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How to Make Water Kefir

how to make water kefir

Water kefir is another type of fermented beverage. It is made by fermenting water with water kefir grains. Like kombucha, water kefir is also beneficial to our gut because of the probiotics that it contains. Water kefir is effervescent like Kombucha, but it is lighter. If you don’t like Kombucha’s tangy flavor but you want the same benefits that it offers, kefir is a great alternative. So, how do you make water kefir?

Basic Water Kefir Recipe

There are many recipes when it comes to making water kefir. Unlike Kombucha, you can flavor water kefir during the first fermentation. It is also up to you if you want to add minerals to water kefir. Many recommend adding minerals though, as it makes water kefir healthier. But if you can get muscovado sugar or black strap molasses, you may not need to add more minerals; since these types of sugar are high in minerals. So, here’s the basic recipe to making water kefir.

water kefir philippines

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water (tap, mineral, spring)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (white, brown, muscovado, black strap molasses. I personally use muscovado)
  • 4 tablespoons water kefir grains

Please note: 1 tablespoon of kefir grains is good for 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 cup of water.

What You Need

  • 1 liter glass jar
  • Strainer
  • Tablespoon to use for measurements
  • Cup
  • 1 rubber band
  • Clean piece of cloth/coffee filter/cheesecloth

brewing water kefir

Instructions

  1. Boil four cups of water.
  2. While you wait for your water to boil, strain your water kefir grains. Place it in your jar and set aside.
  3. Once the water has completely boiled, turn off the heat and add four tablespoons of sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let the sugared water cool down.
  4. Once the water has cooled down, pour it over to your jar and cover with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band. Optional: add some fresh fruits like lemon, pineapples, fig, etc. for flavoring.
  5. Store the jar in a warm and dry place, away from the sunlight.
  6. Wait for 1-3 days.
  7. After a day, do a taste test. If the water kefir is water slightly sour, like a lemonade, it is ready.
  8. Enjoy your homemade water kefir and be proud of yourself.

Have questions? Leave a comment below.

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What is Water Kefir?

what is water kefir

If you know Kombucha, chances are, you also know it’s cousin – the Kefirs. I’m saying Kefirs because there are different types of Kefir. Th water kefir, milk kefir and coconut water kefir. In this article, we’ll talk about water kefir first. Because it’s my new favorite fermented drink, next to booch.

water kefir philippines
Water kefir is another type of fermented beverage. It uses water kefir grains to ferment water? Wait, what? Fermented water? Yes, it’s fermented water. Now before you call me crazy for fermenting water, let me tell you that it’s the bomb. It gives water that extra oomph, which is a gift from heaven for people like me who don’t like drinking water.

Water kefir is called as tibi, tibicos or sugar water. My mom calls it tibicos. The grains that ferment water kefir are not really grains. They are called grains, because they are small crystals, unlike kombucha SCOBY that is a lump of bacteria and yeast. But, these grains contain different strains of bacteria and yeasts.

water kefir philippines

I have just started fermenting water kefir, but my mom used to make it about 7-8 years ago. I can’t remember if I tried her water kefir before, but she said she threw it away because couldn’t take care of it anymore as she was going on vacation. Also, it was growing like crazy and she was afraid it might grow inside her stomach.(This is before my mom discovered internet and Google.)

So what’s in Water kefir?

Water kefir grains have LactobacillusStreptococcus,Pediococcus and Leuconostoc bacteria with yeasts from SaccharomycesCandida, and Kloeckera which will make your gut thank you.

What does water kefir taste like?

brewing water kefir

Plain water kefir tastes like water with sugar. The longer it ferments, the tangier it gets. It tastes lighter than Kombucha and doesn’t have that vinegary smell. If you can’t stomach kombucha and you want the good bacteria from it, drink water kefir.

Have you tasted water kefir before? If so, please tell me what you like about it in the comments below!

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How to Setup a Kombucha Continuous Brewing System

How to Make Kombucha Continuous Brewing System

Do you always run out of kombucha tea? If you do, it’s time to setup a Kombucha Continuous Brewing System.

