#WELLNESSWEDNESDAY WITH LIVIYA KOMBUCHA TEA

Kombucha tea is an ancient health drink, consumed for thousands of years because of its health benefits. Not only is the tea rich in probiotics and anti-oxidants, it also fights bacteria and diseases. And at approximately R5 for 3.5 litres of tea, it is a very inexpensive health supplement too.

Kombucha tea starts out as a sugary tea, but thanks to a “SCOBY” (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), it ferments to become a slightly sour tasting cold drink. The bacteria and yeast in the scoby eat most of the sugar in the original tea mixture transforming it into a slightly fizzy health beverage with less than 1% alcohol. Despite the amount of sugar used in the making of Kombucha tea, it becomes a low kilojoule, low sugar drink.

Scientific studies have shown that drinking Kombucha tea regularly can reduce liver toxicity caused by harmful hidden chemicals in our diets. Kombucha improves liver and kidney function. Studies have also shown that Kombucha can help type 2 diabetics because it slows down the digestion of carbohydrates, which reduces blood sugar levels, thereby assisting with weight loss too.

Kombucha is rich in tea polyphenols and acetic acid, which have both been shown to suppress the growth of undesirable bacteria and yeasts in our gut. Tests have also shown that Kombucha helps prevent the growth and spread of cancerous cells. It is thought that the polyphenols block gene mutation and growth of cancer cells while also promoting cancer cell death.

Kombucha tea has become a popular fizzy drink and many pre-bottled varieties are popping up in shops and restaurants. Sugar-laden fizzy drinks are extremely unhealthy but kombucha presents a lower-sugar, natural alternative. Many millennials are now opting for bottled Kombucha at bars and restaurants instead of beer and other alcoholic beverages. So why not give our recipe below a try to make your own pineapple flavoured Kombucha Tea. It tastes great!

Kombucha Tea (makes 3.5 litres)

Cost of ingredients in July 2020: Approximately R5.35 for 3.5 litres

Ingredients

  • 1 scoby and 500ml of Kombucha tea from an existing brew
  • 3 litres boiling water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tea bags (ordinary tea only)

Method

Ensure that all your pots, jars and utensils are clean and sterilised with boiling water before making the tea. Do not use any metal utensils when working with the scoby or Kombucha as it can give your tea a metallic taste and weaken your scoby over time.

Boil 3.5 litres of water in a kettle and pour into a clean heat resistant 4 litre glass jar. Add the sugar and stir with a clean spoon until dissolved. Add the tea bags and leave to cool to room temperature (or overnight).

Remove tea bags and pour the scoby from the previous brew into the jar. Cover with a paper towel or muslin fabric and secure with an elastic band. Leave to brew in a warm place (away from sunlight) for 7 to 14 days.

During this process, bacteria and yeast form a mushroom-like film (scoby) on the surface of the liquid. This is why kombucha is also known as “mushroom tea.”

After 7 to 14 days, using plastic tongs remove the scoby from the new brew and place it in a plastic jug with 500ml Kombucha. Strain the remaining Kombucha tea through a plastic sieve and pour into glass bottles. You can drink it straight away or alternatively, add pieces of cleaned fresh fruit (like pineapple) to the bottles, put the lids on and store in the fridge for up to 10 days for the fruit to ferment and add flavour. Enjoy 1 cup of Kombucha tea per day.

Repeat the process above to make more Kombucha tea every 7 to 14 days. You can also double the ingredients and use 2 four litre jars if you require more Kombucha tea.

To benefit from the cancer fighting benefits of green tea, Kombucha tea can be made with 4 ordinary tea bags and 2 green tea bags instead of 6 bags of ordinary tea.

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