Happy gut, happy body. If you want a balanced gut, the first place to start is with the food you eat.
Hi friends! It’s been a minute since I legit wrote a blog post. Between motherhood, running my membership site, starting a YouTube Channel (yes, me! Go subscribe), and working on my own health journey, I haven’t had time to write as much as I used to.
However, I decided to start a new series on YouTube called “Foods for a Healthy Gut” and Kombucha is the first runner-up!
Ok, so if you live under a rock and don’t know what Kombucha is, let me enlighten you.
Kombucha is a fermented sweetened tea. It’s become really trendy lately and you might have seen it at the store and rolled your eyes at the price. (it’s not cheap)
Lately, I’ve been spending too much money on store-bought Kombucha and it hit me, why don’t I just make my own? Let’s just add that to the plate why don’t we?
No regrets. Truly amazing and so much fun. In this post, I’m going to tell you why I decided to start making my own kombucha, how I make it and how you can start making it too. I’m going to keep this as simple as possible because if you are anything like me, you don’t care about the history and how it all works (and if you do, there is a bunch of YouTube videos about that).
What are the benefits of drinking Kombucha?
So, as I mentioned before, I started to get serious about my gut health, especially because in the past year, I’ve been dealing with some gut imbalances. The consistent thing that kept coming up in my research was fermented foods to balance the gut microbiome.
1. Gut Health
Kombucha contains probiotics that are beneficial for a healthy gut. Probiotics are good bacteria that our guts need, especially if we have taken antibiotics in the past, and let’s be real, who hasn’t? Probiotics can also help improve our immune system
2. Reduced Cancer Risk
There is evidence that suggests that drinking kombucha can reduce the risk of cancer. Considering so many of us get cancer of something these days, why not do everything we can to reduce it?
3. Liver Health
Kombucha contains antioxidants that help fight molecules in the body that can damage cells. This can reduce liver inflammation.
4. Diabetes Management
Kombucha may also be helpful in managing type 2 diabetes.
A 2012 study found that kombucha helped to manage blood sugar levels in rats with diabetes. This finding suggests it may be helpful in type 2 diabetes management. Good news for the keto and low-carb people who are trying to manage their diabetes!
Is Kombucha Keto Friendly?
This is a great question, considering that you’ll need sugar to make Kombucha. Naturally, one would think that Kombucha isn’t allowed on a Keto diet because of the sugar content.
However, it’s important to note that the sugar used for brewing is food for the SCOBY. By the time the brewing is finished, most of the sugar is gone. That being said, if you add additional sugar such as juices and high sugar fruit after the brew, it may interfere with your state of nutritional ketosis.
So, the answer is, it depends. If you are not adding in extra sugar, then yes, Kombucha is keto-friendly. If you are adding extra sugar, then no, it is not.
Need more proof? Check out my YouTube channel where I tested the blood sugar response of kombucha on myself. The results may surprise you.
Ok, now that you know why drinking kombucha is awesome, let’s get into how we make it. It’s so simple it’s stupid. All you need is tea, sugar, a SCOBY, and starter kombucha.
Let’s simplify this.
How to make homemade Kombucha, the easy way.
You can easily fall down the rabbit hole of “how to make kombucha” on YouTube of kombucha considers talking hours about the fine art of fermenting tea, but who has time for all of that?
It’s pretty easy; you make tea, add sugar, add the SCOBY and kombucha starter and let it sit. Then, if you want it flavored and extra fizzy, you flavor it, pour it into bottles and let it sit some more. That is all.
Let’s break it down.
What you need to make Kombucha
- CLEAN HANDS- don’t you dare make kombucha right after changing a poopy diaper mama!
- Black Tea (you can really use any tea, but start with the traditional recipe if this is your first time
- A pot to make the tea (or kettle, whatevs)
- Sugar– yes, I know, I said sugar, don’t freak out, I’ll explain later
- A Scoby– you can buy one, have a friend give you one, or make your own. More on that later
- Starter Kombucha
- A glass jar
- Cheese Cloth
- Rubber Bands
You can also save yourself time and hassle and just buy a Kombucha starter kit. Here are some great options:
Step 1- Brew the tea
In a large pot, add 3 quarts (12 cups of filtered water). Heat up but DO NOT BOIL. Use a thermometer if need be. Add in 8 tea bags of Organic Black Tea.
Let me stop and say something here. If you are making homemade kombucha, I am going to assume you give a crap about your health so please buy organic tea and sugar and use some filtered water for the love of God. This stuff matters. Love you.
Ok, when the water is about 120 degrees F, put in the tea bags and steep for 5-10 minutes. The hotter your water, the less your steep time. I wouldn’t go past 10 minutes unless you want it to taste bitter.
Then, take out the tea bags and add in 3/4 cups of Organic Cane Sugar.
Ok, let’s stop here for a second. You might be thinking I am crazy. The sugar-free, keto blogger has gone insane.
But, hold up for a minute. Let me explain why we use sugar to brew kombucha. The bacteria needs something to eat, hence, sugar! The SCOBY will eat most of the sugar so no worries about breaking ketosis or raising your blood sugar. Unless you are adding in more sugar in the second ferment, you don’t need to worry about using sugar.
