Kombucha is the product of fermentation, meaning a number of probiotic bacteria are produced in the process. At specific concentrations, probiotic bacteria can help to balance the gut microbiome in humans and improve digestion. Kombucha originated in northeastern China around 220 BC and was initially revered for its healing properties. Eventually, the tea was brought to Europe as a result of trade route expansion in the early 20th Century, before gaining popularity in recent years due to the growing fascination with gut health.
How to make Kombucha
This recipe from BBC Good Food ensures your home-made Kombucha will be delicious, refreshing and simple to make.
You will need:
- 2 organic green tea bags (or 2 tsp loose leaf green tea)
- 2 organic black ta bags (or 2tsp loose leaf black tea)
- 100 to 200g granulated sugar, to taste
- 1 medium scoby, plus 100 to 200ml starter liquid
Start by pouring 1.8 litres of boiling water into a saucepan, add the teabags and sugar (depending on how sweet you like it).
Stir to dissolve the sugar and leave for 6-10 minutes to infuse.
Remove and discard the tea bags without squeezing them. Leave the tea to cool completely before pouring into a large 2.5-3litre glass jar.
Add the scoby and its starter liquid, leaving a minimum of 5cm space at the top of the jar.
Cover the jar with a cloth or kitchen paper so as to let the scoby ‘breathe’.
Secure with an elastic band and label the jar with the date and its contents.
Leave to ferment for one to two weeks at room temperature, keeping away from radiators, the oven or direct sunlight.
Do not put the jar in the cupboard, as air circulation is essential to its development.
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After the first week, taste the Kombucha daily – the longer you leave it, the more acidic the flavour will become.
When ready, pour the Kombucha into bottles, making sure to reserve the scoby and 100 to 200ml of starter fluid for the next batch.
The Kombucha is ready to drink straight away, or you can start a ‘secondary fermentation’ by adding fruits, herbs and spices to the drawn-off liquid and leaving for a few more days before drinking. It will keep in the fridge for up to three months.
Lemon and Ginger Kombucha
Add the zest and juice of one lemon and up to 2tsp grated ginger to 750ml Kombucha and mix well. Pour into a flip-top bottle and seal.
Leave at room temperature for two to four days, tasting daily until it has reached the desired level of carbonation and flavour. Strain and chill to serve.
Add a handful of chopped strawberries, blueberries or bashed raspberries to 750ml Kombucha and mix well. Pour into a bottle.
Leave at room temperature for two to four days, tasting daily until it has the flavour and consistency you like. Strain and chill to serve.
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