Why I Brew

Jayleen Rennebergnatural living, nutrition, self-development

Brewing Kombucha

Brewing Komucha is becoming more popular these days. Talks of mothers, scoby hotels and kombucha mushrooms aren’t super weird on Facebook anymore. In fact, in addition to all the home brewing going on, more and more kombucha micro breweries are cropping up. Even health food stores are selling kombucha on tap! So why kombucha? This drink is a tasty and excellent option for people who are trying to be healthy.  When people talk about wanting to get healthier, the same things tend to come up. Most people want to stop drinking pop, reduce their amount of coffee and improve their digestion. I started drinking kombucha to replace my afternoon latte, it was the same price, refreshing and was hopefully going to help my IBS. Then my sister-in-law brought home a scoby and on an off for the last 3 years I’ve brewed my own for a fraction of the price. So how does kombucha replace pop and coffee and why is it so great for digestion?

Pop, even natural pops, are usually pretty high in sugar and most diet pops on the market contain artificial colourants and aspartame which many people report can give them headaches or lead to weight gain. There are a few new natural pops sweetened with stevia which are better options but if you’re just looking for fizz with more flavor than sparkling water, kombucha is a great alternative. Kombucha gets is fizz naturally from fermentation. When your komucha is sealed during your second ferment, the scoby (or mother) continues to eat up sugar and produces carbonation. A typical glass of kombucha will contain about 2-3g of sugar that is already partially fermented making it easier for the body to handle. Compare that to a standard can of coke and you’re getting 7% the amount. If you’ve never tried kombucha before, I’d recommend starting with grape as it tends to taste the sweetest making the transition easier.

Whether or not coffee is good or bad for your health is debatable, but most of us know that too much of anything is not good. High volumes of coffee will dehydrate the body and has the potential to leach minerals from your bones. Once again, komucha can be used as a replacement. Komucha is usually brewed off of green tea or black tea as most komucha cultures (scoby/mother) need caffeine to survive. The amount of caffeine left over in komucha is minimal compared to a cup of coffee but there is something else in here that can give you a boost in energy… B vitamins. Komucha contains Vitamin B1, B6, and B12. With a low content and caffeine and B vitamins, komucha is a great afternoon coffee supplement that will get you a bit of a natural buzz without dehydration or mineral leaching.

Digestion seems to be a popular issue people face these days. Constipation and loose stools are becoming more of the norm than the exception, which stinks!  Komucha to the rescue. Last week, I wrote a blog, Love Your Bugs, about the importance of good bacteria for health. Since kombucha is fermented, it contains good bacteria cultures that help your gut with digestion and bloating. There has even been evidence of komucha killing H Pylori, a bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers. Daily kombucha can help to recolonize your intestines with beneficial bacteria and reduce gastrointestinal issues. Eight years after and IBS diagnosis, with dietary changes, including fermented food and drink, like kombucha, I have not had a digestive episode in over 3 years. Kombucha is definitely not the sole reason for this but I know that it definitely did not hurt me at all and likely helped more than I realize.

Brewing it at home is simple, and yes a bit time consuming. You don’t need much to get started, just water, black tea bags, sugar, a large glass container and a scoby (aka. mother or mushroom). The scoby is the culture that performs the fermentation. It’s kind of clear and slimy and slippery and can be called a mushroom sometimes for this reason.  There is a first ferment that lasts about 1 week depending on the temperature of your house and a second ferment that lasts about 3 days. Every time you make a batch, your scoby produces an “offspring” and before you know it, that scoby, that was so hard to get a hold of the first time, has produced so many “babies” that you’ll be trying to convince all your friends to start brewing too. If you want to learn more about brewing kombucha, check out this page. What I like most about brewing is that if you want to take a break you can. I haven’t brewed a batch in 5 months but I know it’s ready for me when I’m ready for it.

If you don’t want to brew at home, kombucha is becoming more easily accessible. You can find it in the refrigerator section in the natural foods isle at most local Superstores, the drink cooler in most Save-On-Foods, every health food store (including most supplement stores), on tap at Blush Lane and even occasionally at Costco! It isn’t cheap but it is less expensive than a venti latte. If you haven’t already tried this guilt free bevy, what are you waiting for?