Here are what you need:

  • a large glass jar with a metal/food grade plastic spigot
  • a clean piece of clothing or coffee filter
  • a rubber band
  • a kombucha SCOBY
  • starter tea from previous batch of Kombucha
  • water (depends on how many gallons you will make)
  • tea bags (for every gallon of kombucha you make, use at least 6-8 tea bags)
  • sugar (1 cup per every gallon)
kombucha continuous brew
Photo by: Spoonful Of Sugar Free

What to do:

  • Prepare your sweet tea by boiling your water. Once the water starts showing bubbles, turn off the fire and steep your tea for 8 or more minutes depending on how strong you want your tea.
  • Remove the tea bags and add your sugar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Let the sweet tea cool down. Once it has cooled down, pour it in to your glass jar with spigot.
  • Pour your starter tea and SCOBY in to the jar.
  • Cover it with a piece of cloth or a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band.
  • Wait for 3-10 days or until your kombucha tastes tart and a little sweet. Once your kombucha is ready, you can harvest your produce by bottling and flavoring.
  • Refill your CB system with sweet tea.
kombucha continuous brewing system
Photo by: Hybrid Rasta Mama

Wait there’s more!

As you can see, making a continuous brewing system is not very different from making kombucha by batch. But the beauty of making a CB system is that you can have kombucha anytime you want and on tap, because you can make more than a gallon.

Note: Whenever you get kombucha tea from your CB system, replace it with the same amount of sweet tea.

Have questions about making your own kombucha continuous brewing system? Ask out in the comment and I’ll answer. 🙂

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Kombucha Tea Second Fermentation

Blackberry Kombucha tea

When it comes to making homemade kombucha tea, the fun part comes when you start flavoring it. This is usually done during the second fermentation, or the time when you harvest the booch and bottle them.

How to do Kombucha tea second fermentation?

The second fermentation process of kombucha tea starts when you harvest and bottle it. This is such a simple process. Just make sure that you leave the scoby onto your jar with at least a cup of booch. That booch will serve as the starter tea for the next batch you will be making.

Once you are done bottling your kombucha tea, the next thing to do is to do the second fermentation. Now, second fermentation is just letting your bottled k-tea sit for 1-2 days. During this period, the kombucha will still continue to ferment even without the SCOBY. This process will make the flavor stronger. This is the perfect time to flavor your kombucha tea, because the flavors you add will not affect the SCOBY anymore.

Remember, you can add any flavors you like. Once you added your flavors, let it sit in the counter for one to three days. If it is warm in your house, I suggest you taste the flavored kombucha tea after hours. If you already like the taste of it, you can then start consuming it. If not, let it go for a few hours or days until the taste is right to you. If the taste is right to you but you don’t want to consume it all, you can also keep it in the fridge to slow down the fermentation process and avoid it from becoming to sour.

I hope this answers your questions about the second fermentation. If you have questions, comments and suggestions, please write it down below.

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How to Store a Kombucha SCOBY?

kombucha scoby
Do you have a kombucha mother and not ready to brew it yet? If so, you need to know how to properly store it.
Kombucha-SCOBY-Mother

Many people have asked me this question. Usually they are worried and I always assure them to stop worrying. SCOBYs are very forgiving. However, you still have to make sure that they are handled with care.

Keep them safe!

You don’t need to refrigerate the SCOBY. If you don’t have a glass jar yet, just get a glass bowl or pitcher and put your SCOBY and the starter tea there. Cover it with a cloth and secure with a rubber band. You may also use the cover of the pitcher. Then, keep it inside your cabinet or counter top. Just make sure it’s safe from pets and/or kids and away from direct sunlight. Once you are ready to make your own Kombucha tea at home, just pour it in to your jar. Expect your kombucha culture to small stronger by then.
Have questions about making kombucha tea at home? Ask away in the comments!
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What Type of Tea Can I Use to Make Kombucha?

Tea for kombucha brewing

Lately people have asked me what type and brand of tea I am using in brewing my Kombucha tea. So today, I’m going to answer that question here.

Real tea! That’s the shortest answer to this question that is usually followed by, “what brand of tea?”

The tea should come from these leaves, but with a few exception.
The tea should come from these leaves, but with a few exception.

Green, Black, White, Oolong, Herbal Tea or Flavored Tea?

