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Monday
May302011

[Don't] Shake Your Kombucha

Really, what IS it? Read on to find out ...

This past weekend our little family took a drive west toward Laramie—that'd be Wyoming—to have lunch at one of our favorite spots, Lovejoy's Bar & Grill. The usual routine; lunch at Lovejoy's and then a stroll across the street for a leisurely cup of coffee at Coal Creek Coffee Company.

Coal Creek Coffee Company | Laramie, WyomingThen we trek to the top of the Laramie Railway Bridge where we wait for oncoming trains to race under our feet. One, two, fifteen, twenty, forty-five cars—what a rush!

Laramie Railway Bridge | Laramie, WyomingLastly, before heading home via Happy Jack Road, it's a stop at one of our favorite natural food stores, Big Hollow Food Coop.

This store is a gem!

It's where I pick up vanilla beans for $1.49 a piece and where I first found beet powder.

It's where I buy local duck eggs and bison.

And where I bought this here Oregon Kombucha Company Starter Kit.

A kombucha kit? Yep! Total impulse buy.

I'd tried a few of the store bought varieties of bottled kombucha, why not brew some up myself!?

For those unfamiliar with kombucha, it is a tart and fizzy fermented beverage made from sweetened tea (black or green). For the last 2,000 years, families across Asia have enjoyed kombucha for its purported medicinal qualities.

Once home, and with great anticipation, I dove into my kombucha starter kit.  I pulled out the directions, check. Then some strawberry scented green tea, check. Then a bag of yellowish liquid with a chunk of slimy white matter floating in it.

"What is that!?," my husband remarked.

I hadn't the faintest.

Back to the directions.

Turns out the slimy pancake thing was a chunk of SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). It's the tasty "mother" morsel (not!) that feeds on the sweetened tea and transforms it into kombucha. The blob almost frightened me into forgoing the experiment, but I decided to forge ahead.

With all my equipment sterilized, I got to work. I brewed the tea, dissolved a cup of organic cane sugar into it, let it cool, added the blob and the liquid it swam in to the tea, set it in a warm spot and now, well, now I wait 7-30 days.

Of what little research is out there, kombucha has shown to have antibiotic, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties in lab tests. For me, the verdict is still out. Some sources have scared me into not even wanting to touch the stuff. Others have likened it to miracle water. We'll just have to see how this mad science experiment turns out. Look for an update in a week or two—if I survive the first sip.

More on Kombucha

How to Make Kombucha over at Seeds of Health
Kombucha: What It Is and Its Health Benefits and Health Drawbacks over at Body Ecology
The Kombucha Starter Kit Company Brewing Instructions over at Oregon Kombucha
What is Kombucha? over at Happy Healthy Life

DISCLAIMER: If you are going to try this at home, do so at your own risk—I am. As with anything new, read up on it. Kombucha may not be the right beverage for you. The Body Ecology article above makes the case that kombucha may not be the best fermented beverage for people following the Anti-Candida Diet and/or those with compromised immune systems. It's always best to seek the advice of a nutritionist or doctor.

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Do you drink kombucha? What's your take on it?

Reader Comments (6)

I've been making Kombucha for well over a decade, and have found it to be a delicious digestive aid, easy to make and keep available. It has been a definite boost for my health. I knew an herbalist who actually recommended it for all her Candida clients, and it was a boon to them as well. Have fun!

June 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjoan

I started making my own kombucha about a year ago, but since moving countries recently I have not got my hands on another scoby. I really liked it, although it did take me ages to get over the grossness factor (scoby). I recommend straining the fermented kombucha every time you drink it as it seems to grow new slimy/lumpy bits in it once stored in the fridge for a week or so. There is a lot of people out there saying it's not good for you. But I'd just take it easy, only drink 1 cup max a day and see how you go. Ease your body into it, it is extremely detoxifying. I found I liked it best brewed for 7 days. If you find you are too freaked out by homemade kombucha, I'd recommend trying water kefir. It's so much easier to drink and doesn't have the scary scoby. It is safe enough for kids to drink too and has helped us almost overcome our food intolerances. Good luck!

June 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmm

Joan and Emm,

Thanks for giving me the confidence to try my own homebrew once it's done! I love the taste of the bottled variety that I buy at the store. The kit I got tells you what to look for to ensure the batch is good. Thanks for sharing your experiences with kombucha : )

xoLexie

June 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLexie

I've tried and enjoyed it! A friend of ours gets it from a lady who makes it herself with some crazy gross looking mushroom. Ugh. But it is tasty and I would probably buy this kit if I saw it!

June 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

You are one brave soldier Alexa. I'm still scared of the stuff. Kelly hasn't sold me on it yet :)

June 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlisa Fleming

i tried it for the first time today. I bought a store bought kind. The end was a little weird but it was so yummy! I had a Lavender and Elderberry one. We shall see where this leads. :)

June 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlaina

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