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“It’s better than Sprite, mom” and a trillion times healthier (literally)

I hope everyone had a great Spring Break week whether you stayed at home or traveled. We were fortunate enough to be able to spend some time with the family in Palm Springs and Santa Monica, and what a great trip it was!

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I actually surfed too but will save you from the pics of me in a wet suit (and busting it too many times to count)..

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The Santa Monica pier and our amazing cousins…Untitled-6

 

I’m sorry I’ve been so MIA on the blog lately, but I’m pretty excited to share our new favorite drink, kombucha. As Robb Wolf describes it, “Kombucha is a fermented tea that is a recognized probiotic.  In simple terms, the production involves making sweet tea, adding a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), and letting the SCOBY consume the sugar to produce a drink full of B vitamins, amino acids, organic acids, enzymes, and probiotics.”

Okay, I know I may lose some of you on this post, and I get that. The process of making kombucha, can be a bit…gross, and so it took me years to finally take the plunge. Getting to the point of making something as peculiar as kombucha was an evolution for me. It started with cooking whole healthy foods, then moved to up to making my own bone broth, and well, I’ve since graduated to making kombucha. As some of you may know, I won’t make something unless it’s pretty simple, and well, this is really simple to make!!

For my son, who was born via C-section, I am always trying to increase any good bacteria (article on c-section/bacteria) he can get into his body. I am fortunate that he can swallow a pill so he will take a probiotic on a pretty regular basis. And even though it’s a strong one (20-112 billion cfu), it still can’t compare to things like kombucha, kefir, fermented vegetables, etc. I want Tate to have the benefit of eating fermented foods (since they contain trillions of healthy live bacteria) and well, he doesn’t love sauerkraut, pickles, or my coconut kefir so this kombucha was really my last hope. Why kombucha you may ask? Some of the benefits by adding the good bacteria includes: 

  • Immune Support
  • Reduces Joint Pain
  • Improving Digestion
  • Increasing Energy
  • Cleansing and Detoxification

Here and here are some more detailed benefits of kombucha.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when he said he “LOOOOOVED” his new drink. He actually said, “it tastes better than Sprite, mom!”. 

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In order to make kombucha, you need is SCOBY. You can either get one online from Cultures for Life, you can make one, or you can come get one of mine if you’re in Atlanta (I have about 10 so I’m happy to share)!! First come first serve!

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In addition to your scoby, the only other things you need are:

  • some glass jars (1/2 gallon jar, 1 gallon jar, and 1 or 2 glass  jars to store the kombucha once it’s made-see pics below) 
  • 8 tea bags (green and/or black), I typically use 4 bags of each
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar (you cannot substitute for coconut palm sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar or some store bought unflavored unpasteurized kombucha (for the first batch). Use the kombucha from your scoby hotel from here on so be sure to always add extra to your scobys before you move the the second ferment (with the tall bottles)
  • 10 cups of water
  • 2 coffee filters and 2 rubber bands
  • 1 cup of fresh OJ, pomegranate juice, tart cherry juice, etc. or a handful of fresh berries of choice (we love to use strawberries, raspberries and blueberries- about 5 of each)

I like the tall bottles (far right) best for storage since they help save space in my already overstuffed refrigerator.

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Start by bringing 6 cups of distilled water to a boil. Once it boils, turn the stove off and add 1 cup of sugar. Stir well until dissolved. 

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Then add 8 tea bags and let it seep for 12 minutes. 

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Here is a list of teas and a post from FoodBabe if you need some guidance on which tea to use for your kombucha.

Tea Comparison Updated 2 2015

Then add the additional 6 cups of cold water and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes in the refrigerator or 25 or so on the counter top.

Pour your tea into the gallon jar. Then, add 1 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar or store-bought unflavored, unpasteurized kombucha or if you have some, use starter kombucha (from the half gallon jar with your scoby from your “scoby hotel”). Next, with your freshly washed hands, add your scoby to the tea. Cover the jar with a coffee filter and rubber band and allow to sit for approximately 2 weeks in the winter (somewhere it can get some sunlight inside the house) or about 7 days in the summer.  

During the week or two of fermentation, a new scoby with evolve on the top of your tea (see below). Once it’s at least 1/4 inch thick, it’s ready to add the finishing touches. Take the scoby out and move it to the half gallon jar and pour about half a cup of the tea from the gallon jar. Cover with coffee filter and rubber band and store it on your counter. I know, it’s not the prettiest counter-top decoration but it certainly is a conversation starter.

Now, with the rest of your tea (from gallon jar), pour it into smaller bottles or glass containers (see above) and add your juice. We like the taste of pomegranate juice or the anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherry juice. Everyone’s taste buds are different but we usually use about 1 cup of juice or enough to let the kombucha equal to approximately 10% juice and 90% tea. You could also add a handful of fresh berries if you’d like. My next batch I am going to try using a handful of strawberries and a few slices of lemon. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Anyway, allow it to sit and brew with the lid on for another 1-3 weeks (the longer it sits, the more fizzy it will be) and then you are good to go!

Now…you’re done. I promise, it gets easier and easier each time you make it and honestly, besides the boiling, seeping and cooling, and fermenting time, it’s only about 5 minutes of actual work. See, I told you it was easy!! 

Look at that thing. It makes me so happy!!

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I also have used the larger wide mouth jars (see far right) for storing my kombucha. I got my glass jars from Target since they have so many different options.

