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Healthy RV Living: Benefits of komboucha tea

Komboucha, what?!?!

With more than 2,000 years of health benefits behind its belt, komboucha is gaining popularity, but most people still don’t know about this fermented wonder.

Komboucha is a fermented sweet tea (black, green, or white) that contains probiotics, enzymes and B vitamins.  The “SCOBY” (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) or “mother” does the its magic with the sweet tea and in 7-21 days you have home-brewed komboucha for pennies on the dollar.

So why drink komboucha?  The benefits are endless, but here are a few of the highlights.

  • Natural detoxifier
  • Boosts immune system
  • Aids digestion and gut health
  • Loaded with vitamins and enzymes
  • Energy booster
  • Reduces inflammation
  • B vitamins in komboucha help reduce PMS symptoms
  • Helps maintain (or achieve) bowel regularity
  • Increases metabolism
This is what the SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) looks like from the top.
This is what the SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) looks like from the top.

The trickiest part of home-brewed komboucha is initially getting a SCOBY.  If you don’t have a friend that is already brewing, I would recommend checking in at your local natural food store for a lead on someone willing to give or sell you a SCOBY for what is normally $5 to $15.  I have even seen them listed on Craigslist.  The SCOBY should be a whitish yellow color and have a rubbery texture.

So what do you need to make one batch of komboucha?

  • Glass jar (at least a half gallon)
  • 8 cups of water (I use water filtered by my Berkey system)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 3 plain green or black tea bags or equivalent loose tea (no added oil or flavors)
  • SCOBY
  • 1/2 cup of previous Komboucha batch
  • Cheesecloth or kitchen towel

Once you have assembled the ingredients, follow these steps to “brew” the komboucha:

  1. Boil the water. Once boiled, add the tea bags, cane sugar and water into the glass jar.
  2. Once the tea is cooled to room temperature, then remove the tea bags and add in the SCOBY and 1/2 cup komboucha.
  3. Cover the glass jar with your cheesecloth or kitchen towel, put on the counter and wait,
Cover the komboucha with cheese cloth during the brewing process.
Cover the komboucha with cheese cloth during the brewing process.

That’s it!  The komboucha will be done brewing in about seven days but, you can let it ferment for up to 21 days.  However, the longer it ferments, the less sweet it will be and then more “vinegary” tasting it will become.  Once the batch is done, make sure to store it in the refrigerator.

After the fermentation period, your SCOBY should pull apart into two pieces.  You can then make two new batches, give one to a friend, feed to your pet or compost.  It is important not to use metal utensils to handle the SCOBY because of the metal interaction with the komboucha.

The logistics of brewing komboucha on the road can be intimidating, but I really haven’t had a problem at all.  The glass jar does take up some counter space, but it is well worth it.  I do my best to time my batches around travel days.

If all goes well, I finish a batch and put it in the fridge.  I take the SCOBY and 1/2 cup of komboucha and store it with a tight lid in the fridge while we travel, and then start my new batch once we get to our new destination.  If I am mid-batch when we travel, I simply put an air tight lid on my glass jar and it travels on the floor of the truck by me to prevent any spills.

Once you have the hang of the first ferment, a second ferment can be done to flavor the komboucha.  Stayed tuned for future posts on that.

About Jen Holt

Jen Holt and her husband Drew are parents to two young kids and travel the country in their fifth wheel nicknamed Big Moosey. The Holts have a passion for the outdoors and love visiting National Parks. You can follow more about the Holts adventures at www.free2breathe.com

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