Any Kombucha fans here?


#1

I have been reading a lot about Kombucha after a great conversation with one of the Researchers at the DRI who lives with T1 and is a great friend of ours. He is a loyal fan of the Kombucha and told us about all the health benefits.

Once he explained to me what it is, I remember that for many, many years my mom drank it for her epilepsy problems, and remember her claiming she felt great while she drank it.

Any Kombucha drinkers here?


#2

I started drinking them when I was trying to get of Monsters. They really work as an alternative. I did notice that some of them were higher in carbs. I mainly drink them after a run or for breakfast when I don’t feel like coffee. I did notice my blood pressure going down when I drank them. The one downfall I found with them, much to the dismay of my family, is gas.


#3

As I revamp my diet, I am placing an emphasis on fermented foods. I will be adding kombucha soon. I’ve had it a few times and I like the taste. I will look into the home brew possibilities and consider whether the effort is worth it.


#4

We go through kombucha like water here. I have a 6 gallon continuous brew setup here. My husband and I do about two liters a day between us (though he does drink more than I). Mostly we just drink it because we’ve become addicted to it, and much less for it’s health benefits. We call it “happy bubbles”.

I don’t believe it’s a miracle elixer like it’s toted to be, but it is a wonderful probiotic and does contain a few key nutrients, which can be of great benefit to those who need them. Gut health is pretty well known to be the key to immunity. But it all has to be taken with a grain of salt. It can’t fix a bad lifestyle.

I will say that I find store bought kombucha disgusting, though. The regulating authorities make manufacturers process it to the point of vinegar. You start with sweet tea and add yeast and acetobacter bacteria. The yeast eat the sugar and make alcohol, the bacteria eat the yeast and alcohol and turn it to vinegar. You can drink the kombucha at any point depending on your taste preference. Unfortunately, commercial companies would have to sell it as an alcoholic adult beverage where I like it. Mine comes out at about 1.5-2% alcohol by volume, which is about a third of a generic pilsner beer to put that in perspective. The FDA caps “non-alcoholic” beverages at 0.5% ABV, which means you’re stuck with vinegar if you buy it.

My kombucha is so good we considered selling it, since we’ve plans to build me a commercial kitchen anyway. Our small-town health inspector covers FDA regulating, too, and he was really excited to get us started… But turned out I wasn’t willing to compromise on the flavor to stay within regulations. So now we just trade it with others in our farming community. It works out great. I still get local meats and produce, and it’s legal because no money trades hands.

But yes, carb count can vary a lot. There’s no one strict kombucha recipe, and it also depends on what sort of flavoring is used for the second ferment. I use 14 oz of juice per two-liter bottle of 'buch. After the second fermentation, that leaves about 8g of carbohydrate per one of our 11 oz glasses of kombucha. I haven’t paid much attention to the commercial varieties stats, though, so I don’t know how that compares.

Some of our favorite flavors include “ginger ale” (1/2 tsp ground ginger + 14 oz apple juice + 1 big squeeze of lemon per two liter bottle), elderberry (4 tsp dried elderberries steeped in 14 oz. hot white grape juice + squeeze of lime juice per 2 liter bottle), and hibiscus (prepared the same as the elderberry, but steeped in hot apple juice instead). Soooo good!


#5

Great info and well-timed with my rising keen interest. How do you recommend someone get started? Is there a book or website that you like. Your explanation of commercial brews trading away taste to get under the alcohol limit. It makes sense. Any tips you might provide will be gratefully accepted. Thanks!


#6

From wiki

Numerous implausible claims have been made for health benefits from drinking kombucha.[9] These include claims for treating AIDS, aging, anorexia, arthritis, atherosclerosis, cancer, constipation, and diabetes, but there is no evidence to support any of these claims.[9] There have been rare cases of serious adverse effects, including fatalities, from the beverage, possibly arising from contamination during home preparation.[10][11] The potential harms of drinking kombucha outweigh the unclear benefits, so its use for therapeutic purposes is not recommended.[9]


#7

I like kombucha but it raises my BG quite a bit so I stopped drinking it a while back. Otherwise I do remember liking the mild gut benefits it produced which was why I was drinking it in the first place.


#8

That’s essentially fear-mongering to take such a narrow scope. You can die from drinking too much of anything. For a drink more than 2,000 years old, you can only find a handful of bad stories. Only two deaths that I know of, though I haven’t reached in a few years. Both of those cases were from acidosis, as in they drank so much disgustingly-vinegary kombucha that they overrode thier bodies own pH buffers. But seriously, more people die of drinking too much water than kombucha… But don’t take my word for it, Google it.

