It seriously is. How can this stuff be good for me? It is a little fibrous disk that floats and extends tendrils in a pool of sweet tea… It is a colony of yeast and bacteria…deposited on the earth by an alien species…IS IT AN ALIEN SPECIES??
I had to let go and believe. The bacteria in our gut outnumber our human cells 10:1, and that is just a fact. 10:1! The “bad” bacteria there can outnumber the good (or useful) bacteria by 90%. Good bacteria help to digest our food and allows us to absorb more nutrients. By drinking probiotics we have a chance to increase the good bacteria – that is the win.
My initial interest peaked with I was trying to learn more about probiotics and fermenting vegetables with salt. I became interested in kefir and bought some milk kefir grains off Amazon and proceeded to quickly fail. The milk ended up just looking like spoiled milk, which it apparently sort of is, but I could not find the kefir grains…it just looked like spoiled milk curds. The video is very interesting, and I do want to try again, but with some help from someone who does it routinely.
Our Kombucha Start
A friend brought us over a scoby (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria & Yeast – see, total X-File) with about 2 cups of starter tea. We let it sit, and we sort of looked at it, not understanding at all what to do until gnats contaminated it. I don’t think we were committed then. We were interested, wanted to believe, but our bodies didn’t act…maybe standing on the side of a swimming pool with cold water in it… you want to swim, but you just can’t move.
Our gracious friend then brought us over another scoby, and we committed. It is actually quite easy. Just brew a quart or two of tea with a cup of sugar, let it cool, then add to the 2 cups kombucha starter tea, top off with water, and then add the scoby. Here are the specifics we followed, and used 5 bags of green tea.
Just to be funny, I decided to name our scoby Kreature, the house elf who served the noble house of Black (Harry Potter).
So, the scoby went in and we waited and watched for a week. We saw Kreature float from top to bottom. Some tendrils seemed to drop down, and some grew up from the bottom. We had one and a half scobies and both seemed to enlarge. It was definitely alive.
After a week, we followed the directions in this video for the secondary fermentation. We added 1 part mango juice to 4 parts kombucha, and let it sit at room temperature for 1 day. We refrigerated it to get it cold, and then tried it. There was what appeared to be a small scoby growing in the jars, so we used a nylon filter to pour it into our cups.
And you know what, it was really good! Sweet and sour with a little bit of fizz! That was a few weeks ago and since then we have all been drinking it. It is funny to hear my 3-year-old ask “More bucha please!” We have been drinking in moderation for now, as I have heard it can have certain effects on regularity.
Our second brew was with black tea, and you can see that in the above picture. We are going through so much between all of us, we have decided to use the second scoby in another gallon container. One will be for black tea with Kreature, and the other will be for green tea. We have named that little guy Dobby.
We only got 3 quarts from the black tea kombucha, and added mango nectar we got from Costco. It really lightened the mixture up, and I am wondering if it may be too much. I put two in the refrigerator just now (1 day), and will refrigerate the other in the morning (1.5 days). I am interested in seeing how much carbonation we can generate with an extra half day.
So, in about a month, going from being completely uncertain and slightly grossed out to enjoying it and brewing 2 gallons a week!