Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Recipe for Kombucha Herbal Tea

Ingredients for one gallon-size brew:

1. Kombucha culture
2. 2 cups of “starter tea” from the previous kombucha brew, if no starter tea available, use 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3. 5-6 tea bags or 4-6 Tablespoons of herbal loose tea made from leaves rather than flowers. I avoid teas with added flavorings. If you use Black tea you can use less than 4-6 Tablespoons.
4. one cup sugar
5. 3 ½ quarts of filtered water

Supplies needed:

One gallon or larger glass container, jar or bowl
or a food grade plastic bowl may be used, either number 1 or 2 in the triangle on the bottom.

Clean cloth, paper towel or coffee filter to fit over fermenting container and a large rubber band to secure if needed.

A warm quiet spot, (does not need to be dark)

White vinegar to clean utensils. If you need to clean the culture, let it sit in vinegar for a little while.

Boil water: bring water to the boiling point and let it boil a minute or so.
Add tea bags or loose tea in a strainer.
I let the tea steep about 30 minutes.
Remove tea

Add the cup of sugar and stir to dissolve.

Let it come to room temperature (about 2-4 hours) or overnight

Put the room temperature tea and sugar into your jar or bowl. If it is too hot it will damage the culture.
Add the starter tea
Add the kombucha culture.
Cover with the cloth or paper towel or filter and leave alone.

The entire brewing cycle can take up to 14 days. Usually the tea is ready to drink about day 5. You should see a light film starting to cover the top of the tea surface. I ladle out a bit to taste it. If it’s still very sweet, it’s not ready. Sometimes it has some carbonation. This is fine. Sometimes bubbles form in the culture and the culture looks bumpy and strange. It’s okay.

Start drinking one tablespoon at a time, on an empty stomach. Build up the amount you drink slowly, as your body suggests.
This drink isn’t right for everybody but if it’s good for you, your body may start to crave it.

It’s a powerful detoxifier so you don’t want to start drinking too much in the beginning. Let your body start its detox process in a slow and gentle way.

I’ve settled on drinking about 1/4 -1/2 cup 1-3 times a day 20 minutes before a meal. Anymore than that really feels like too much.

It is suggested that once the culture is in the tea, no metal should come in contact with the brew. I use a plastic ladle.

Some people strain the tea before they drink it because sometimes there’s some squidley stuff floating in it. The stuff is part of the brew and can be drunk.

If you don’t finish the brew after 10-12 days it will become very vinegary and for some, undrinkable. This can be used for salad dressings and marinades.

Always save the last 2 cups for the next batch.

The film that forms on the top is the offspring of the culture. You can use this to start a new batch when it is substantial enough or you can just leave it attached. To detach it from the culture, with clean hands pick up the culture and peel the film off. If it is too small to start a new batch, store it in a glass jar with 1-2 cups of fresh tea and a paper towel cover. Keep adding new films as you get them. You should add fresh tea every 14 days. After a while the filmy pieces will meld into one new culture that can be used to start a new batch.

At this point I always have 2 different batches going. This is enough for me. I put my extras in a jar and save them until I have someone brave enough to try it.

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