Kombucha is one of the most popular healthy drinks of today’s age, but along with all the hype, you may have noticed its high price tag. Sure, a $4 bottle of kombucha is fine every once in a while, but if you want to make this fermented tea drink part of your regular daily routine, making your own kombucha is the way to go. Kombucha has plenty of benefits from fostering your gut health to boosting your immune system. Ready to try making it yourself? We’ve rounded up 12 kombucha recipes and our best tips for making kombucha!
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented drink known for its detoxifying and energizing properties. Due to its great taste, it has become super popular with health conscious people who are looking for an alternative to processed fizzy drinks. Kombucha is made from either a green or black tea base, white sugar, cold filtered water, and SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). SCOBY is what helps transform sweet tea into the tangy, fizzy kombucha we all know and love. Kombucha is known to be amazing for gut health and has plenty of other health benefits too.
You can buy many different types and brands of kombucha from cafes or shops, but it will have the most benefits if you make it yourself. Many store-bought kombucha drinks are filled with extra sugar and other additives, so you’re not actually getting the good-for-you benefits. When making it yourself, make sure to be cautious and prepare it properly. Contaminated or over-fermented kombucha can lead to serious health problems, but as long as you follow the steps and recipes properly, making your own kombucha is a great way to reap all the health benefits the tasty drink has to offer!
What Are the Benefits of Kombucha?
1. It Can Help Your Gut Health
Just like any other food or drink that’s fermented, kombucha is packed with probiotics, aka, good gut bacteria. A healthy gut is important for so many reasons. It contributes to a strong immune system, heart health, brain health, improved mood, healthy sleep and effective digestion. It wards off issues like diarrhea and IBS and helps our body function properly overall.
2. It Contains Antioxidants
Kombucha contains a good dose of antioxidants, which are beneficial to your health in numerous ways. They fight free radicals, which are reactive molecules that can damage your cells and lead to diseases like cancer. Since kombucha is made with tea, many of the benefits come from the tea itself, and this includes polyphenols.
Polyphenols act as strong antioxidants that decrease inflammation, which is the root source of many diseases and conditions. The fermentation process of kombucha increases the amount of polyphenols in the drink. When kombucha is made with green tea, the antioxidants are especially high, and they have positive effects on your liver.
3. It Kills Bacteria
During the fermentation of kombucha, acetic acid is produced, which is able to kill many harmful microorganisms. With such strong antibacterial properties, kombucha can fight against infection-causing bacteria and Candida yeasts. The organic acids found in kombucha, including acetic acid, glucuronic and D-Saccharic acids also promote detoxification by helping the liver get rid of undesired compounds that it has to process.
4. It Can Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Tea (especially of the green variety) protects “bad” LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, which is thought to cause heart disease. Green tea drinkers have over 30% lower risk of developing heart disease, so if you make your kombucha with green tea, it will likely have the same effects.
5. It Helps You Cut Back on Sugary Drinks
Many people crave fizzy drinks like pop and sugary drinks such as juice, sports drinks and sweetened tea and coffee. When made properly, kombucha doesn’t contain too much sugar and is a great substitute to these sugar-filled drinks. Beverages are the number one source of added sugar and sugar is continuously proven to be worse and worse for your health, so the more you can cut it out, the better, and kombucha is a great alternative!
How to Make Kombucha [4 Tips]
1. Use the Right Type of Tea
As we mentioned above, kombucha is most commonly made with black and green tea. You may think you can substitute these teas with, say, white or yerba maté tea, but there’s a reason black and green tea are used. Black tea is especially ideal for making kombucha, since the SCOBY likes the tannins in the tea. Green tea also works, but there are not as many tannins, so a mix of black (85%) and green (15%) tea could be your best bet! Lower caffeine teas won’t activate the SCOBY on their own, and make sure not to use flavoured teas for the same reason- you can add flavour later!
2. Granulated White Sugar Works Best
Let us preface this by saying that there’s no need to worry about consuming tons of refined sugar when you drink your homemade kombucha. Although white, refined sugar works best for kombucha (it feeds the SCOBY and bumps up the fermentation process), by the time it’s ready to drink, most of the sugar has been eaten up by the SCOBY. Granulated white sugar is most easily digested by yeast and bacteria, so even though it sounds tempting, don’t substitute it with healthier alternatives like honey or maple syrup.
3. Let Your Kombucha Breathe
After you’ve combined the SCOBY, sugar and steeped tea (make sure your tea has cooled to room temperature so it doesn’t shock the SCOBY), place it in a wide mouth glass jar, like a mason jar, and cover it with a cheesecloth. This will keep dirt and bugs out, yet still allow your kombucha to breathe. Without ventilation, your kombucha won’t ferment, and you won’t get all the good-for-you benefits fermentation brings with it.
4. Master the Fermentation Time
You don’t want your kombucha to ferment for too long or too short. Taste your kombucha daily to monitor its progress. If it ferments for too long, you’ll end up with a funky, vinegar-tasting drink, but stop it too soon and you’ve pretty much made a sweet tea. The fermentation process will take anywhere from 7 days to a month, and the perfect tea will be a combination of tart, sweet and a faint taste of tea. Once you’ve got it just right, transfer it to a bottle with a tightly fitting lid for the second fermentation process, which takes 1-2 weeks. This allows for more carbonation to build up, and this is where you can add your flavourings like fresh fruit or herbs like mint.
12 Kombucha Recipes We Love
1. Kombucha Tea | Kitchn
2. Honey Lavender Kombucha | Bon Aippetit
3. Raspberry Lemon Ginger Kombucha | Kimbrough Daniels
4. Blueberry Vanilla Kombucha | The Wild Gut
5. Peach Kombucha | Thank Your Body
6. Strawberry Kombucha | Whole Natural Life
7. Lavender Kombucha | The Roasted Root
8. Hibiscus Kombucha | Wholeheart Nutrition
9. Peach Mint Kombucha | Fit Happy Free
10. Apple Cider Kombucha | The Roasted Root
11. Sunshine Kombucha with Turmeric, Ginger and Honey | The Bold Brewer
12. Pineapple Kombucha | Cooking Light
Ready to get started making your own kombucha at home? Try out these recipes for a healthy, delicious tea drink!
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