Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How To: Kombucha

Ah Kombucha,
Divine nectar of the Ural mountains,
How many Russian Matriarchs have served you to their tired husbands, sons, and house guests after a long day of work.
How unknowingly did they use you to protect their people from cancer, drunkenness, and the fatigues Russian suffering usually brings.

How satisfyingly do you quench the body's thirst!
How thoroughly do you cleanse toxins from the body!
How instantly do you lift the immune to recover from illness!
How proven is your preventative work against cancer!

You! Effervescent wonder of my kitchen,
You! "Tea Kvass" does not do you justice.
You! Testament to the healing powers of naturally fermented foods everywhere.
You! Replacing my husband's beer at a tenth of the price.

You! Oh Kombucha!
How the world could change if every home kept you brewing, thriving, and transforming sugar, yeast, and caffeine into powerful glucuronic acid and restoring the body's gut flora to the place God designed it to be - a place that knows how to filter, use, and protect the body from all that the world feeds it.

Thank you, Kombucha, thank you.


Step 1: The forbidden items (black tea and white sugar) come out of the closet.

Step 2: 6 Quarts of water boil.

Step 3: 1 cup of sugar dissolves in each 3 quart pot of boiling water. Then 4 tea bags in each pot sit to steep.

Step 4: The tea bags steep until the sweet tea is room temperature.

Step 5: The tea is transfered to a glass or stainless container. "Mushroom" and scooby sit by waiting to jump in.

A closer look at the "mushroom," which is actually a symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria.

Step 6: Pour in a cup of scooby (kombucha from a previous batch), and top with the "mushroom"

View from above:

Then a criss-cross of tape,

and a breathable cover

and a hiding place where the temperature will remain fairly constant between 70-74 degrees
Step 7: Wait 7-10 days, pour, and enjoy. (I will post these pictures once I take them)


  1. Victoria really likes this drink. I'm going to have to try it! Thanks for the instructions on making it - looks fun to do.

  2. How funny! I just sent husband to Central market tonight in search of Kombucha, sadly with no luck. Ummm what is it exactly? And where did you find it?? Im sure if I cracked "The Book" and read all the things I should have in there I would know these things but isn't it more fun to ask lovely you?!

  3. Ok I lied, an hour of wandering produced Kombucha from Central Market. Im not sure what it is yet. But Husband is bringing it home so we can cook us up some.(Im scared)

  4. Deanna - I have noticed that it is now being sold by the bottle! I think you can make it from the store versions and that it will make it's own mushroom, but I have never tried it. I will be down for graduation this weekend and can bring you a starter if you want =)

    Jenn - I just edited the post to add a little introduction to the wonders of Kombucha. Pretty much it's just a fizzy fermented drink that is super good for you.

    How did you like what your hubby brought home? Did he find a starter, or just the beverage?

    See the above comments to Deanna on making it from the beverage. Also, I know Summer used to make it, so she might have a mushroom to spare as well. Each time you make a batch it produces a new layer on the top that can be peeled off and given away as a starter - or you can keep it on there until they start to get old.

    Page 596 in "The Book" =)

  5. This ode to Kombucha is quite something - did you write it?

    And why is black tea forbidden?

  6. Have you read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle?"
    I'm reading it for a book club.
    I think you would really love it!
    I came to tell you about it here no matter what your last post was about, (since I was just reading it and you came to mind) but it fits in well with your post, actually.

    The whole book is based on an experiment to grow one's own food, and to eat locally and seasonally only.

    They talk about the patience it takes to wait for things...asparagus, fruit, etc. But the reward is so great.
    Totally fits in with your Step 7 of Kambucha making.

    As with bread, and other things..the reward of eating something you have prepared and waited for beats going to the grocery store and buying something that was shipped probably 1000's of miles.

    I hope you'll read it...I love it so far.

  7. Deanna - I totally forgot to bring you the Kombucha starter! Sorry. Try, try again. So lovely to see you. I wish we could have sat and chatted somewhere more relaxed.

    Melanie - Ha, thank you. Yes, I penned that in a moment of inspired explanation to answer Jenn's question above of what it is. Black tea is forbidden because of the caffeine =(

    Flo - I have heard of "A,V,M" but have not read it. "Omnivore's Dilemma" has been recommended to me as well. How do you have time to read?! Thanks so much for thinking of me.

    I am currently working on only buying local and seasonal produce. I don't know if we'll be able to give up bananas! But the local/seasonal experiment is my next baby step when it comes to food. Produce in the peak of it's season is definitely worth the wait. The variety is also great for your health.

    I'll have to check out the book. I'm also working on getting only local meat (well, perhaps seafood will be an exception - wild Alaskan salmon is pretty good.)

    I love that you are with me on the good-food-comes-to-those-who-wait thing.

  8. That's funny, I am neglecting some Kombucha in my cabinet RIGHT NOW. Tell your husband he needs my help finding bands for the Extreme Sports Expo... I can help, seriously. Also, Science Heroes has a blog now. So, welcome me to the Blogosphere... or, Bloggesphere... or, whatever.

  9. I have not attempted making this, but if I ever get around to it, I am sure I will refer back to your pictures! Thanks for this post.

  10. Dearest Favorite Hero of Science -
    First, I do not think I have yet thank you for being a science hero.
    Second, I love that there is Kombucha at work helping your heroic science labors.
    Third, I love that you have your own blog now. I will be much more in touch, but I had ALREADY read ALL of it before you even left me this comment - but I was a lurker. I will officially welcome you to the blog-o-sphere at your blog and make it all proper soon.

  11. Heather - I am sure your kids would love it! Do let me know when you join the Kombucha club =)

  12. Ah, thaaaat's nice. I love lurkers. One more little known fact about Science and Kombucha: Josiah and I actually made a weeks supply of Kombucha for our little California tour with Lakes. We got seriously sick of the stuff and grossed out the other band. But I am off the Kombucha wagon now! Tangy bacteria goodness for me, please.

  13. Ha, thanks for the anecdote! I heard from someone else that her husband used to drink SO much of it that his whole body reeked like Kombucha ALL the time - so she made him stop. I think he was drinking a liter a day, or something crazy like that. We are more along the lines of 4-8 ounces a day - per person - and I am rather confident we don't smell like it. All this talk makes me want to go have a glass...

  14. i've been wondering all this time what kind of sugar you normally use when baking... do you use sucanat?

  15. Hi Skylana,

    It depends on what I am baking, but sucanat is off limits for us too.

    I use Rapadura for most baking (like scones, cookies and cakes), Pure Maple Syrup (for ice cream or custards), Honey (with frosting, or instead of jellies), and Stevia (in whipped cream or custom blended teas).

    Hope that helps!