Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I'm Getting My Kombucha On with a Continuous Brew Kit from Get Kombucha!

A little over a week ago I received a Gold Continuous Brew Kit from GetKombucha.com. I can't tell you how excited I was when it landed on my doorstep!

I love when things are simple, and Get Kombucha makes brewing Kombucha easy with kits that come with everything you need to get started.

I was headed off to a conference that weekend, so I had to wait a week to get my tea brewing, staring longingly at the kit sitting on my counter, waiting to be used.

This past Saturday night I got everything out, accessed the instructions for brewing on the handy card included in the package, and got brewing!

I'm fairly new to the Kombucha phenomenon, and will admit that I originally bought my first bottle out of curiosity. I wanted to know what the fuss was about a drink that cost almost $5 per single serving bottle! I remember warily eyeing the globs of stuff floating around in the bottle, but put it in my cart and hoped for the best.

When I opened the bottle, I was surprised to find that it was actually effervescent, or bubbly, which is kind of fun! I took a tentative sip, and was instantly taken with the taste. It's a bit sweet, but mostly tart, kind of like a tart cider. Some people claim it's vinegary, but I don't taste vinegar. I actually really like the taste, and the bubbles add something extra. I started doing some research on it, and learned that Kombucha can easily be made at home, for much less than the price in stores.

Now, thanks to Get Kombucha, I'm brewing my own!

My tea, ready for the SCOBY!

What is Kombucha Tea? 

Kombucha is pretty trendy right now, but it's actually an ancient drink that dates back around 2000 years, with its origins believed to be in China. Made from simple ingredients, kombucha is a fermented probiotic drink that is great for digestion. Kombucha is great on its own, or it can be flavoured by adding flavouring at the end of the brewing process.

Calling it a raw, fermented, probiotic tea makes it sound kind of exotic and let's be honest, weird, except that it's not. Kombucha tea is made with tea, sugar, water, and what's called a SCOBY (a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).

YEAST???? Is It Gluten Free?

Yes, Kombucha is gluten free, or at least the homemade variety is if made from a gluten free SCOBY. The yeast in the starter culture is not brewer's yeast, which is not gluten free. Unless your starter culture was produced in a facility that also produces wheat or other gluten-based products, the actual SCOBY itself should be gluten free. As with any food items, make sure to read labels and ask questions.

In fact, many people with IBS, Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and other digestive issues swear by Kombucha. Kombucha has a very high probiotic count, which can actually be good for those with digestive issues by promoting healthy gut flora. I'm not a doctor, so I don't claim that kombucha has magical healing properties, but fermented foods are known to be high in healthy probiotics, and probiotics are great for gut health.

How Does It Work?

The magic really happens during the fermentation process. The yeast in the SCOBY feeds off the sugar in the mixture to get the fermentation going. The longer it sits, the more sugar is used up, leaving very little sugar in the final mixture. During the process, healthy bacteria grow, making the drink probiotic and great for digestion. It's naturally effervescent, and has a nice tart flavour. 

How Do You Make It?

Kombucha tea is actually quite simple to make. The brewing kit I received from GetKombucha.com provided me with everything I needed to get started, and I have enough supplies left over to keep me brewing tea for months to come.
Here are the basics, according to the instructions I received in the kit:

1- Boil 4 cups of water, and add 6 tea bags. Pour everything in your brewing vessel and let steep 5-10 minutes.
2- Remove bags and stir in 1 cup organic sugar until dissolved. Pour one gallon of cold water to tea to bring to room temperature.
3- Put your starter tea (some kombucha tea from a previous batch, a store bought bottle, or included in the kit), and the SCOBY in the brewing vessel.
4- Cover vessel with a breathable cloth & secure with a rubber band. Let brew 5-10 days, or up to 30 days, testing the flavour every few days.
5- Strain tea if desired, and bottle. Voila! Kombucha tea. Keep refrigerated.

For more detailed instructions and a ton of great info, sign up for Get Kombucha's free 7 day kombucha mini course here: http://www.getkombucha.com/free/  You can't go wrong with free!

With the continuous brew kit I received, everything I needed (except the water!) was included. And the unicorn. I'm still waiting on the unicorn.

What was I saying? Oh, right, the kit.

I received the Gold Brewing System, but Get Kombucha offers a variety of products from basic brewing kits, to starter cultures and teas, and more. My kit contained absolutely everything I needed to get brewing, so the process was really pretty simple. If you can make regular tea, you can make kombucha with the help of a Get Kombucha kit. This process was simple for me because I didn't have to hunt down a SCOBY from dubious sources, and now that I have one, it continues to create new ones, so I never have to buy another.

There is some talk about not making kombucha in ceramic containers because of the possibility of lead leaching from the glaze, so I made sure to do due diligence with the kit I ordered. Get Kombucha's brewing vessel is certified lead free porcelain, so there's no chance of lead leaking into your Kombucha.

My kombucha isn't quite ready yet for its big reveal, but I will be writing a whole new post when it's ready, and am planning some additional posts in the future on how to make different kombucha flavours.

**I received a complimentary Gold Continuous Brew Kit from Get Kombucha in return for an honest review. I did not receive any other financial compensation. 

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