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If you haven’t yet experienced the kombucha craze, chances are you will. Soon. Kombucha is touted as being one of the healthiest drinks around (its many effects include aiding digestion, increased metabolism, healing ailments, along with being chock full of enzymes and probiotics), but it is also priced like a miracle drink. While I am a definite kombucha believer, I am not a fan of paying $4 a pop on a dancer’s budget. The good news is you can brew your own kombucha for very minimal costs. Here is how:

1. You need to start with a mother SCOBY. This is essentially just a blob of good bacteria that is going to ferment the tea and add lots of healthy byproducts to the kombucha. You can buy them online for pretty cheap, but you can also grow a SCOBY if you are up for the full adventure. To begin growing your own SCOBY, you must first start with a  glass jar (a mason jar works well), 1 tea bag (any tea will do), 1 cup of sugar, a bottle of store bought original kombucha (not flavored), a clean kitchen towel and rubber band. Begin by brewing one cup of tea, stir in the sugar until it is dissolved and let the tea sit until it is at room temperature (heat will kill the good bacteria and the SCOBY). Then pour the tea into the glass jar, add about one cup kombucha (preferably the bottom of the bottle with all the little bits- these are the good parts!) and seal with the kitchen towel and rubber band. Let this sit in a warmish, darkish spot in your house for about 2-4 weeks. You will notice a film beginning to grow on top of the liquid- this is good. When the “film” becomes about 1/3 inch thick, it is a SCOBY and is ready to brew! A word to the wary, the SCOBY can look really gross, and feel really gross, but it is the miracle worker of kombucha.

2. To begin brewing kombucha, brew 1-2 gallons of tea. Stir in 1-2 cups sugar and let the tea mixture get to room temperature. Place the tea in a large (1-2 gallon) glass jar. Add 1 cup of store bought kombucha (if its your first batch) or kombucha from your previous batch. Then place the SCOBY on top of the liquid. It may sink at first, that OK. Then cover with a clean kitchen towel and rubber band. Let it sit for 7-14 days, depending on how sweet or tart you like it (the longer you let it sit, the more tart it will become,but also the more health benefits it will have). THATS IT!!!!! Once it is done, just bottle and refrigerate.

It’s really quite simple! And tea and sugar is all super inexpensive. The best part is, during the fermentation process, the SCOBY eats the sugar and creates good bacteria, so it is a very low sugar, high enzyme beverage. You can also experiment with adding a little juice for some flavor or making herbal syrups with sugar and water for different flavor (I recently tried lavender- so good). Happy brewing!!!!

The SCOBY

Kombucha Brewing

Written by Keenan Mclaren

Keenan McLaren is from Boston, MA where she began her ballet training at the age of 8. She trained at the Boston Ballet School for 10 years, and upon graduating from high school, secured a job as an apprentice with Ballet Austin II. After one season in Austin, Keenan then joined Dayton Ballet, where she danced for 5 seasons, performing many principal and soloist roles, as well as had many roles created on her by such choreographers as Christopher Fleming, Gregory Robinson, Steven Mills, Jeffrey Hughes, and Alan Hineline. In the fall of 2010, Keenan moved to Philadelphia to join the newly established BalletFleming, where she had the opportunity to dance many principal roles as well and set and ballet mistress many of Mr. Fleming’s works. For the upcoming season, Keenan is thrilled to be joining Nashville Ballet.
In her free time, Keenan is an avid yogi and yoga teacher, having just completed her training with Baron Baptiste. She is also a huge foodie and loves cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, especially with raw and vegan foods. Keenan also loves photography, particularly black and white film. In 2008, she won a Dance Magazine Photo contest and hopes to one day become a dance photographer.