When it comes to choosing which real tea to use for kombucha brewing, your choices are between green, black, white and oolong. No matter what you choose, it doesn’t matter. I personally use black, green and white. I love black more than green. It’s up to you, as long as you use real tea. Why? Because Kombucha needs the tannin.

Tannins are a class of compound that can be found in Camellia Sinensis, or the real teas (black, green, white and oolong. This is the compound that gives tea the bitter and astringent taste. The SCOBY needs it to cook, err, brew something good for you. A combo of these teas can also be used, like English breakfast. If you’re a newbie and don’t have a lot of SCOBYs to experiment with, stick with using plain first.

As for herbal and flavored teas, only use herbal teas that contain tannins, such as elderberries, hibiscus, butterfly pea and others. You can’t use flavored teas in first ferment because those teas have oil that may not be good for the health of the SCOBY. But for second ferment, you can use flavored teas. I’ve personally used flavored teas like Moroccan mint for flavoring.

What if I can’t take caffeine?

If you can take caffeine and can’t get real teas, I have a GOOD NEWS for you! YOU STILL CAN BREW KOMBUCHA! You just need to use herbal teas that come from plants that contain tannins, which are dried elderberries and dried hibiscus and others that I don’t know.

elderberries for Kombucha
Dried elderberries can be used to brew Kombucha
dried hibiscus for kombucha brewing
Dried Hibiscus can also be used in brewing Kombucha

What brand of tea should I use?

The brand doesn’t matter really. If you like a certain brand, then go on. I personally use Stash tea to make mine. They have a lot of flavors, but I stick to their organic green, black and white teas. I also use organic Sencha green tea that I got in Japan. Any brand that you’ve tried and liked can be used. You should check out our collection of organic tea and herbal teas you can use for kombucha brewing here.

Can I use flavored tea?

I have tried some flavored teas, like Jasmin and lemongrass and both were awesome! But if you’re going to use flavored tea, make sure you blend it with green, black or white tea. This way, you can still get tannins. You can also use flavored tea to flavor kombucha tea, just do a second fermentation, so the SCOBY will not get in contact with flavore tea. Because, flavored teas can have oils that may not be good for SCOBYs.

I hope this is now clear. If you still have questions about the types of tea to use for kombucha brewing, please feel free to comment below.

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How to Flavor Kombucha Tea?

kombucha with berries

Plain Kombucha tea is delicious as it is, but when it is flavored, it is even better. The best part about making your own kombucha tea, next to drinking it, is flavoring. Why? Because you get to experiment, have fun and make up any flavor you like!

Blackberry Kombucha tea
Blackberry Kombucha

How to flavor Kombucha tea?

It’s easy, just dump in any kind of flavor you like. (Anything edible, of course).

Yes, you can add any flavor to your Kombucha. The most common that people use, and that I also personally use, are fresh fruits.

Using Fruits to Flavor

Like I said, using fruits to flavor Kombucha tea is the most common practice. If you are going to this route, I suggest using fresh fruits. If you can’t find fresh fruits, you can use frozen. Once you have found a fruit you want to use, you can chop them or squeeze the juices if you have a juicer and add that to your kombucha tea.

Mango Kombucha Tea
Mango Kombucha Tea

Rule of the thumb: If you’re flavoring using chopped fruits, use 20%-30% flavor and 70%-80% Kombucha Tea. If you’re using fruit juice, use 10%-20% fruit juice and 80%-90% Kombucha tea.

Fruits You Can Use to Flavor Kombucha tea:
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Orange
  • Strawberry
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Grapefruit
  • Blackberry
  • Blueberry
  • Peaches
  • Kiwi
  • Elderberries
  • Lemon
  • Watermelon
  • Banana
  • Pear

Using Spices to Flavor

Honestly, the only spice I’ve used in flavoring Kombucha is cinnamon. I like my apple cinnamon kombucha tea, it’s my favorite flavor. But I’ve never used just plain spice to flavor kombucha. Most of the recipes I read also combine fruits with spices or herbs with spices. If you’re feeling a little braver than me when it comes to flavoring with spices, maybe I’ll woman up next time and follow your lead. (Let me know if you’ve done it after reading this!)

pineapple kombucha tea
Pineapple-flavored Kombucha. I used fresh pineapple juice to flavor.

