Kombucha me, baby!

Back in the 90’s, no, not my 90’s, but in the 1990’s I was in to a healthier more natural existence and lifestyle.  I still am, sort of – I recycle, repurpose, reuse, compost, and try to minimize my overall negative impact on the environment.

I do volunteer work, and try to give back to my community.

I no longer however take very good care of myself.  I know I should exercise, but Oh My Gosh, I just really don’t want to.  I keep almost going, but more for the social aspects than for an actual health reason.  I am sort of vegetarian, I mean I do still eat eggs and fish, which I guess would technically make me an ovo-pescatarian, gads why do we need labels for everything?

ok, so on our recent trip to to the USofA, during our stay with friends in Baltimore, I was re-introduced to Kombucha.  I am one of those people with a very slow metabolism. I am also lactose intolerant.  I have taken probiotics since I was probably 18 to aid digestion.  I also take quercetin/bromelain for inflammation. I am now also using melatonin to help with my irregular sleep patterns.  Gads, I sound like a basket case, but really, I feel pretty good.

ok, back to the Kombucha –

Kombucha originated in Northeast China. The active Kombucha culture is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, aka SCOBY.

Kombucha is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast.  It is a colony of bacteria and yeast. YUCK, right?  Kombucha contains vinegar, B vitamins and a number of other chemical compounds.

Proponents claim Kombucha tea can stimulate the immune system, prevent cancer, and improve digestion and liver function. The MAYO clinic states, “…there’s no scientific evidence to support these health claims.”   blah, blah, blah!  there is tons of  anecdotal experience that disagrees.

Kombucha is also supposed to be a great liver detoxifier!

A main ingredient found in all fermented foods and beverages are probiotics which are beneficial bacteria necessary for adequate digestion and absorption of nutrients.  Kombucha use has also shown an increase in protein digestibility, and  It has also been shown to inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms such as E. coli, Salmonella enteritidis, Salmonella typhimurium, and Shigella sonnei.  Not to mention the antimicrobial properties of Kombucha.

The kombucha culture can also be used to make an artificial leather.  Cool, eh?

As with anything there have been reports of adverse effects, such as stomach upset, infections and allergic reactions.  Since Kombucha is often brewed in home and under non-sterile conditions great care must be made to follow procedures from experienced growers/brewers/users.

Back to Baltimore – Our friend has been brewing her own Kombucha now for a short while and we were able to share in hers while there.  I tend towards savory more than sweet and will always choose spicy, salty, vinegary over sweet.  So I especially liked the effervescent vinegary flavors of the Kombucha.  You can flavor your Kombuchas with any number of things after the initial processing.  We were enjoying rhubarb and basil flavored Kombucha while there.

My friend graciously offered me a SCOBY and enough Kombucha to start my own home brew.  I accepted.

Of course, now, how do I get it home? We were flying so I for sure couldn’t hand carry.

And because the fermented ‘stuff’ releases gas it could not be contained in an airtight, aka leakproof container.  So we did what we could, put it in a plastic water bottle, and in 2 plastic bags.  It made the trip with only minimal leakage into the luggage, but quite a bit of the liquid was in the bags.  Still enough was left for me to start my own home brew.

My brew has been going for 1 week now.

I must be patient.

I do peek in everyday just to check.

This was day 7, I started the Kombucha in this beautiful old crock that was from my grandmother, so is really quite old.

photo 1

Then I read this – When ceramic pots are used for brewing, lead poisoning might be a concern — the acids in the tea may leach lead from the ceramic glaze.

So I moved it to a glass jar – here it is covered to breathe and keep out the fruitflies


and here uncovered

k2 (1)



this was day 1, fresh from its travels and in its new home.

photo 2


and here it is, week 1, all settled in and getting comfy.  yes, that is a normal healthy looking SCOBY.

k3 (1)




About Debi in Merida

I moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado USA to Merida, Yucatan, MX in January 2006. I love to read, garden, travel, and hang out with friends.
This entry was posted in Cooking, Everyday Stuff and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Kombucha me, baby!

  1. Hi, Debi, love your site.
    I was so happy to see that there are folks in Merida who are making their own kombucha.
    I’m desperate to find a SCOBY source; if you have one available, or know of someone else who has one, please let me know. Thanks so much.

  2. Ceci padilla says:

    Hi Debi, I am looking for kombucha scoby to start my own. Hace milk and water kéfir yo share with you. Are you still in Mérida? Would you tarde with me? Ley me know if you are interested. I would love to have a new friend who I can share experiences about probióticos. Thank you. Will wait for ur reply,

    • Ceci, yes I am in Merida and am happy to share a scoby with you. in fact today I will be working with my kombucha and can have one available for you. call me 2874306.

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  5. Tancho says:

    We started making it about 4 or 5 years ago and enjoy it with lots of other flavors we infuse into it. I also started making my own soda pop using yeast and natural ingredients. Having effervescent drinks made without preservatives and chemicals is easy. There are several books out on it.

  6. J says:

    Er, fLavoring…

  7. J says:

    Yes, A glass jar seems to be the best container. Try adding lemongrass too– very yummy. It’s the ‘rage’ in Bend– there are even growler stations at natural food stores where you can bring your own glass container and fill up with the flavor(s) of the day to-go, like you would @ a micro-brewery. Skies the limit on favoring. The old is new again. Cheers to your health!

  8. When you find yourself overwhelmed with babies, I would love to take one off your hands. We’re always looking for more probiotics. I keep meaning to order some water kefir crystals and have someone bring them down, but always forget.

    Welcome home!

  9. robin says:

    So happy our SCOBY is settling in nicely! Made fresh ginger, lemon & tarragon today…maybe a week more t wait; have you done a taste test yet?

  10. blackdogblog says:

    I’ve been making my own for quite a while and love it. It goes into my smoothie every morning along with kefir. Love those probiotics!

  11. Moonshine, hippie-style!

  12. Lane says:

    Heavens; that looks…interesting!

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