No sugar, no kombucha, got it? Ok, glad we got that cleared up.
So, you add the sugar and let it dissolve.
Now we wait until the tea cools. Go wash the dishes or do some laundry. If you are getting into kombucha brewing, you’ll need to practice your patience muscle. Sure, you can do an ice bath or add half room temperature water after the tea brews, but dude, just wait.
Step 2- Transfer tea to a glass jar
Once your tea has cooled, you will want to transfer it into your kombucha brewing vessel. Here are a couple of good ones:
Step 3- Add the SCOBY
A what? A SCOBY stands for (Symbiotic Culture of Yeast and Bacteria) which is going to eat that sugar like a toddler at a birthday party.
Now, I’ll warn you, it’s ugly AF. It looks like what I imagine an 80 yr old breast implant would look like, but without the SCOBY, there is no bucha baby.
So, the question is..
Where do you get a Scoby?
- Ask a kombucha to make friends for one. Every time you brew kombucha, you get a new SCOBY. Imagine a mama giving birth to a baby. So, maybe put out a Facebook message to your friends to see if anyone knows anyone, you know, networking.
- Buy one. I mean, what doesn’t Amazon have? You can buy a Scoby online. Here you go:
- Make one. Apparently you can make it with a bottle of original kombucha. This is what I attempted to do but God Bless my Aunt Vera, she just gave me one and saved me about 7 weeks. You can YouTube this if you are interested in going this route.
Make sure you place the SCOBY gently into the jar, like a newborn baby. Don’t just throw it in there, be nice to it. Then, let it do its thing and float where it wants to float. Don’t force it.
Step 4- Add the starter kombucha
You’ll want to add 2 cups of starter kombucha to the tea to give it a good jump start. You can use some from your previous brew but if you are reading this far down, I have to assume this is your first brew so just go out and buy a bottle of Original GTS Kombucha. Make sure it’s unflavored with no sugar added.
Step 5- Cover, date and store
Cover the jar with cheesecloth and a rubber band. You don’t want a tight lid but you don’t want to leave it open either because you’ll have a gnat fest. Gross.
Put a date on it. If you are anything like me, you have too many things to remember. This is where a label maker becomes handy.
Store the jar somewhere dark, room temperature around 70-75 degrees F. Don’t touch it, move it or mess with it. You want to let it ferment without any disruptions. I put mine on the top shelf of my pantry.
Yay! You did it! You made kombucha!
Well, almost. Now we wait. But for how long? Well, it all depends.
The longer you ferment, the stronger the kombucha will be. So the question depends on how you like your drinks.
7 days minimum, up to a few weeks. Honestly, 11 days in my pantry turned out some amazing kombucha.
After 7 days, you can carefully take it out and taste it with a straw. If it’s too light, let it go for another 3 days. This is all about experimenting and finding your sweet spot.
Don’t forget, this is just the first ferment. If you want to flavor your Kombucha and add more carbonation to it, you will want to ferment it again after the initial ferment so keep that in mind as well.
How to second ferment kombucha and add flavors
Second fermentation allows you to not only flavor your kombucha, but add carbonation which makes it fizzy and more enjoyable to drink.
The second fermentation is super easy.
- Step 1- Gently remove the scooby’s (you will have two). Place them in a container with 2 cups of the kombucha from the first ferment.
- Step 2- Pour kombucha into a pitcher or easy pouring vessel. Doing this will make it easier for you to transfer the kombucha into the swing-top bottles.
- Step 3- Add 1/4-1/3 cup of whatever flavor you want your kombucha to be
Here are some great options for low-carb/keto-approved flavorings:
- Ginger, Blueberry & Lemon (I made the pictured batch this flavor and it was amazing)
- Ginger & Lemon
- Blackberries & Lemon (or ginger)
- Raspberries & Lemon (or ginger)
- Strawberry lemonade (strawberries and lemon)
- Triple Berry (strawberry, raspberry & blackberry)
- Cinnamon and Cranberries (great for the holidays)
You can get really creative here. Play around with low-carb fruit (mostly berries) combined with aromatics, herbs, and spices to see which combination is the best for you)
- Step 4- Pour kombucha tea into flip jars. Leave about an inch of space from the top. One gallon of kombucha usually fills up 2 1-Liter jars and 1-16 oz jar.
- Step 5- Secure the top and leave it out for another 3-4 days
- Step 6- Burp the bottles once a day so you don’t have an explosion when you decide to drink it.
After that, the kombucha is ready to drink! You can strain the fruit, or leave it in and move the bottles into the refrigerator.
P.S. Want to learn more about gut health, how to reset your gut for weight loss, and reverse IBS, Candida, SIBO, or Leaky Gut? Join the waitlist to enroll in my signature weight loss program, BSB Tribe today! Click HERE to join the waitlist.
I’ve been really researching gut health lately and I’ve been wanting to make kombucha. Thanks for writing this easy to follow post!