I’m allergic to wheat, a big believer in organic, and always up for trying the latest nutritional brands. Consequently, I feel like I need to take out a second mortgage every time I go grocery shopping. Health food is expensive, so needless to say, it wasn’t ideal when I got hooked on Kombucha. After a few years of dropping $6 on every 16-ounce bottle, I realized something had to give.
Every year, I participate in a Secret Santa exchange with my partner’s massive family; we all compile wishlists to make it easier on the gift-giver, and this past year, the Kombucha Shop’s Kombucha Starter Kit was the only item on mine. Shocker! I got it — along with some swing-top brewing bottles, because my sister-in-law is awesome — and thus began my home-brewed Kombucha journey.
For those who aren’t familiar, Kombucha is a fermented tea that originated in Northeast China a few thousand years ago. As the tea ferments, it eats up the sugar and leaves behind some light carbonation, a tiny bit of alcohol, and probiotics. While those first two byproducts are in fact delicious, the third is really where it’s at: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that balance the microbiome in your gut, and science shows that a healthy microbiome affects everything from your digestion to your mental wellbeing.
Making Kombucha felt extremely intimidating. Much to my relief, though, this kit has one of the easiest recipes I’d ever followed — especially because it comes with every single ingredient you’ll need for the first batch, not to mention step-by-step directions with cute little accompanying pictures. In short, you brew the included looseleaf tea in the included bag, mix in the included organic sugar, and pour it all in the included fermentation jar. (I’m going to stop using the word included from here on out, but just know it’s all there, okay?) Then you pour in some additional water to dilute and cool the tea, check the temperature on the easy-to-attach temperature gauge, and add in the SCOBY. (SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, and it acts as a fermentation starter as well as the barrier that forms to protect your brew against contaminants.) Finally, you cover the whole thing with a cheesecloth, secure it with a rubber band, and put the jar in a warmish, secluded spot.
This whole process took me a grand total of 20 minutes. And after that, I waited the suggested 15 days and gave it a taste. It was in that moment I decided: I would never again spend another cent on store-bought Kombucha. If you’re a fan of kombucha, do yourself a favor and start brewing your own at home. It couldn’t be easier, and it’s a surefire way to lower that grocery bill.
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