Culinary + Fashion

Homemade Kombucha | Store Bought Starter Kit

by | Apr 8, 2017

Most of us recall when kombucha hit the shelves of health food chains and speciality markets years ago. This fermented tea beverage, which in its original incarnations demanded much more getting accustomed to, had been a gut health staple for some people for centuries. But it seems GT’s Kombucha really put it on the map and stoked the flames of many many more brands and softer taste profiles to crop up over the years. Making kombucha in small batches is the selling point many brands employ, and making it in really small batches – at home – is actually quite easy to do. I used to make a pretty wonderful tasting kombucha myself, with a “mother” that was gifted by a friend, black and green tea, hibiscus, blueberries, and a little sugar or sweetening. I no longer have the “mother” – or SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) as it’s most often called – the culture starter required for kombucha, so I bought a starter kit from Thrive Market recently for just $10.45. SCOBYs can be used over and over, as they are live, and making kombucha at home is a major money saver. Most kombuchas run from $4-6 per bottle.

Health benefits: Kombucha’s probiotic content of good-for-you bacteria, which aids in digestion and boosts immunity, is its primarily selling point. The SCOBY is the source of this bacteria that our tummies (and in turn our whole bodies) thrive on.

Health warnings: However, some people warn about the dangers of home-brewed and unpasteurized kombucha – potentially made in non-sterile conditions and upping the risk for unhealthy bacteria getting into the tea. Others also debate whether the bacteria is all that powerful and helpful at all. Dissent will always exist in the nutrition and health world, so knowing these criticisms let’s move on.

The kit Thrive Market sells includes pH test strips to aid you in tracking the fermentation process. The pH also indicates alkalinity, which is an ideal state for body thriving.

STEP 1: Select which black, green, or both types of tea you would like to use. For this one, I used one of my favorite herbalists and apothecary companies, Marble & Milkweed, and her Fleurs + Cacao green-based tea. It’s as delicious as you may imagine.

STEP 2: Boil filtered water and let the tea steep for 10 minutes in a container of your choice. Then strain the loose tea out.

STEP 3: Pour your measured vinegar into the now cooled tea.

STEP 4: Drop your SCOBY into the cooled tea and vinegar mixture. I also added some blueberries for additional flavor.

STEP 5: Wet a clean linen of some sort with vinegar and tie with a rubber band or twine around the container in which you’ll be allowing the kombucha to ferment. And wait. Most SCOBYs are a bit more potent and alive than the one included in this kit, so the process generally takes about eight days. This kit advises the process will take 30 days, so…we’ll get back to you regarding the results!