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Go for it! Continue that food evolution and enjoy a fabulous tasting and super healthy drink!

Kombucha
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Ingredients
  1. 8 tea bags (black, green or combo)
  2. 1 cup organic cane sugar
  3. 10 cups water
  4. 1 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar or some store bought unflavored unpasteurized kombucha (for the first batch). Use the kombucha from your scoby hotel from here on so be sure to always add extra to your scobys before you move the the second ferment (with the tall bottles).
  5. approximately 1 cup juice (or to taste) of orange juice, pomegranate juice or a handful berries
Instructions
  1. Combine hot water and sugar in a glass jar.
  2. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
  3. The water should be hot enough to steep the tea but does not have to be boiling.
  4. Place the tea bags in the sugar water to steep for 12 or so minutes.
  5. Cool the mixture to 68-85ºF.
  6. Remove the tea bags from the liquid.
  7. Pour into your gallon glass jar.
  8. Add starter tea from a previous batch to the liquid. If you do not have starter tea, distilled white vinegar OR some kombucha from the store that is unflavored and unpasteurized may be substituted.
  9. Add an active kombucha scoby.
  10. Cover the jar with a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band.
  11. Allow the mixture to sit somewhere in the house where it can get some sunlight for 7-14 days, or to taste. The longer the kombucha ferments, the less sweet and more vinegary it will taste.
  12. Take the scoby and put it in the half gallon jar and add some tea to it (about 1/2 cup) to use as starter tea for the next batch.
  13. Pour the rest of the tea into your glass jar or bottle and add juice (to taste), if desired. Allow to sit or brew for another week or so (the longer it ferments the more fizzy it will get) and then enjoy!
Notes
  1. For trouble shooting, check here for a great resource: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/kombucha-troubleshooting-frequently-asked-questions-faq
Stir It Up! http://stiritup.me/

  • Courtney Ward - Love Kombucha! We recently moved and my scoby(s) didn’t make the trip with us. I would love to get a Scoby from you to start another batch going!
    I’ve also never tried with Pomegranate juice… That sounds like a good combo. Thanks for sharing the receipe!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda Fraraccio - oooh, I’ll take a scoby! I would love to try this! Just let me know when and where to pick up if you have any left.ReplyCancel

  • Ann Murphy - I would love a scabby if you will tell me when you would like for me to pick it up. I have been researching this for a bit and have just been hesitant to try it. But after reading your post, I am ready to jump in! I enjoy the ones I buy, but I know I would enjoy my own much more! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Ann Murphy - SCOBY…grrrr, autocorrect!ReplyCancel

  • Coleen - Coincidentally, a “kombucha bar and brewing company” opened recently near where I live and I tried a sample today. It was good, but had a rather “medicinal” kick. Is this normal? Here’s their Fb page: https://www.facebook.com/onekombuchaReplyCancel

    • landriav - Oh that is great Coleen! It could have a vinegar like kick if it has fermented for awhile. It’s a balance between getting it bubbly but without the vinegary taste and too sweet. Just think of it as getting so much good bacteria that it ate most of the sugar that was originally in the kombucha.ReplyCancel

      • Coleen - That was their “on tap” Kombucha. I bought a couple of bottles ($3.00 for 12 oz.) and I liked it better. I just found out that you can buy larger bottles and get them refilled.ReplyCancel

  • amanda - Landria, a friend who lives in Austin and makes her Kombucha suggested adding a raisin or 2 during fermentation then straining as that adds carbonation without impacting flavor or sugar. It’s so hot there her tea gets overpowered by vinegar before it gets carbonated enough for her taste. Wondering if you’ve ever heard of that or tried it?ReplyCancel

    • landriav - Hey Amanda, Hmm I havent heard about that but it sounds very interesting. Please let me know if it works!ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte - So this will go on my aspirational cooking list – maybe when baseball season is over! So for the very time strapped , can you recommend a brand/flavor that you like that I can buy at Whole Foods?

    Thank you!!

    CharlotteReplyCancel

    • landriav - Ha, I love it Charlotte! For now, I do love Ancient Awakenings but it’s pricey at $6 per bottle! But, because it’s so good (with LOTS of good bacteria), you don’t want to chug the whole thing in one sitting (unless you dont mind being bloated :)). A bottle like that will usually last me about 4 days so I can have sips thought out the day. I love the peach orange mango one! It’s SO good!!ReplyCancel

  • Ann - just bottled my third batch and started my fourth batch this morning! thank you again for making it so easy to begin. have loved the tart cherry juice and pomegranate versions. leaving this batch plain to see how we like it.ReplyCancel

    • landriav - Awesome!!! SO great to hear Ann! 🙂 I’m trying grapefruit/orange next. Will let you know how that turns out!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren Ledford - I’d like one too! Let me know if you still have some and I can swing by whenever. I have been a fan of Kombucha and treat myself to the store bought kind, and have been wanting to make it for SO long. Love the blog by the way… How am I just now seeing it!!!???ReplyCancel

    • landriav - Of course Lauren! I can give you one when I give you your CD, which should be soon, I promise!! It’s SO easy to make it. And the kids will love it!! 🙂 Oh and thanks re the blog!!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Lori - I have really been wanting to make this as I spend a fortune on the store bought versions. I think I am near you, do you still have scobys?ReplyCancel

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