The only true concerns with homemade brews are lead poisoning from leeched contaminants in glazed ceramic vessels and introduction of outside microbes. Literally every single brewing guide you can find will caution against the first, and warn that you should only ever brew in glass vessels. The latter point is also easily avoided. You simply need to make the brew inhospitable to other microbes, which again, brew guides will teach you how. A small amount of the acidic starter means little else can live in your kombucha. Also, there’s three simple fact of competition for resources. When you have a virtual sea of beneficial microbes, a few random foreign Invaders will be crowded out or consumed. It is actually nearly impossible to brew bad kombucha, that’s why the relatively few bad events there have been are not related to adverse microbial contamination.


#9

There are LOTS of books and websites, and honestly must of them contain the same exact info. There is nothing new and revolutionary when it comes to kombucha. Kombuchakamp.com might be a good place to start. Better yet, I’d just go to my local library and do a quick search for “kombucha”, I can practically guarantee you’ll find several books.

Basic recipe is that you make a weak tea with one cup of sugar per gallon of water (tea will vary according to taste… I’m usually lazy and use 2 gallon-sized Lipton iced tea bags plus three regular green tea bags per every three gallon batch I make). Let that cool to room temperature, then add it to some pre-made starter kombucha (usually left over from a previous batch, but you can also use commerical raw, unflavored kombucha or apple cider vinegar), and then you rest your SCOBY (a gnarly looking Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) on top. Cover the top with something air-permeable, I use a stack of three coffee filters kept in place with a rubber band. Leave it somewhere warm to ferment, like on top of your fridge.

How long you leave it is entirely up to you taste preference. I start sampling it right when the co2 bubbles you’ll see under the SCOBY slow down. This means the yeast are running out of sugar to consume. I sample it fairly often then to find the sweet spot where it doesn’t taste sweet anymore and the vinegar level is still minimal. Then you get to do a second ferment. This is when you add flavors and trap the bubbles for the signature effervescence. This is also the point where strategies vary wildly.

Contrary to popular opinion, I prefer to bottle in recycled empty (but thoroughly cleaned!) two-liter bottles. My mother-in-law has a diet Dr pepper addiction, so I have an endless supply of these. Most guides will tell you to use glass grolsch (flip top) bottles. I like the soft plastic better. I don’t have to burp plastic bottles to keep them from exploding, and I can feel how firm the bottle has gotten so I know exactly when it’s reached a carbonation level I like.

The biggest tips I can give you…

  1. Don’t buy into all the marketing. You don’t need special supplies. You can buy a 2.5 gallon glass drink vessel in any kitchen department of a department store for about $20. If it has a plastic spigot on it, you’ll probably want to upgrade to a metal one, for about $3 on Amazon. If that’s too big of a vessel for your needs, you can brew smaller batches in Mason jars. You don’t need special coverings either. Coffee filters are fine enough to prevent contamination and still allow air to freely pass. Also, don’t ever, ever, ever spend the +$30 to buy a SCOBY! Once you start brewing, you’ll find that your SCOBY replicates like Tribbles! Any other brewer in you’re area would just LOVE to off some on you. Scope out your local Facebook pages and Craigslist for them. I would try to sample thier 'booch to make sure you like it first, though. If someone has a habit of letting thier brew go too vinegary too often, it will alter the microbial colony to be heavy on the acid-loving bacteria which is more prone to making vinegar. It will take about a month to get started, but you can also start your own SCOBY from a bottle of commercial raw, unflavored Kombucha… Steps for that are easily googled, or I can find you a link.

  2. As a diabetic, I would strongly suggest you stick with flavoring your second fermentation with measured juice. It’s the easiest way I’ve found to guess the carb count. Some of the sugar in the juice gets ingested to make the bubbles, but there will also be a trace amount of sugar left in the sweet tea. For me, the remaining sugar when the kombucha is ready to drink is usually equal to whatever was in the juice I put in the bottle. A good starting number is to just divide the number of juice carbs by the number of servings you get out of a bottle. I usually use 14 oz apple juice (45g carbs) in a two liter bottle (6 x 11 oz servings) = 7.5g carbs per one of our glasses. It’s not a perfect system, though, I bolus for the full 8, and every batch will be slightly different. When you get into recipes using fresh or dried fruit, it’s all a guess.

  3. Look up some pictures of what a bad SCOBY looks like. Seriously, healthy SCOBYs are ugly, so it’s easy to fret about nothing. It’s a good idea to know what to actually be looking for. It’s honestly pretty hard to screw up, but sh%t happens. Be wary of odd discolorations (white/cream/brown is normal… Anything fuzzy and more vibrantly colored is not), I’ve also heard of very rare maggot infestations. Seriously disgusting, but almost unheard of, so don’t let that turn you off. That’s why you keep the brew covered! So if your SCOBY is discolored…or squirming… throw it out (and any kombucha tea) out, and start over.

I really enjoy all my fermented projects. I’m a microbiologist, so my kitchen has become my home laboratory. I make yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, beer, mead, kombucha, and kefir for my husband (I personally find the kefir gross, though). It’s a great hobby to have, but it can become a little addicting. Good luck!


#10

i love it. Haven’t made it recently. But for a few years had it going all the time. I moved and don’t have a scoby now.