Richters InfoSheet D3540
Organic Kombucha Starter Kit Instructions
Kombucha is a health drink which originated long ago in China. It has been called by several different names: Fungus japonicus, Cembuya orientalis, Combuchu, Tschambucco, Volga Spring, mo-Gu, Champignon de longue vie, Teekwass, Kwassan, and Kargasok Tea.
The kombucha culture is a symbiosis of yeast cells and bacteria including Bacterium xylinum, Bacterium gluconicum, Acetobacter ketogenum, Pichia fermentans, Saccharomyces ludwigii, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, and Torula varieties. The culture ferments tea (black, green or herbal teas) and sugar (alternatives are maple syrup, Sucanat, or honey which has antibiotic properties that will slow the process down slightly). The sugar and tea are transformed into enzymes and polysaccharides uscful for the body including glucuronic acid. lactic acid, acetic acid, several vitamins, and about 0.5% alcohol.
How to Prepare Kombucha Tea
1. One kombucha starter culture.
2. Two litres (3-1/2 quarts) of fresh water (preferably natural mineral).
3. 10 grams tea leaves (two tablespoons) or 5 tea bags.
4. 200 mL maple syrup (or 140 grams refined white sugar).
5. A stainless steel saucepan (DO NOT USE ALUMINUM).
6. A clean glass or ceramic container with a wide mouth.
7. A piece of cheesecloth or coffee filter and a rubber band to close the jar.
Starting the fermentation:
1. Boil the water. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
2. Add the tea and let it steep for about 15 minutes.
4. Add the sweetener and stir thoroughly.
5. Let the tea cool down to about 30°C or 90°F.
6. Pour tea into glass container. Add kombucha culture including liquid.
7. Close the top with the cloth and rubber band.
8. Place the jar in a warm area 25-30°C. This is VERY IMPORTANT to start the fermentation quickly and prevent other molds from starting up.
At this temperature the tea can be ready in about 5-7 days. Lower temperatures will take longer and may lead to contamination. It will get progressively stronger until it finally becomes vinegar. If you like the stronger flavour let it ferment a little longer. After 10 to 14 days a new kombucha symbiont will have grown on old one. This drink should be strained, bottled, sealed and kept in the refrigerator. Keep some liquid (50 mL or 2 oz with the symbiont outside the fridge for the next batch. If mold contamination occurs discard the liquid, wash the culture in warm water and start over again adding 50 mL or 2 oz of vinegar.
Repeat above steps using fresh tea and sweetener. The new symbiont can be separated from the old one and given to a friend. The old culture can be reused a few times but should be disposed of eventually. It can be used to fertilize plants, applied to wounds or used as a cosmetic. It will pick up colour from the tea and can be washed in warm water.
120 mL (4 oz) every morning.
Keep in mind that the kombucha is a living organism and that we are dealing with a biological process. It is very important to wash one’s hands well with soap and water before handling the culture so that foreign bacteria and mold won’t contaminate the kombucha or tea. Thoroughly clean the equipment used in fermenting the culture. Do not set the fermentation container near plants.
PREPARATION OF THE CULTURE MUST BE DONE IN CLEAN CONDITIONS. IF THERE IS ANY SIGN OF MOLDS STARTING TO GROW ON THE SURFACE OF THE LIQUID, DISCARD IT. WASH THE CULTURE IN WARM WATER AND START OVER, ADDING VINEGAR. MAKE SURE YOUR BATCH IS IN A WARM AREA (25-30°C). MOLDS CAN PRODUCE TOXIC SUBSTANCES AND MUST BE AVOIDED.
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D3540 ©2001 Otto Richter and Sons Limited