Spices You Can Use to Flavor Kombucha tea:

  • Cinnamon
  • Chai Spice
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla beans
  • Pumpkin pie spice

Using Herbs to Flavor

Herbs can also be used to flavor Kombucha. When adding herbs, it’s best to experiment until you get your desired taste. I’ve never personally tried adding herbs to flavor my booch, but maybe you’re more of a risk-taker than me. If you are, please let me know how it turns out!

Herbs You Can Use for Flavor:
    • Jasmine
    • Lemongrass
    • Lavender
    • Chamomile
    • Pandan leaves

Once you have already flavored your Kombucha tea, you can enjoy it right away or add ice cubes to it. You may also do second fermentation, if you want a richer flavor. To do that, just let the flavored kombucha tea sit for 1-3 days in room temp. And, be careful with explosions. It’s best to put it inside a cabinet or a cooler.

Kombucha_with_berries-1

Want to start brewing your own Kombucha tea at home? Find out where you can find Kombucha tea in the Philippines here.

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Kombucha Recipe: How to Make Kombucha Tea at Home

kombucha tea recipe

kombucha-recipe-infographic-jpg

Most people think that making Kombucha tea at home is challenging and not worth the effort. What they didn’t know is that it’s fun (and it feels like you are inside Dexter’s Laboratory experimenting with an ugly SCOBY) and it’s totally easy! Not to mention you can save a lot of money from making your own, instead of buying.

So how do you make your own Kombucha Tea at home?

Makes 1 Gallon of Kombucha Tea. If you want to brew more, remember that a gallon of tea needs 1 cup of sugar and 6-8 tea bags, depending on how strong you want your tea to be. For smaller batches, please refer to this table.

kombucha recipe ratios

Ingredients:

Equipment Needed:

  • A gallon jar
  • A clean piece of cloth or coffee filter
  • A rubber band
  • cooking pot

Instructions:

(For first fermentation or 1F)

  1. Place 4 cups of water to your pot and bring it to boil. (Tip: don’t let the water boil completely. Once it starts showing bubbles, add the tea bags. This will help in keeping oxygen in the water and will help you get a nice fizz.)
  2. Once it boils up, add your tea bags. (Don’t stir!)
  3. After 8-10 minutes, remove your tea bags and add 1 cup of sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Mix your sweet tea to the rest of your water and pour the mixture in to your jar.
  5. Add in the Kombucha starter tea to your sweet tea and mix.
  6. Add in your Kombucha SCOBY to the mixture.Kombucha-SCOBY-Mother
  7. Cover your jar with the cloth and secure it with a rubber band. Place it in a dry and warm place.
  8. Wait for 3-7 days.
  9. After 3 days, taste your kombucha tea. If the taste is tart and sweet to your liking, it’s good to go! You can now drink it as it is or mix it with your favorite fruit juice or you can go on to second fermentation (instructions here). If it’s still too sweet, taste it again in 12 hours.

Note: Leave the SCOBY and at least a cup of your kombucha tea in to your jar. That will serve as the starter for your next batch.

Want to start brewing your own kombucha tea? Click here to get kombucha brewing kits.

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What Are the Benefits of Drinking Kombucha Tea?

For those of you who have seen a Kombucha culture and watched how it is made, I’m pretty sure it made you gag at first. Kombucha SCOBYs can look like monsters who goes out of the jars and walk around your house at night, but they are beneficial to the health and make yummy concoctions. So, what are these benefits that I’m talking about?

Kombucha benefits
Photo credit: Wellness Mama

The Benefits of Kombucha Tea

Many sources such as Food Renegade amd Dr. Axe have claimed that Kombucha tea has a lot of benefits to offer. Some others claim it to be the Magical Health Elixir. But, kombucha tea can have different effects. So, I’m going to tell you about the benefits that I’ve personally experienced since I’ve started drinking booch.

