Kombucha tea has been around for about 2,000 years now. Chinese people refer to it as “the Immortal Health Elixir” because of the many health benefits it offers. Kombucha is made from sweetened tea; only it is fermented by a colony of bacteria and yeast.
The flavor of this tea is somewhat interesting. You are able to taste the original sweet tea flavor but the acidic, vinegar-like flavor definitely kicks in. It is available at most health food stores but if you are interested in making kombucha tea at home, read the tips below:
1. Some people prefer using low-grade teas as they end up tasting better than more expensive teas. Do not use teas containing oils (E.g. bergamot oils in Earl Grey) because they can harm your bacterial host: the kombucha fungi. The kombucha culture is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). Some of the best teas to use are echinacea, green, black, oolong, red, white and herbal tea.
2. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you can use decaffeinated tea. You can also try this trick: let your regular tea steep in the cup of hot water for 60 seconds then discard the water. Use the teabags to make your kombucha tea. About 80% to 90% of the caffeine will be released by doing this method.
3. DO NOT wash your hands with an antibacterial soap before making kombucha tea. Doing so can destroy the good bacteria produced by the culture. Just wash your hands with hot water or use plain vinegar to wash your hands and the material you’ll be using. You may want to use non-latex gloves when touching the culture directly.
4. For kombucha tea, refined white sugar works great but you can also use organic evaporated cane juice. Raw sugars are not recommended because they are difficult for the SCOBY to digest. Do not use raw honey either; its anti-microbial properties can kill the culture.
5. Use a big mason jar or any wide-mouthed glass jar as your brewing container. Most people like using a sun tea container. Stay away from plastic containers because they can leach into the kombucha. Metals are not good either because they can corrode or damage the SCOBY.
6. You don’t need to sterilize the jar. Just wash the container with dish soap, hot water and a little white vinegar or ACV. Don’t use bleach to clean your jars.
7. When adding culture to the tea, put the jar somewhere warm and dark. The temperature should be between 70F and 86F. Colder temperatures will make the culture grow slowly.
Kombucha tea is healthy for everyone in the family. Yes, even the kids can drink it! You can flavor the tea by adding strawberries, lemons, peaches, apple or pineapple. Wait for at least 12 to 24 hours for the flavors to come together before serving. Enjoy!