How to make and use kombucha or tea mushroom

Kombucha, often known as tea mushroom, is a fermented beverage that has become more popular in the past decade. When and where to utilize kombucha, along with instructions on making it.

How to make and use kombucha or tea mushroom
Instructions for preparing and enjoying kombucha or tea mushrooms. Photo by Katherine Sousa / Unsplash

Since 200 BC, people in China have been drinking kombucha, which is made from tea mushrooms. However, it wasn't until the early 1900s that it was brought to Europe. It was very popular in Germany and Russia, but in the last ten years, it has become more popular in other places as well. How to make and where to use kombucha.

Four ingredients to make kombucha

Kombucha is made from four things: tea, sugar, water, and the tea fungus, which is made up of many microorganisms. The taste comes from the disc of the tea mushroom, which is usually white, clear, or brownish, depending on the tea. You can start from scratch and grow your mushrooms at home, but you need to read the instructions first and follow them carefully. Asking someone who already makes kombucha is easier and more convenient.

Brew some tea by putting 15-20 grams of tea into a glass of hot water and letting it sit for a few minutes. Then, skim off the tea leaves and pour the tea into a three-liter jar. Add a glass of sugar and enough water to make room for the mushroom. Mix and let it cool. Put the mushroom in the tea, and if possible, add some of the kombucha drink that you made earlier. Cover the jar with a towel or cheesecloth so the kombucha can breathe but no dust or bugs can get in. It sits out for 7–10 days to let the yeast work.

The taste of kombucha changes every day, and after a week, the tea turns into a fizzy, sweet, and sour drink that is both healthy and refreshing when chilled. Microorganisms in the tea fungus give it a certain smell, but you get used to it over time. It can be kept for up to two weeks, but after that, the smell and taste may become too strong and vinegary.

The idea that you can only make kombucha with green or black tea is not true. You can also use fruit juices and purees, peppermint, chervil, jasmine, thyme, lemon thyme, chamomile, and other herbal teas. You can also mix things, like tea infusion with juice. You could also use coffee, but you shouldn't use very darkly roasted coffee because it will make the drink very bitter. The best coffees are fruity, not too darkly roasted, or from Ethiopia.

Once the taste is right, the kombucha is skimmed off and put in the fridge if it is not going to be drunk in one or two days. The fermentation process keeps going even when it's cold, but it happens more slowly so that the flavor doesn't get too strong. Leave the tea mushroom in the drink until the next time you make it.

Vegetable glaze and ice cream sauce from kombucha

Kombucha can be used in many ways. It can be drunk on its own or mixed with alcohol or other drinks. You could also add fresh berries or apple juice to the tea. A less common way to start with kombucha, especially if too much has been made, is to make syrup. This makes a long, sweet, and sour sauce that can be poured over ice cream, put on salads to bring out the flavor of the vegetables, or added to cocktails. Pour the kombucha into a saucepan and heat it until it gets thick and syrupy.

Kombucha can also be used to make food, like cold soups. It is used instead of water, which is often added to gazpacho. With a little bit of carbonation, like mint kombucha, it goes perfectly with tomato cold soup. In the same way, pour a little kombucha over roasted vegetables a few minutes before they are done cooking. As it cooks down, it leaves a tasty glaze on the vegetables.