-Or- Prepare to be discusted ;-)
What is Kombucha:
Kombucha is a sweetened tea that is fermented using a "visible mass" culture of bacteria and yeast. It's known as a SCOBY: Simbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. A SCOBY looks something like a floppy gelantinous pancake blob. It is also (falsely) called a "mushroom."
Benefits of Kombucha:
There are many health claims about Kombucha. The first use mentioned is almost always that it's used to detoxify and energize. Personally, I notice an energy rush while drinking it. Between Jericho and I, we are always dealing with Candida overgrowth (causing many yeast infections and yeast rashes) and I've noticed a HUGE improvement in the month that I've been drinking Kombucha. And, as crazy as it sounds I actually realllly like the taste of it! Here's a link with benefits other people have noticed. It ranges from awesome (helped heal bladder infections) to possibly far fetched (helped heal cancer) to humorous (Great conversation piece)!
What Kombucha tastes like:
The first time I took a sip I was almost overwhelmed by the vinegar-iness of it! It is like drinking fizzy apple cidar vinegar. For some reason I decided to take another sip and it was almost good. By sip three I was hooked! It's kind of an acquired taste. I've heard it described as tasting like "apple juice that's been sitting out too long". Somehow it does taste apple-y. Now that I'm used to it I hardly notice the vinegar-iness and find it really refreshing.
How to prepare Kombucha:
A "mother" SCOBY (basically a starter SCOBY. If you live near me and are interested I can give you one)
1/2 cup of already prepared Kombucha
3 quarts of water
1 cup of sugar
4 black tea bags (I use 5. Also, you can use green tea)
The blog is my original SCOBY on the day I got it. The SCOBY is sticking up out of the leftover Kombucha from the last batch.
Close up of my SCOBY
Boil the 3 quarts of water. Add the cup of sugar and tea bags. Let it sit until the sweet tea is at room tempurature.
Pour the sweet tea into a clean (very CLEAN) gallon jar.
Add the 1/2 cup of Kombucha and toss the "mother" SCOBY in.
I cover my jar with a paper towel and then put a rubber band around the jar (don't use cheesecloth, apparently the weave is wide enough to allow fruit flies to lay eggs in the tea. BLECH!)
Let the mixure hang out in a dark, warm place. The warmer it is, the quicker it'll brew! It can be as short as 3 days but since my house is usually pretty cool it takes around 5-7 days. You know it's finished when it tastes right! Usually it'll form it's own SCOBY on the top by the time it is finished. Here is my SCOBY two days later. The SCOBY is just starting to form as you can see by the goo on the top.
Here is a side view: The danglies are "spent yeast" and harmless although they still freak me out when they get in my cup!
Oh, and one more thing: you may either want to keep your Kombucha colony a secret or prepare to be teased! :-) Especially when you have a husband like mine who's favorite and ONLY effervenscent, energizing drink is Mountain Dew!