Hello Luminous BadAsses,
I’ve gotten a few inquiries of late as to whether kombucha is allowed on the plan. The answer is it all depends.
What the heck IS kombucha? From Wikipedia…
Kombucha is a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks that are commonly intended as functional beverages for their supposed health benefits. Kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a “symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast” (SCOBY).
Actual contributing microbial populations in SCOBY cultures vary, but the yeast component generally includes Saccharomyces and other species, and the bacterial component almost always includes Gluconacetobacter xylinus to oxidize yeast-produced alcohols to acetic and other acids.
Kombucha goes back to 233 BC in Manchuria and has had a recent surge in popularity due to its probiotic ingredients and the whole craze over fermented foods. Notice the word “sweetened” in the definition. So right off the bat you’d think, OK, no, not allowed on the Luminous Plan. But, here’s the skinny: The Scoby (good bacteria) devours the sugar as the tea ferments, leaving very little residual sugar. In fact, in about 8 ounces of kombucha, there is less than 2 grams of sugar. Now, are all store-bought kombuchas created equal? No. Many add fruit juice (a no-no in Luminous land) and other sweetened ingredients. And that’s why I decided to make my own. What I love about kombucha is it contains lots of probiotics, and if you’re like me, you want and need a little variety on the beverage front. Want to try making your own?
Here’s what you need to start:
- 1 gallon glass container, thoroughly washed in hot water.
- 1 Scoby – I recommend the ones from Kombucha Brooklyn.
- Green tea bags (or black tea whichever you prefer)
- Glass growlers for the 2nd ferment (see the photo below).
- PH Test Strips (available on Amazon)
1. Boil 4 cups (1 quart) of water
2. Remove from heat and add 6 tea bags.
3. Cover and allow to steep for 20 minutes
4. Remove tea from the liquid tea and add 1 cup of sugar; stir
5. Fill 1-gallon brew jar with 1/2-gallon of cool (2 quarts), clean water
6. Add warm sweetened tea to brew jar
7. Empty entire contents of SCOBY bag (liquid and solid culture) to brew jar
8. Add cool, clean water to brew jar until liquid surface is just below the neck of the jar; stir
9. Cover brew jar with paper towel or cloth and affix to brew jar with rubber band; DO NOT use cheesecloth
10. Let brew jar sit in a warm place for 7-14 days. Check your “buch” periodically using PH papers. The PH should be between 3-4. The lower the PH the more “tart” it will be.
Remove scoby. Add fresh blueberries (slightly mashed) and chopped fresh ginger. Transfer to the growlers. Leave a little space of air in each jar. Cover tightly with cap so it is airtight. Let ferment for 3-14 days, burping the bottle every day or so to avoid explosions.
The 2nd ferment is what makes the kombucha fizzy. HOWEVER, it’s SUPER important to burp those growlers every couple of days. If you don’t, you may end up with an explosion due to the CO2 building up too much pressure (yup, it happened to me). Once you’re done with the 2nd ferment, I strain it and put back into the growlers and refrigerate. I’m partial to the blueberry ginger combination but you can experiment with other flavors like fresh lavender or other berries. Splash a few ounces into some sparkling water, and Enjoy!
So there you have it BadAsses. A fun way to make a Luminous friendly beverage which is an excellent alternative to soda or fruit juice.