by Lola
Kombucha Sustainable Drink

Do you enjoy carbonated drinks? 

Yes, we all love the refreshing sensation of a frizzy and cold drink during the summer, but I definitely don’t like the long list of artificial ingredients they usually have. So, I think I have found the perfect answer to this problem.

Even when I was a child, I never really liked the conventional soft drinks that you might discover in bars or supermarkets, something that my parents really appreciated. But, as I grew up, I constantly struggled to decide what to drink when I was at social gatherings. I was always the “unique” person in the room who preferred to have just water, instead of another drink. 

And why? First, because you never get to know what is inside the can or bottle. Does anyone really understand what those mysterious ingredients with very long names mean? I am not interested in discovering it either.

Secondly, because I am very aware of the waste that the production and commercialization of these products involve, and I do not want to be part of it. 

Oceana study finds that as many as 34 billion plastic bottles produced by soft drink industry enter the ocean each year; just a 10% increase in refillables can reduce ocean PET plastic pollution by up to 7.6 billion bottles 

Oceana report

So, I think it is the right time to switch to a more natural and sustainable product.

Plastic Waste bottles and cans. Oceana study finds that as many as 34 billion plastic bottles produced by the soft drink industry enter the ocean each year
Oceana study finds that as many as 34 billion plastic bottles produced by the soft drink industry enter the ocean each year

Let me tell you about Kombucha… 

I am confident that you feel the same way about those terrible numbers, so I will tell you my little secret: Kombucha!!

This ancient Chinese drink has become extremely popular recently. However, its origins go back to ancient times, to 221 BC to be exact. There are many entertaining tales and stories about it; some believed that Kombucha was a magical drink consumed by emperors; others thought that it was drunk by Tibetan monks. Whatever the myth, back then, it was appreciated for its supposed exceptional healing properties.

These are genuinely fascinating facts, but you might be wondering: what is kombucha? And that is a very good question! 

Kombucha is a fermented drink that is made with green or black tea (never infusions), sugar, and SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). It is an absolutely natural and beneficial drink because of its probiotics and lack of chemicals. I tried this sustainable soft drink several years ago for the first time, and I have not stopped drinking it since then! 

The amazing drink of the future! 

It is not by chance that Kombucha is considered the drink of the future, as it is an incredible option to enable us to reduce energy costs and plastic. 

Furthermore, by brewing your own drinks, you will be helping the environment.

Regarding plastic, the big soft-drinks companies have been named “top plastic polluters “for the third year in a row. According to Break Free from Plastic, most of the plastic that was found discarded on beaches, rivers, and parks was beverage bottles and cans. 

So, think about it, when you brew your Kombucha (or other natural drink) at home, you eliminate several unnecessary contaminating steps and materials such as Packaging. You can re-use the same glass bottle several times. 

Also, when producing on a large scale, we consume a lot of energy and create pollution, not to mention the fuel and the CO2 included in the shipping and delivery. You could eliminate several of these effects by making your own natural and sustainable soft drink at home. If you want to learn more about how to reduce your waste in your daily day, read my article about Zero-Waste!

And let’s not forget that this popular and natural drink is a healthy alternative to sodas, as it is a low-sugar product that contains a lot of antioxidants, probiotics, and antimicrobial properties. Different studies have revealed that Kombucha has a notable concentration of antioxidants, due to the polyphenols present in the tea and this is very good for our health because they prevent cell damage by free radicals. In addition, probiotics are also found in abundance in Kombucha, as in other fermented foods and beverages, they might help you to improve digestion. 

Kombucha and SCOBY in a glass container

And do you know the best part? You can actually brew your own Kombucha at home very easily. Let me share the recipe with you.

Step by step – Brew your own Kombucha at home

I. Obtain your SCOBY.

You will need a SCOBY to make our delicious drink, and there are usually two ways of obtaining it. The easiest is to ask someone who already brews their own kombucha to give you a piece of their Scoby. The alternative, if you are not that lucky, is to grow your own.

If you want to grow this culture of bacteria and yeast yourself, you will need:

  • three cups of water, 
  • two bags of black tea, 
  • 32 g of sugar, and 
  • 500ml of store-bought Kombucha (It will need to be raw and unfiltered.). 

First, you will need to boil the water, and then step in the two bags of black tea. After 20 minutes, you can remove the bags and mix in the sugar. Finally, pour this sugary tea into a container, cover it with a breathable towel for 2-3 weeks and place it in a dark cupboard. And, Voila! After those weeks, you will have your own Scoby and the so-called Kombucha starter. 

 Are you prepared now to produce your own magical drink?

II. The preparation of the tea, before the fermentation process

Now that you have your Scoby, you can start with the brewing process of our fabulous Kombucha.

The ingredients and tools that we will need are:

  • The Scoby and the Kombucha starter
  • 2 liters of water
  • Four black or green tea bags (2 per liter). (If you would like to use white or red tea, you will need to mix it with black tea). The tea that worked better for me is Oolong tea, but you can use the tea of your choice.
  • 100 gr of sugar
  • Two stainless steel sheets or glass container
  • A Non-metallic strainer
  •  A towel
  •  Rubber bands

The ingredients for the Kombucha: Sugar, water, two tea bags, 2 L of water, and the Kombucha starter.
The ingredients and tools for the Kombucha.

The preparation of the Kombucha:

  1. Boil 2L of water.
  2. Pour it over the four tea bags and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Remove the tea bags or strain the tea.
  4. Then, add the sugar & stir until it dissolves.  Now, wait for the tea to cool down to room temperature (30Cº or lower). This last step is essential, as if the temperature of the Tea is too high, it will kill our SCOBY.
  5. Finally, when it has cooled down, add the starter Kombucha tea and the SCOBY to the mix.

III. The Fermentation Process of the Kombucha

The hard work is already done but a little bit more patience is needed for you to enjoy the delicious Kombucha. 

Cover it with a towel and secure it with a rubber band. Then, leave it in a dark cupboard for 7 days to ferment. The fermentation process may vary depending on different factors such as the temperature of the room. However, you can test after 7 days, and you will know that the fermentation is finished if the drink no longer tastes like sweet tea and instead has a sour flavor.

  1. Finally, with clean hands, you can remove the SCOBY.

Once the tea is fermented and strained, it can be bottled and refrigerated.

If you want to replicate the process, always leave about 15% of the Kombucha drink for the next batch and use the same SCOBY.

IV. Second Fermentation (optional)

8. This step is optional. This second fermentation will build heavier carbonation, so it is a factor that you will need to take into consideration in case that you don’t love bubbly drinks. 

For additional flavor, you can use tea, fresh fruit (apples, oranges, strawberries, etc.), or fruit juice.

My favorite combination is with Apple juice and ginger, but you can use any combination that you prefer. Once you have picked up your favorite fruit or juice, -add them to the bottle of finished kombucha and leave them on the counter for additional 3-5 days to carbonate.

My favorite Kombucha is with Apple and Ginger

As you can see, it is a straightforward process and once you get the hang of it, you can even have fun and experiment with it.

The ingredients are not difficult to find either, as they are sold in any supermarket or store If you don’t already have them at home now. Kombucha is also a lot healthier and cheaper than buying a package of fizzy drinks! This homemade basic kombucha recipe will cost you less than 1 Euro. 

Have I given you enough reasons to switch from conventional soda drinks to Kombucha? I hope so!!  Otherwise, let me know what you think or share your own experience on my Instagram page!  And check other recipes here or here 😀

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