Kombucha tea, also known as Manchurian tea or mushroom tea, is a fermented tea which is said to offer many health benefits.
If you are interested in making your own Kombucha, you will first need to obtain a starter, a pancake-like living colony of yeast and bacteria. You may be able to find Kombucha starters on the Internet, but ideally you should get a fresh one from a friend who is already brewing their own mushroom tea.
Kombucha is very acidic, so you will need a cooking pot made of acid resistant material, and a one gallon fermentation container of acid-resistant material such as china or glass. You will also need a wooden spoon to stir the mixture, clean cloths to protect the fermenting mixture from contamination, and glass bottles for storing the finished tea.
Kombucha is produced by brewing black or green tea, adding sugar to feed the mushroom, then leaving it to ferment for between one and two weeks. If you wish to ensure that your Kombucha is a hundred percent organic, use organic green tea, African red bush tea, or herb tea, and use organic honey as a sweetener.
Cleanliness is crucial when you are preparing your Kombucha, so always wash your hands and all your equipment thoroughly.
To begin, boil two quarts of water in a large stainless steel or heatproof glass pot.
Add 6 teabags or 6 teaspoons of loose tea and allow to steep for at least 15 minutes.
Remove tea bags or strain out loose tea, stir in a cup of honey, and pour the tea into a china, glass or pottery container.
Add the “mushroom” starter, cover with a clean cloth (a tea towel is ideal), and leave for between 7 and 14 days. The longer you leave the tea to ferment, the more acidic it will become.
Pour most of the fermented liquid into glass bottles, leaving one cupful behind to maintain the starter, and store you fermented tea in the fridge.
You are now ready to prepare another batch.
You will notice that your “mushroom” will gradually thicken and eventually you will be able to peel a new mushroom away from the “mother” and pass it on to a friend.
If your culture becomes dark brown or becomes contaminated with mould, throw it away and use a new culture.
There is some debate about the benefits of drinking a cup of Kombucha tea every morning. It is supposed to detoxify the system and provide a general feeling of well being. It is also something of an acquired taste, and could possibly also cause allergic reactions.
So prepare carefully and use with caution.