Kamboucha Tea may not look much like your average brew, but this ancient super drink is packed with probiotics, Vitamin B and antioxidants…
It’s the Asian fermented drink known as a health elixir due to the belief that it boosts healthy gut bacteria and aids the immune system. Kambouchas is also referred to as Mushroom Tea (because the culture resembles the cap of a mushroom), and is becoming increasingly popular in the west. But the prospect of brewing your own can be a little daunting, I’ve been making Kamboucha for the past six months and after requests from my yoga students, I thought I’d put together a simple guide to help get you started…!
Kamboucha is cheap and relatively easy to make – all you need is a SCOBY (more about this later), black tea bags, white sugar, starter tea or white distilled vinegar, a glass jar and a lightweight cover for the jar (coffee filter bags are perfect).
The taste varies depending on how long is has been brewed – once you’ve made the tea you tend to leave it anywhere from seven to 30 days. The less time it brews the sweeter it tastes and longer brews can taste a little sour. But the longer the ferment the richer the probiotic content!
The first time I took a sip I was surprised that is was fairly sweet and ever-so-slightly fizzy – a bit like ginger beer. I used to make milk kefir but have found kamboucha to be much easier to make and less maintenance.
I make a few batches at a time and leave them to sit on my kitchen worktop. Once it is ready you can do a second ferment and flavor your kamboucha with fruit – I just use ginger as I have found that is the perfect addition to the brew, but you can have fun experimenting!
You’ll need a SCOBY which is an acronym for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. You can buy dehydrated SCOBYs or you might have a friend who can give you one. If you are local to me (Northern Beaches of Sydney), let me know and I am sure I will have one to give you.
Once you have your SCOBY you’ll need:
A glass jar
An elastic band
A lightweight cover (such as a coffee filter bag)
1: Make the black tea (I used to do this in a teapot but now find it is easier to make in a saucepan – adding the sugar and around four tea bags), use around one tablespoon of white sugar to every cup of tea, allow the sugar to dissolve and the tea to cool. Use plain black tea bags – Kamboucha prefers no frills tea and the no frills white sugar!
2: Then, when the tea is cool, add around a quarter black tea to a quarter starter tea (or distilled white vinegar) and then add in the Scoby.
3: Place it out of direct sunlight and cover with a coffee filter bag and elastic band. Label it so you know what day you started brewing and then monitor and taste it every few days to check.
When you are ready to drink – then wash your hands and remove the SCOBY – you will find that another SCOBY has formed from the Mother Scoby! (yup – these little suckers are alive and like to breed!) this is great as you can now double your batch or give the SCOBY away.
Then pour the tea (leaving about a quarter as the starter tea for your next batch) into a glass bottle (with a cap – to help keep in the fizz) If you want to, add ginger and then leave for 24 hours before putting in the fridge. If you prefer plain Kamboucha put the bottle straight in the fridge. Then drink as required.
Try to sip a small amount at first – perhaps half a wine glass – then as your body gets used to it you can increase your daily intake.
* Always wash your hands before handling the SCOBY and if the SCOBY looks green, black or mouldy then throw it away and start again although amazingly this has never happened to me!
And if you are pregnant or breastfeeding then it is probably best to avoid – although many people believe it is fine to drink at this time.
There are also some great websites packed with masses of information. I’ve found this is one of the best: Cultures for Health
But happy to help if you have any questions! Just comment below and I’ll do my best to help!