so yeah… Kombucha tea. it’s happening. it’s been happening for months. i am in the thick of it. i’ve shared one SCOBY already, and i’m ready to gift my second upon completion of this batch. i have ARRIVED, i suppose you could declare, as far as the Kombucha brewing crowd is concerned. what IS Kombucha you ask??? it is a fermented tea, helped along by something called a SCOBY. which stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. it begins as a batch of plain and simple tea… with a cup of sugar added… brewed under near sterile technique… but that, my friend, is the boring part. the real magic happens when the SCOBY is added to the jar with a cup or two of the starter liquid, and it is left unattended in a dark and lonely space for 7-10 days or so. when you bring that lovely and hard working jar out into the light of your kitchen, and you note the bubbles around the scoby- and you remove your paper towel and rubber band…. VOILA! you see that your scoby has grown, seemingly doubled… from living and breathing and working with your sugar and caffeine in the tea. it is ‘foodie science’ at it’s finest people. set aside the probiotics and other health benefits you are about to experience, although these are huge… i am addicted to the TASTE of this stuff. it has the most lovely balance of sour and sweet, and it’s FIZZY!! how did all of this happen from plain tea?? you feel like you are a part of a science class, and you just aced your class project. if you are any part nerd, like i am, you are gonna dig this whole scene… trust me. enter then more coolness… the ability to do a second ferment- adding some juice or dried fruits to your cleaned (boiled if glass) bottles, adding tea up to the neck, capping, and allowing them to sit out at room temp (in same dark space) for three more days. this builds carbonation, naturally, and gives it the fizziness as well as allowing it to feed a bit on whatever fruit or juice you have added. the first time i brewed, i added some dried cherries to one or two bottles, a few slices of dried mango to another, and some “just blueberry” juice to the others. just make sure your juice is 100% juice without additives- and of a high quality. when i started out doing this, i used cleaned and sanitzed small coke bottles so that i could squeeze them a couple of days into the second ferment… if they were stiff- i knew there was carbonation happening. warning: do not neglect or forget about these bottles, they can explode. unlike soda, which does not continue to carbonate as it sits… these WILL. they are living and working cultured drinks. putting them in the fridge nearly stops the fermentation process, and they can be stored and enjoyed for up to a month. the recommendation is to start out slowly in your Kombucha consumption. 4 oz. a day is a good rule of thumb. also, drink PLENTY of water after enjoying. although kombucha has a sweet taste, keep in mind that it IS an acidic beverage, and consuming too much can wreak havoc on your system, throw off your acid/base balance and literally make you sick. as with everything in life, too much of even a good thing, is… well… too much. after a week or so of adjusting and comforting your body to the presence of the Kombucha, you may find a morning and night routine to be appealing. i find that when i consume a few ounces of this before bed at night- it aids greatly in digestion and does it’s best work while you sleep- at a time when you’re not adding anything else to your tummy. just my two cents… but it works well i find. you will read these things about kombucha as you leave my blog and do some homework: it is low in calories and sugar, it may or may not contain trace amounts (1% or less) of alcohol as a by product of the short fermentation process. it is full of probiotics and antioxidants, which our intestines love. It can boost overall health, aid in anxiety and depression, heart burn, arthritis, improve your skin and nails and the list goes on. pretty amazing stuff actually. no wonder it has been consumed for centuries in ancient China and touted “the elixir of life.” enzymes boost metabolism. this is a proven fact. so you do the math. although you may actually see a one or two pound weight GAIN when you start on this, it is simply due to it causing your gut to function WAY more efficiently. for a short time, i know, TMI… i saw a decrease in output for a few days… maybe i wasn’t drinking enough water, who knows… but shortly there after, i was on the regularity train, and how!! Kombucha tea costs anywhere from 2 – 7 dollars a bottle when you buy it at health food stores, no joke. it’s not cheap. when you brew your own… we’re talking pennies a bottle when it’s all said and done. if you don’t have filtered water (either on your tap or a Brita in the fridge) it is recommended to use distilled water. i buy a gallon of it each time i brew. just to be safe. the last thing i want to do is mess up my scoby. lol. i look at that thing as my mother ship to all future brews… well, because it IS! i have decided to NOT advise you how to brew Kombucha on this blog… simply because it is a lot of typing, a lot of steps, and i would feel AWFUL if i missed an important step and it didn’t work out for you. google it. you will have fun clicking from site to site- learning as you go. take notes. heck, start a little journal, jot down notes with each brew and then add notes about taste and whatever you encounter with your body as well. again… there’s the nerd in me coming out. i found some useful info on the wholeliving.com site, as well as thekitchn.com . there is kombucha eric- who is a high energy dude with oodles of good info for you surrounding kombucha. he is one of the founders of kombucha brooklyn. you can order scobys from them, starter kits, flip top bottles, etc. but most sites you will visit will link you to places and hook ups for starter kits. anyway, yeah… Kombucha… i’m loving it. enjoy!!