Kombucha my Lord, Kombucha
Heiress Camilla Al Fayed just described her new Kombucha room in Notting Hill’s latest health bar Farmacy as something out of Breaking Bad. What is this magic Kombucha and why are health conscious hotties all over the world now home-brewing? Our lifestyle reporter Isabella Barrance gives us the low down.
Approximately a year ago, my mother introduced our household to Kombucha.
Kombucha is a glorious, fermented health drink made from a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast called SCOBY. That cute little name is in fact an acronym (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast), but the raw glob of fermentation is not so pretty. The whole Kombucha process relies on your ability to acquire your first SCOBY, so you really want to tap up some health conscious friends or find some new ones who can help you out.
In the first week we went through the motions, following the instructions to the letter, essentially foster parents to our new SCOBY. It involved dousing this SCOBY (imagine a mouldy pancake that you wouldn’t even feed to your dog) with sugar, tea and water, and leaving it to ferment for a week. Seven days later and the fermentation was transferred (without the mouldy pancake) to four air tight bottles and mixed with frozen berries. For five days I waited with a major case of reluctance and a touch of curiosity – would this taste like any other fruit drink? Or was I about to experience something even worse than the fish oil sachets I was gently force fed as a child.
The time passed quickly, to my dismay, and the day came to try our first batch of Kombucha. Surprisingly, I became hooked straight away. There was a fizzy berry taste with a cider vinegar under tone that refreshed me instantly. I know it’s hard to believe that a ‘fungus pancake’ could taste so good, while looking so awful. I too was most definitely a sceptic in the beginning when the first glass was placed in my hands, but by the time we had gone through our first batch, I was fully converted.
It wasn’t long before guests started to notice our pet SCOBY tucked away in a corner of our kitchen bench and would ask to have a taste. (Even after being told that – no sorry, it’s not alcoholic.) As they would sip at it politely, perhaps with a bit of hesitation, I would become the SCOBY advocate and list all the health benefits of the unassuming concoction:
- Helps fight cancer with glucaric acid
- Strengthens the immune system with antioxidants
- Boosts energy with enzymes and B vitamins
- Aids weight loss with acetic acid and polyphenols
- Detoxifies the body
- Helps the digestive system with probiotics
- Contains glucosamines which ease joint pain and helps prevent arthritis
- Increases serotonin which eases stress
I wouldn’t be surprised if you too soon had guests clinking their glasses together and toasting to their health. Do yourself a favour (before it gets too trendy that you look like a sheep) and join the gang of fellow Kombucha drinkers and SCOBY nurturers, because I have no doubt you will be thanking me the moment you swap that coke can for a tall glass of Kombucha.
- Bring a full kettle to the boil.
- Pour 3 litres of the boiled water into a jug with various green/black tea bags of your choice. (four teabags)
- Add 1 cup of sugar and stir until it dissolves.
- Leave the jug to cool completely to room temperature (do this over night)
- When it has cooled, fill a large brewing jar and place the SCOBY starter and the cooled tea in it. Cover with a thin cotton cloth and leave to ferment for one week.
- After one week repeat stages 1-4 and place aside.
- Using a funnel, pour the mixture from the SCOBY brewing jar into 3-5 bottles. (tip: do not pour right to the top as the pressure from the gas will cause the bottle to pop open.) There should be around two inches of original SCOBY tea mixture still left.
- Using the new tea mixture made in instruction #6, pour into the SCOBY jar and once again cover for seven days and start at #6 again.
- Add frozen berries or a teaspoon of natural fruit flavouring to the bottles and close the top. Leave for 5 days to ferment and enjoy!
Click here to purchase any of these jugs, glasses and glass brewing jars below to get you started.