Kombucha

Kombucha is said to be helpful for poor circulation, fatigue and irritability. It is recommended for people who have had strokes. A layer of the matrix can be peeled off and applied to the skin for burns and sunburn, insect bites and rash. Kombucha is acidic, so be sure you are getting enough minerals in your diet when you add another acid.


Kombucha is commonly made with strong, sweet tea. The amounts and proportions given below are suggestions, but you can use whatever ratio of tea and sugar to water that makes a strong, sweet tea for you. Make tea, add sugar, let cool, pour onto a kombucha yeast matrix in a glass or enamel jar or container, add vinegar or previously-made kombucha, cover with a breathable cloth and wait until it tastes good to you, usually about a few days to a week but may vary due to temperature or other variables. Any type of tea, plants or herbs will do. It does not have to be camilla sinensis tea and it does not have to contain caffeine. Sugar has to be real sugar, and cannot be an artificial sugar substitute or stevia, but can be real sugar in other forms such as maple syrup, apple syrup or sucanat.

  Preparation, or things you will need to have on hand:

http://windintheroses.googlepages.com/kombucha_mother.jpgKombucha Matrix

A kombucha matrix or mother of kombucha, commonly referred to as a "scoby". This is a rather ungainly-looking piece of fleshy-like material. The most common source is from a friend who makes kombucha. If you cannot get one from someone who makes kombucha, you can use a mother of vinegar from a raw vinegar such as Braggs Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.





Sugar

This can be either plain white sugar, sucanat or a sugar syrup made with 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. This can be either invert sugar syrup or plain sugar syrup. See Sugar Syrup for instructions on how to make sugar syrup. Invert sugar or candy sugar syrup will taste the best, but everything else will do. Precise amount of sugar per tea can vary slightly according to taste, but a round tablespoon of sugar per cup of dark or strong tea is a good starting point.

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Kombucha or vinegar

You need some already-made kombucha as a starter. You will need enough to cover the kombucha matrix when it is in a jar and a little more. If you don't have this, vinegar will do.







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Tea

The tea can be regular, decaffeinated or herbal, or any mix or blend of teas that you like. In a tea bag or loose. You can add dried tree leaves or you can add plants from your garden. It does not have to be strictly camilla sinensis.


 
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Glass Jar

Clean glass wide-mouthed jar(s) or other large containers. You can sometimes get these at bars in the US by asking for their empty pickle jars and at fish and chip shops in the UK.


 
Breathable cover for the jar

Loose-woven pieces of cloth that will allow air to pass through the cloth but keep out bugs. Check how much air can get through by putting it on your mouth and blowing through it. Some people use sturdy paper towels.

Proportion:
You will find a ratio that is right for you as you go along, but a good starting ratio is one tablespoon of sugar to one cup of strong tea
.


 
 Making the tea

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Brew  and then let it cool down to at least luke warm or tepid. You can mix sugar into hot tea but do not put the scoby into hot tea.

Make as much strong tea as you want to have for kombucha. Use about 3 teabags per quart of tea or any amount to taste of wild-foraged plants and herbs. Put the dry tea(s) in a ceramic or pyrex glass container and pour boiling water over it/them. Cover and allow it to steep for about 10 - 15 minutes or until lukewarm or tepid.





To reduce the amount of caffeine in your tea, put the teabag into hot water for about 30 seconds. Throw the tea away (or drink it)and then proceed to use the now-decaffeinated teabag for kombucha. If you want completely decaffeinated tea, you can use decaf tea, rooibos and any suitable tree or plant leaves you have gathered from the wild or picked. It is not necessary to include camilla sinensis if you do not want the caffeine. If you want a tannin in your kombucha, you can put in a couple oak leaves.
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Strain the tea through a filter or sieve if necessary to remove loose tea leaves.







 Making The Kombucha 
 

A standard recipe for a single batch is:
Ingredients
3 quarts of water
1 cup of sugar
7 tea bags
1 matrix (scoby)
1/2 cup starter culture or vinegar
Instructions:
Use the water and tea bags to make strong tea (Leave the hot water on the tea bags until it has cooled, or even overnight.). Add sugar. Put in a large  glass jar  and add matrix and starter liquid. Cover with a  breatheable cloth and let sit for about a week, or until you like the taste.

