Maybe those first two words, Kombucha and Waterkefir, are completely strange for you, maybe you are already acquainted with them. The truth is they are around since thousands of years! What is Kombucha really? You might ask.
Kombucha is a specific variety of fermented, bubbly tea drinks, always sweetened and often with a small percentage of alcohol. It is produced using a symbiotic culture as seen in the picture above. That, ladies and gentlemen , is a SCOBY, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. What the scoby does while floating in the sugary tea, is simply put, eating the sugar and emiting in the tea numerous beneficial substances (like all fermented foods do) like vitamin B complex ,carbon dioxide and probiotics. The latter are extremely beneficial for your gut. Kombucha as well as waterkefir have those above mentioned properties and are favored from more and more people as they gain popularity the last years. Both Kombucha and Waterkefir cultures , are considered to be a kind of mushroom and the tea drinks made of them are especially beneficial for vegans, since they are a great source of probiotics (vegans do not consume yoghurt , which is sadly the most popular source of probiotics in the pop culture) .
In general Kombucha that is carefully made is a great source for probiotics, can help the overall gut condition, can help with digestion issues, and studies has shown that due its high potency in acetic acid can kill unfriendly bacteria such as candida.
It is quite simple to make Kombucha at home, provided you do some fundamental homework first. Another tip I would give you, is to find a community of supportive and well informed people, for instance a Facebook group, active blogs or forums, because more often than not at the start of brewing questions will pop up. The great things with those communities is that they are interactive and willing to help you brew healthy and tasty fermented drinks!
To start you will need
- a SCOBY as seen above, ( or waterkefir crystals)
- green tea such as gunpowder , sencha, bancha and jasmine OR black tea such as chinese yunnan or english breakfast OR white tea OR Oolong tea such as Iron Buddha and Alishan OR Rooibos tea OR Herbal teas such as Chamomile , Peppermint, Yerba Matte and Hibiscus, which is my personal favorite.
- plain sugar
- a squeaky clean glass jar of 1,5 Its or more (in my experience what best works is a jar of 3ltrs)
- a clean cotton towel to cover the jar
TEAS I RECOMMEND FOR BREWING :
Make sure to avoid : decaffeinated teas, flavored teas, medicinal and antibacterial teas and strongly flavored teas , since all the above have properties that will immediately or in the long run destroy your culture.
Always remember that your SCOBY is living through the tea you provide it with. Make sure to choose tea of high quality in order to get all its amazing benefits and keep your culture a happy and healthy.
A SCOBY with 5 to 10 cm diameter will ferment tea between 1 to 5 liters . So :
- brew your tea : for every liter of water use a cup of loose leaf tea or 10 tea bags aprox
- let completely cool, tea and scoby MUST be at the same temperature
- put the tea in a clean glass jar
- for every liter of tea use a full cup of sugar/stir till diluted completely
- place your SCOBY in the sweetened tea
- let sit for 10 to 15 days depending on the temperature : the perfect temperature for fermentation is 37 degrees Celsius and anything higher or lower than that will change the fermentation progress. That is nothing to worry about, practice makes perfect!
Read this book for full Kombucha brewing instructions:
*For friends that are fluent in German/Fuer Freunde die etwas auf deutch lesen wollen, hier ist ein super Buch!*
Find a complete , organic and fair trade Kombucha starter kit of great quality here.
If you would like to save some money but enjoy the same quality use this link! (SCOBY only)
Kombucha, Waterkefir, Kimchi and Sauerkraut are only a few of the great fermented foods and drinks with great benefits for your health. Especially with the first two, the possibilities are endless!
Waterkefir is like a distant little cousin of kombucha. It is easier to make and you don’t need any special “skills” or teas. All you need is filtered water, your kefir crystals , a glass jar, lemon to prevent contamination with unfriendly bacteria, sugar and some dried fruit for flavor such as dry figs or plums . During the summer time your waterkefir will be ready every other day, and that means that the crystals will double in size and population quite often! They can be used for beauty diys and as fertilizer for your plants. The drink it produces though is very pleasant in taste, fizzy and fruity with a citrusy undertone. My friend says that Waterkefir is the healthy Sprite 🙂
Asian people seem to know the benefits of fermented drinks very well and have brought the fermentation game to a whole new level: BEAUTY.
More and more K Beauty brands have based their success in fermented raw material , like SK II with its essence , SUM37 , Sulwhasoo, MISHA and others. Sadly enough I could not find any beauty companies with such products that are verified from leapingbunny.com ! So I started experimenting with my fermented rice water recipe , which is actually my favorite facial toner ever , tightly followed by witch hazel!
My discoveries did not stop here though, as you correctly guessed!!!
- Both Kombucha and Waterkefir drinks , make great acidic toners for the skin
- Can be used as a sheet mask when used a long with a muslin cloth
- Waterkefir crystals , which after a few brews are so so sooooo many, make a whitening and smoothing mask. Put three to four large spoonfuls in your blender and work well till they look like a smooth paste. Apply to skin for at least 20 minutes. This is a great hydrating mask as well, providing your skin with a pack of nutrients!
- Kombucha cultures are feeding on teas that are rich in caffeine. Soak your cotton or cloth rounds in kombucha and place under the eye area to treat puffy eyes and dark circles .
- Waterkefir crystals can be used in water based creams as well as body butters! 🙂
I hope you found something useful here today!
I wish you happy creating (and brewing!)