Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Kombucha Heaven...Part 1

By now, if you've been following anything I do, you've most likely heard me use the word Kombucha quite often. I am referring to an ancient Chinese beverage that has an amazing capacity for healing. It is a fermented food, much like yogurt, miso, or sauerkraut, and yet even though these things enjoy much popularity here in America, the idea of Kombucha is thought to be weird or gross, simply because it isn't as widely known. It can also be a little difficult to come by, although I can literally walk to two different stores from my apartment right now and buy myself a bottle of Kombucha within 30 minutes, so unless you live in one of those highway ghost towns, you're standing pretty close to some Kombucha as you read this. Well, you're probably sitting. And if you do happen to live in a highway ghost town, I recommend standing and possibly running away, because there's most likely a guy wanting to wear your face who can walk to your house within 30 minutes.

One of my favorite brands of Kombucha is GT, and they have a wide assortment of Kombucha bottled with raw fruit juices, herbal extracts, and superfoods called Synergy. The great thing about Kombucha is that it's very bubbly, just like soda is, but it isn't carbonated. It's naturally effervescent, so if you've got a soda addiction or a craving for carbonated beverages, Kombucha is your ticket out. Just like eating yogurt or taking probiotic capsules, Kombucha will naturally restore your intestinal microflora with literally a billion organisms per serving. It hosts an awesome array of vitamins and has high amounts of many B complex vitamins. Kombucha is, in a phrase, freaking hot!

The process for making it at home is similar to sprouting. You begin with a Mother culture, or SCOBY (I'm not yelling for emphasis, the letters mean stuff) and you allow it to ferment in a dark place in your kitchen for about a week. Since I don't like being bathed in unstable electromagnetic death rays, and because I am not a comic book villain, I have no use for my microwave and it has become my sprouting/Kombucha brewing sunlight shielder. Money well spent.

Whenever you brew a new batch, the Mother makes a Baby, which can be used to make another batch, or can be given away since the Mother can be used time and time again. In this way, you can give Kombucha to all your friends. Or you can be super selfish and just keep them and make double batches. This is my dark master plan.

The problem begins when you don't know anyone who makes this awesome drink and need a Mother to start a batch. Can't have a Baby without a Mother, right? So, you can order one online, or ask around at your local health food store. But this blog is about FREE stuff, and ordering a Mother online is easy but can cost you about 25$ or more. I know it's not a whole lot of money, but when you're scraping together your last bit of cash to buy your family a bag of organic sweet potatos, dropping 25 bucks on a bag of slime seems a bit steep. I get that. So, I present to you this video made by really cool guys that I don't know but wish that I did.

Using this process, I've started my first homemade Kombucha Mother, who is almost two weeks old (aww!). She will be finished around July 25th, and I will keep you posted on the continuing process.

Here is a picture after a few days of fermentation. You can see that there are just bubbles forming.

day 3

And here we are a little after the end of week 1. You can already see the Mother beginning to form on top of the liquid.


My Kombucha journey is really exciting, because I have a pretty pricey Kombucha habit and spending money gives me a pain in my kidneys. If you add up all the money you spend on beverages other than water, it's usually more than you can afford. Try it! And if you want a Kombucha baby, drop me a line. You know where to reach me. In the meantime, I am going to be drinking GT Synergy's "Trilogy" flavor, brushing up on the California legal system, and checking out the website of a Maine based Ayurvedic tea shop that looks interesting. Later!

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