Kombucha (gazoontite)! Have you tried it? You’re totally going to love it – or hate it. Kombucha is a fermented tea, chock full of probiotics. Like yogurt, sort of … only with tea, and stranger (mostly because it is not as widely known or produced). This “Immortal Health Elixer”, as the ancient Chinese referred to it, boasts benefits such as liver detox, immune support, aids in digestion as well as some possibly less substantiated claims such as weight loss and cancer prevention.
I only recently decided to try it. I’ve known of it for a while now, but it always seemed a little gross to me. I had been suffering from a lingering cold that I couldn’t quite kick (despite massive amounts of fruits and vegetables, ginger, local honey, tea concoctions, etc.), and my brother had been talking about it, so I said okay, lets do this. I found a bottle in a grocery store, opened it on the spot and took a big swig, expecting to want to throw up. But oh my god, it was Good! Full disclosure, store bought brands may not be as strong, and often have fruit or other flavors added to appeal to a wider audience. The one I tried was ginger – but you could still taste the vinegary-ness in the lightly carbonated liquid. I happen to enjoy vinegar very much, and that bodes well for someone trying out kombucha. Anyway, I’m hooked now! The drawback is that this stuff is kind of expensive. The cheapest I’ve found locally is $3 for a 16 oz bottle, which is basically one serving. So, I thought I’d investigate making it myself.
It isn’t too hard to make and its very cheap too. You need a gallon glass jar (thanks Mom), a wooden spoon (thanks Mom), some tea, sugar, water, and time. You also need a SCOBY. A weird, jiggly, SCOBY. Just to the left is a picture of the baby SCOBY the day I got it. It is stored in glass with sweetened tea. It should be covered with a light tight knit fabric or paper towel, secured with a rubber band.
SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. It is the thing that turns the tea into this nutrient dense drink. It’s also referred to as the mushroom, or the mother (like apple cider vinegar). It’s pretty gross looking. Even when you know what it is, and how good for you it is, it’s still kinda gross – and weirdly fascinating.
You can buy them online, or grow one from the bits in store bought kombucha, which can be very difficult from what I’ve read. If you are lucky enough, as I was, to know several people who may potentially have one, you might score a baby SCOBY which you can then grow. And, boy, does it grow! Once transferred from its little jar to the gallon one, the thing grows every day! It’s been 7 days now, and the tea isn’t quite ready, but it’s getting there. It still tastes a little sugary and not vinegary enough. Once it tastes right, you bottle it (I’m reusing the glass bottles I bought the store bought kombucha in. I’m saving money all over the place!), and you wait some more while it carbonates.
I’m very excited to continue the process, watch it grow, and have some amazing kombucha for a fraction of the cost! Mariaville Lake B&B doesn’t serve you fermented tea at breakfast, not yet anyways, but we do have plenty of coffee and normal tea to consume with your meal! Stay tuned for some updates!