help you solve various intestinal problems like constipation and hemorrhoids and to fix the flora. Even though it has a sour taste it won’t cause acid refluxes, rather it will improve the digestion. It will also solve your problems with kidney stones, urinary canals and the bile.
The kombucha and its metabolic products have the ability to regenerate cells and can be an excellent cure for arteriosclerosis. It will also cleanse your blood from toxins by stimulating the metabolism.
The kombucha also helps in constant headaches, joint pain, rheumatism and other problems with aging. Its positive action is proved in a few days, through improved general condition and increase of conditional abilities.
Japanese doctor Dan Pon has helped many patients and proved that kombucha can help with the following conditions:
- extends life span;
- prevents formation of wrinkles;
- serves as prevention against cancer, improves breathing;
- relieves arthrosis, positive effect in joint rheumatism;
- cleans blood vessels, beneficial effect of the regeneration of cell membranes and in cardiac infarction;
- enhances the taste of dishes;
- removes disorder in liver;
- reduces body weight;
- removes nausea while driving;
- helps with pox and shingles;
- brings relief in menopause;
- It strengthens the leg muscles;
- enhances potency;
- cure diseases of the hands and feet, back, gray barbell, insomnia;
- strengthens the kidneys;
- softens, cleanses and dissolves gallstones;
- stops diarrhea;
- cure hemorrhoids;
- positive impact on the growth and quality of hair;
- cleans the blood treated myoma on the skin;
- lowers cholesterol in the blood;
- enriches the useful micro flora in the intestines;
- strengthens weakened immunity;
- normalizes acid-base balance
You should bear in mind that since kombucha is rich in organic acids it is possible for allergic reactions to individuals sensitive to acids.
While kombucha can be consumed by small children, it is not recommended for consumption for children under the age of 1 because it contains bacteria and enzymes that could be difficult for the children’s digestive system which is in a phase of forming.
To prepare the kombucha tea, you should make it in a larger transparent glass jar, for example, of five liters. The measures that we have are for a liter, but it is better to make four liters, because it will last just until the next week. Per liter of water should be added hundred grams of sugar and a teaspoon of black or green tea, then boil it and leave it to cool down.
Wash the “mushroom” (available in bio-stores) in warm water and put it in the tea. Cover the jar with gauze and keep it in a bright place eight days in order for the “mushroom” “to be working”. Then decant the tea and drink, and wash the “mushroom” and repeat the process. If there is a long standing without decantation, it will transform into vinegar that can be used for pickling, and the “mushroom” will, most often, recover. In case of prolonged absences from home, the “mushroom” can also be dried between two sheets of filter paper, and later re-used.
Kombucha is not only a fungus. It is actually a mixture of different organisms, including ringworm, yeast and some bacteria (bacterium xylinum, gluconicum bacterium, acetobacterketogenum), as well as pichiafermentantsa. It’s built in the form of a multi-layer membrane, grayish in color and it is not eatable.
It is very important to keep in mind that the beverage must be sweet because it contains glycolic acid, which under normal metabolic conditions is produced by the liver. This acid goes directly into the blood and has a protective role in the human body. By increasing the percentage of acid in the blood leads to excessive acidification, which can greatly disrupt the balance of the organism, and in severe cases, cause death.
For preparation you need:
- 3 1/2 quarts water
- 1 cup sugar (regular granulated sugar works best)
- 8 bags black tea, green tea, or a mix (or 2 tablespoons loose tea)
- 2 cups starter tea from last batch of kombucha or store-bought kombucha (unpasteurized, neutral-flavored)
- 1 scoby per fermentation jar, homemade or purchased online
- Optional flavoring extras for bottling: 1 to 2 cups chopped fruit, 2 to 3 cups fruit juice, 1 to 2 tablespoons flavored tea (like hibiscus or Earl Grey), 1/4 cup honey, 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh herbs or spices
- Stock pot
- 4 liter glass jar
- Tightly woven cloth (like clean napkins or tea towels), coffee filters, or paper towels, to cover the jar
- Bottles: Six 16-oz glass bottles with plastic lids, 6 swing-top bottles, or clean soda bottles
- Small funnel
Be careful: Avoid prolonged contact between the kombucha and metal both during and after brewing. This can affect the flavor of your kombucha and weaken the scoby over time.
Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Drop in the tea and allow it to steep until the water has cooled. Depending on the size of your pot, this will take a few hours. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the pot in an ice bath.
Add the starter tea: When the tea is cool, remove the tea bags or strain out the loose tea. Stir in the starter tea. (The starter tea makes the liquid acidic, which prevents unfriendly bacteria from taking up residence in the first few days of fermentation.)
Then, transfer to jars and add the scoby: Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon glass jar (or divide between two 2-quart jars, in which case you’ll need 2 scobys) and gently slide the scoby into the jar with clean hands. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers tightly-woven cloth, coffee filters, or paper towels secured with a rubber band. (If you develop problems with gnats or fruit flies, use a tightly woven cloth or paper towels, which will do a better job keeping the insects out of your brew.)
Ferment for 7 to 10 days: Keep the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and where it won’t get jostled. Ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking the kombucha and the scoby periodically.
It’s normal for the the scoby to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways during fermentation. A new cream-colored layer of scoby should start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days. It usually attaches to the old scoby, but it’s ok if they separate. You may also see brown stringy bits floating beneath the scoby, sediment collecting at the bottom, and bubbles collecting around the scoby. This is all normal and signs of healthy fermentation.
After 7 days, begin tasting the kombucha daily by pouring a little out of the jar and into a cup.
Next step is to remove the scoby. Before proceeding, prepare and cool another pot of strong tea for your next batch of kombucha, as outlined above. With clean hands, gently lift the scoby out of the kombucha and set it on a clean plate. As you do, check it over and remove the bottom layer if the scoby is getting very thick.
Then bottle the finished kombucha. Measure out your starter tea from this batch of kombucha and set it aside for the next batch. Pour the fermented kombucha (straining, if desired) into bottles using the small funnel, along with any juice, herbs, or fruit you may want to use as flavoring. Leave about a half inch of head room in each bottle. (Alternatively, infuse the kombucha with flavorings for a day or two in another covered jar, strain, and then bottle. This makes a cleaner kombucha without “stuff” in it.)
And finally, store the bottled kombucha at room temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate. Until you get a feel for how quickly your kombucha carbonates, it’s helpful to keep it in plastic bottles; the kombucha is carbonated when the bottles feel rock solid. Refrigerate to stop fermentation and carbonation, and then consume your kombucha within a month.
To make a fresh batch of kombucha, clean the jar being used for kombucha fermentation. Combine the starter tea from your last batch of kombucha with the fresh batch of sugary tea, and pour it into the fermentation jar. Slide the scoby on top, cover, and ferment for 7 to 10 days….
The best ways to cover the jar containing the kombucha is by using coffee filters, gauze, or paper towels and then secure them with a rubber band because other materials may let it fruit flies or other small insects.
To increase or decrease the batch size, maintain the ratio of 1 cup of sugar, 8 bags of tea, and 2 cups starter tea per gallon batch.
If you are going to be away for 3 week or less, just make a new batch of kombucha. It might be a bit vinegary, but don’t worry it will be fine for consumption. For longer breaks, store the scoby in a fresh batch of the tea base with starter tea in the fridge. Change out the tea for a fresh batch every 4 to 6 weeks.
Other alternatives for tea that you can use are green tea, white tea, oolong tea, or a even mix of these make especially good kombucha. Herbal teas are okay, but be sure to use at least a few bags of black tea in the mix to make sure the scoby is getting all the nutrients it needs. Avoid any teas that contain oils, like earl grey or flavored teas.
Never ferment kombucha in metal containers, and try to avoid contact especially with reactive metals like aluminum because it will give the kombucha a metallic taste and weaken the scoby over time.
Vinegar smell is fine, but if the kombucha starts to spread a cheesy, rotten, or other unpleasant smell then something is wrong.
When a scoby turns black color then it means it is past expiration date. If it develops green or black mold, it is has become infected. In both of these cases, throw away the scoby and begin again.