Amounts may be varied to taste when you are familiar with the process. Tea can be an equivalent amount of herbal teas.


 Making Kombucha by the Quart 

Put in dry sugar. Use 1/3 cup of sugar for each quart of tea. Mix thoroughly.

If using sugar syrup, add sugar syrup to tea in a ratio of 7 parts tea to 1 part syrup, or 700 mls tea to 100 mls sugar syrup.


 




Put a kombucha matrix into a clean glass container  http://windintheroses.googlepages.com/kombucha_put.jpg

Cover the matrix with the already-made kombucha or vinegar.  http://windintheroses.googlepages.com/kombucha_cover2.jpg
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When tea & sugar mix has cooled off to at least luke-warm, pour it into the glass jar with the kombucha matrix and the already-made kombucha (or vinegar).

 



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Fill the container with the sugar-tea mixture, leaving a couple inches airspace at the top.







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Cover the container with loosely-woven cloth that will allow air to pass through it while keeping out insects. Some people are happy to use paper towels for this purpose. Secure it with rubber bands or tie with string. Let the liquid sit in the glass container for between 4 days to a week. Kombucha is done when it has a pleasant sweet-tart taste, that is, it's ready when you like how it tastes.





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When kombucha is done, you can decant it into clean glass bottles with plastic corks and store in a cool place or in refrigerator. Do not use screw-on tops.







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[Optional] You can add fruit, ginger, raisins or other sources of sugar and/or flavoring if you are storing your kombucha to make it "fizzier". Cover with a  a cork.. Really do not use screw-on tops if you do this.






Serve your kombucha tea in fine crystal wine glasses. http://windintheroses.googlepages.com/kombucha_glass.jpg

. Adding Sugar to Boiling Water Method 

1. Boil 3 quarts water in a baked enamel saucepan
2. Add 1 cup white sugar and stir in
3. Boil another 5 minutes
4. Turn off heat and add 30 tea bags or 8 tablespoons of loose leaf tea. Tea can be white, green, black, herbal, wild-gathered or mixture of all of those.
5. Let the tea steep for 15 minutes
6. Remove tea bags and let cool, or let cool and then strain through sieve to remove tea leaves.
7. Pour cooled liquid into wide-mouthed gallon glass jar
8. Add Kombucha Culture and 1 cup of already-made Kombucha Tea or 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar as a starter
9. Cover with a loosely-woven cotton fabric that will allow air to get in through the weave but will keep out bugs.
10. Let set undisturbed for about a week, or whenever it tastes good to you. You can start tasting it at about day 5 to see if it is done to your taste. In some temperatures, circumstances, amount of starter

. Reducing Caffeine 

Caffeine can be reduced by using decaffeinated tea.
You can make your own reduced-caffeine tea by soaking a teabag in hot water for 30 seconds, discard (or drink) the tea and use the teabag to make the kombucha
Herbal tisanes/infusions can be substituted for tea.
You do not need camilla sinensis tea or caffeine to make kombucha. There may be some need for the tannin in tea leaves, but this can be found in many other tree leaves like oak, or grape leaves. If you use a wide variety of herbal and wild-foraged leaves for your tea, you will get all the nutrients necessary to make a healthy kombucha from those leaves plus some of the trace minerals that will not be found in commercially grown teas because growers don't let their leaves rot on the ground to replenish the soil as wild trees do.


. Fast brew method 

Brew kombucha in a glass jar or glass-lined thermos. Cover with a loose-woven cloth. Remove up to half of the finished kombucha and then top up with sweet tea (7 parts tea to 1 part sugar syrup, sugar to be made with 2 part sugar to 1 part water). Leave for 12 hours. Often this is done by drinking the tea during the day, up to half of what is in the container, and re-filling it to let it brew overnight. Always leave some air space at the top. As long as the bottle is going to opened no longer than every 12 hours it is safe to cap the bottle, otherwise cover with an airlock.