  • Less sugar cravings: Before discovering Kombucha, I always have sugar cravings. Afternoon snacks and after-dinner snacks would consist of cakes, cookies, waffles, candies and other sugary food. Since I started drinking Kombucha, these cravings went away. Even my cravings for salty junk food were gone.
  • No more soda: I’d like to think I’m not a big soda drinker. I only drink at least half a glass of soda every other day. But I also don’t drink enough water and that’s why I don’t get enough liquid. After discovering kombucha, I replaced soda with it. Kombucha tea makes my throat feel dry, so I always drink water after drinking it.
  • More energy: I’m a morning person. No matter how late I sleep, my biological clock wakes me up before 6 AM. So late night movie marathon with friends or overtimes at work means, I will be lethargic the next day due to lack of sleep and would take 1-hr naps in the middle of the day. Since I started drinker Kombucha, I am more energized. I don’t need long naps anymore.
  • More water: As I’ve mentioned above, I’m not a big water drinker. I can go on the day with a cup of coffee and a glass of water. Drinking Kombucha makes my throat feel dry, so I always follow it with a glass of water.
  • Better sleep: Kombucha tea contains caffeine. This is why most people drink it to stay up all night when they need to and stay away from it if they don’t need to pull an all-nighter. But I have a different experience when it comes to drinking caffeine when it’s not morning. It makes me feel lethargic and sleepy. So since Kombucha tea contains caffeine just like coffee, I thought it would help me sleep better at night. It worked! If you’re the type of person who has a hard time sleeping after drinking caffeinated drinks, I suggest not drinking booch before bed time.
  • Helps with bowel movement: I don’t want to explain this more, because I’m sure you get it. 🙂
benefits of drinking kombucha tea
Photo credit: Primarilly Inspired
These are the benefits that I’ve noticed since I’ve started drinking Kombucha. Not a long list, compared to the list of other people and websites since I am talking about my experience. to start brewing your own Kombucha tea at home, go to this link.
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Where to Buy Kombucha Tea in the Philippines

Kombucha tea is still foreign to many Filipinos. There are only a few shops and restaurants that offer bottled kombucha tea and they are expensive. To save money, the best thing that you can do is to make it yourself.

kombucha starter kit
Kombucha starter kit

If you want to make your own Kombucha tea at home, Kombucha Philippines is selling Kombucha starter kits for Php400. The starter kit comes with a SCOBY (kombucha culture) and a cup of starter tea, plus instructions on how to brew your kombucha and a new friend named Jannah. Please go to this link to buy kombucha SCOBY with starter tea.

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What is Kombucha Tea?

what is kombucha

Jake Gyllenhaal, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lindsay Lohan, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Vanessa Hudgens, What do they have in common? Yes, you’re right; they’re all Hollywood A-listers. But there’s another thing they all have in common. It’s Kombucha.

vanessa hudgens and kombucha
Vanessa Hudgens with a bottle of kombucha in her hands

What is Kombucha tea?

If you’ve heard about Lindsay Lohan’s DUI cases, you may have also heard about her failing an alcohol test that brought a type of tea into the spotlight . This type of tea is called kombucha.

Kombucha tea is a tart, slightly sweet, alcoholic, caffeinated and fizzy beverage made by fermenting tea using a symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria (SCOBY), also called as kombucha mother or kombucha culture.

Emma Roberts bringing kombucha to work
Emma Roberts bringing kombucha to work

What is the History of Kombucha tea?

According to some studies, Japanese people in the ancient times discovered kombucha, after finding a slimy, off-white disc growing on top of their seaweed tea. In Japanese language, kombu means seaweed and cha means tea; thus the name Kombucha. Since then, Japanese people pass on SCOBYs from one generation to another. Some studies also claim that Kombucha came from China and was first used in 221 B.C during the Tsin Dynasty. Since then, Kombucha has spread to Russia, Eastern Europe, Germany and Denmark.

What is a Kombucha SCOBY?

Kombucha-SCOBY-Mother

Kombucha SCOBY, also called as Kombucha culture, Kombucha mother or Kombucha mushroom, is the basic ingredient in making Kombucha tea. It is the off-white and slimy disc that forms in the tea. SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. It is composed of Acetobacter, a genus of acetic acid bacteria and some yeasts. SCOBY thrives from consuming tannins, which can be found in the Camellia sinensis plant (tea), and sugar.

what the heck is kombucha
Infographic from Tremendousness. Get a PDF copy of this infographic here. http://tremendo.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Tremendousness-Kombucha-2014.pdf

I hope this article answers your question about Kombucha. If you have more questions, please feel free to post them in the comment section below.

Want to learn how to make your own Kombucha Tea? Read this.