Gut health is one of the biggest pillars of health, which is why I focus so much on it in my naturopathy practice. Currently, most people are affected by anxiety to at least some degree, and, anxiety, immune system, and gut health often go together. Drinking kombucha on a regular basis can play a big role in developing or maintaining a healthy gut, which is why I suggest it so often to my patients.
What is kombucha?
Kombucha is a sweet and sour tasting beverage made from fermented tea that is said to have its origin in Manchuria, China. Typically, it is made from a sugared mixture of green and black tea that is fermented using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The microbial population varies but usually includes living probiotic, living bacteria.
- 2-3 tea bags or 5g loose green and black tea (use a cloth if loose tea bags)
- 50g sugar ( I use black sugar from Little India which colours the tea dark, but gives a nice flavour)
- 1L of boiling water
- You need 2 big glass containers (one can be smaller)
Pour boiling water onto tea and sugar into a big pot. Let infuse for min 20-30.
Wait for the tea to cool down until lukewarm or cold
Pour the tea into a big, clean glass jar
Add the SCOBY and some old kombucha tea (ask a friend to give you a SCOBY, or check on Facebook)
Cover with a cotton cloth and wait for 2-3 days
After 2-3 days, test the taste. If your SCOBY was very small, you can let it ferment longer. If the taste is ok, you can take out the new SCOBY that formed on the surface. It should have a jelly-like consistency. Place your old SCOBY and new SCOBY in a clean glass jar, add min. 1-2 cups of kombucha to keep it covered in liquid. The smell of kombucha should be sweet and sour, a bit like vinegar.
You can bottle your kombucha now and keep it into the fridge. Congrats! You made your first kombucha! This process is also referred to as “first fermentation”.
If you are feeling adventurous and bored by the flavour, you could add spices and fruit into your bottled kombucha (leave enough space in the bottle if you want to add fruits).
- Masala tea spice mix
- Pineapple + fresh peppermint
If you are feeling even more adventurous, you could do a second fermentation by adding for instance
- Red dragon fruit (makes it red if you don’t use black sugar) + ginger
- Passion fruit
Caution: If you make a second fermentation, you must “burp” the glass bottles min twice per day.
In rare occasions, there can be so much pressure in the bottle, that it will be difficult if not impossible to keep the lid closed, and it might spray all over your kitchen (happened to me with passion fruit – it was EVERYWHERE, including the ceiling, pipes, and ceiling fan…). Therefore, I suggest burping the kombucha in a bathroom where the potential damage is limited. Let ferment for another 2 days. If you want to make a second fermentation, you will need high-quality glass bottles with a flip cap.
- stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”
- typically dense, round, rubbery, opaque
- smells mild vinegary
- to be kept in a glass “SCOBY hotel”
- must be covered with a clean cloth so it can breathe and grow
- with every brew you will have another SCOBY, so you can give them away to your friends
If you see maggots or mold (white dots instead of a thick SCOBY that floats on the surface) throw everything away, ask for another SCOBY, clean better this time, and try again.
Jennifer Eisenecker is an ex-banker, German-certified naturopath, and business owner. Knowing how limited time and mind space often are, her recommendations are practical, easy to follow, and as simple as possible.
Jennifer’s multi-disciplinary approach involves going back to basics, looking at health from a trauma-aware perspective, and achieving health by calming down the nervous system to optimize your body’s innate ability to rebalance itself. She loves herbs and natural remedies.