.Continuous Brew Method 

Take a 1 quart thermos, flask or other container. Place a kombucha matrix in it and fill it with kombucha tea. During the day,  take out a cup and drink it whenever you like. Once you have poured out your cup of kombucha, make a cup of sweet tea and let it cool down to luke warm or tepid. Use it to replace the kombucha taken from the flask. If you need more than a cup of kombucha a day, make as many quarts as you can find containers for. In warm weather, you may be able to take a pint a day and still get fully brewed kombucha the next day. Keep the container(s) covered with a loose-woven cotton cloth. If you use a covered thermos, be certain that you open it at least once a day to prevent build-up of gases.

Some people prefer using a large jar with a tap or spigot to make continuous kombucha, while others feel the problem of the kombucha mushroom material always getting stuck in the spigot isn't worth it. Therefore, I don't recommend it, but here is the method should you wish to use it:

Large container method:
Get a 1-gallon glass jar with plastic spigot/tap (often sold as "sun tea" jars).
Make your first batch of kombucha using the method described above but increasing the amounts by 3x, or use the recipe/instructions for making a gallon of tea below.
After kombucha has brewed to your taste, draw off kombucha from the bottom from the spigot at the bottom of the jar
Add new, luke-warm or cooled sweetened tea in the same amount as kombucha you have drawn off. If using granulated sugar, add 1/3 cup per quart to the tea when it is hot, stir until dissolved and allow it to cool off before putting it in the kombucha.
Wait 24 hours for every quart of kombucha you draw off and replace with tea and sugar, before drawing more kombucha out.
Never let the jar get below half full.

 . Kombucha Manna Drops or Mushroom Extract Drops 

Cut kombucha matrix ("scoby") into as small pieces as possible with a sturdy kitchen scissors. Put in juice extracto and turn on until juice is extracted. To make a similar product with a blender, put pieces into blender and add kombucha tea as needed to be able to puree the matrix pieces. Filter through a cotton cloth.

. Kombucha Smoothie 

plain yogurt
freshly ground flax seeds
vanilla extract
frozen bananas
frozen plums
kombucha

Place all in blender in proportion to taste and blend on high.

. Symptoms of Detoxification 

Kombucha is a detoxifier, meaning it dissolves toxins in the body which then need to be flushed out of the body. Some people will experience negative reactions to drinking kombucha, even if they started off feeling better when taking it. You need to drink about 5 times as much water as kombucha and limit yourself to a few ounces of kombucha a day when you first start off. If you experience stuffed-up sinuses, nausea, ears feel bubbly, tired, aches and pains after taking kombucha for awhile, you may be undergoing detoxification. It may feel like an allergy or mild stomach bug. Keep taking a few ounces of kombucha a day and drinking lots more water until these toxins have been flushed out of the system. If you can handle learning how to make another health drink at this time, you may find that drinking beet kvass will help smooth things over during this time. Taking extra minerals may help also, especially in the form of clay or clay water.
 Sources for kombucha matrix 

You will need a kombucha yeast and bacteria matrix, commonly called a scoby. You can order it online from sites such as http://www.kombucha.org/ , or search on the keyword kombucha and choose your own site. You can also use a mother of vinegar to start a kombucha, so you can purchase a bottle of Bragg's Raw Apple Cider vinegar and use that to start a kombucha matrix. It will take a while as  you will need to start with a small batch and increase it.

to make a kombucha matrix with a mother of vinegar matrix, or with a bottle of raw vinegar (i.e., Braggs Raw Apple Cider Vinegar), make a tea and mix with sugar as above, add it to the vinegar or pour on top of a mother of vinegar mat, cover with a loosely woven cloth as above and set it in a cupboard for a month. When a film or matrix forms on the top, that is a kombucha matrix and can be used to make kombucha.


If you make wine and have a batch turn to vinegar with a little plug at the top of the bottle, that, too, will make kombucha.

Make it from a bottle of store-bought raw kombucha. Put a pint of commercial raw kt in a glass jar, cover with a cloth secured with a rubber band and store in a dark, out-of-the-way place for 3-4 weeks or until a matrix develops at the top.

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Truly Cultured Rejuvenating Taste, Health and Community With Naturally Fermented Foods by Nancy Bentley
The Yoga of Eating  by Charles Eisenstein
Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harr Buhner






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  Site-Related Products Available For Sale Online  

Kombucha Starter
Kombucha Home Brew Kit
4 Liter Jar

(a good source of mixed minerals)
Fermentation Pot
Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar

 (can be used to start kombucha)



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