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It’s well known about me that self care = beverages. I never have a bath without at least four different drinks (typically coffee, lacroix, kombucha, and water) and either a book or Netflix. I remember the first time I tried home-brewed kombucha, I nearly spit it out! It was five years ago, at a baby shower, and a friend’s Mom brought strawberry kombucha to share. I thought it would be soda like, sweet, and I was shocked! I sipped it politely while she sang its praises to me and the seed was planted, but I wasn’t ready to water it.
Years down the line my midwife talked to me (postpartum) about the digestion benefits, and begrudgingly I snagged a bottle. I started easy with extra sweet flavors, like mango and guava, but quickly felt the benefits of its healthy bacteria and probiotics in my body and energy and moved on to the harder stuff.
The bacteria in Kombucha is what helps your digestive system to restore its balance, flora, and health. I’ve long held the belief that what our bodies do naturally, is best. I was really excited to find this skin care brand, Mother Dirt, that embodies the same belief. Bacteria are a natural part of our bodies’ ecosystem. By ‘cleaning’ with harsh soap we end up more dried out and still seeking healthy skin. Mother Dirt products help your skin to maintain the balanced microbiome of your skin, naturally. I tried out the Shampoo, Face Wash and AO+ Mist. After being no-poo for years, this shampoo is the perfect choice for me, for those times (like after swimming in a chlorinated pool!) that I do need a shampoo.
The effect is an improvement in the look and feel, for me, it leaves my skin feeling soft instead of tight and dry, the typical effect of soap. I’m a big fan of ‘less is more’ and love that Mother Dirt promotes ditching the endless lotions, soaps, and creams we are sold as a means of stripping/hydrating/repeating this process to our skin, and instead offers up an easy solution that works for your whole body. Not only that, but it works with your body’s natural bacteria, and with an aim to balance and free you up from feeling like you need a ton of products just to feel like your skin is at its best and healthiest.
Kombucha has moved into the forefront of grocery stores, and hipster lips in the past few years. It’s risen from “com-boo-what?” to eleventy hundred options of flavors at our local shops and full on Kombucha Cafes! My love for it runs deep, but my pocket book doesn’t run quite as deep. So, about a year ago, we started experimenting with brewing our own kombucha, and the results were easy and amazing.
The benefits aren’t just fizzy drinks that aren’t sugar laden, extra cool points, and an abundance of glass bottles. Kombucha is incredibly beneficial to your body. It is a fermented tea, and rich in bacteria and probiotics. It can help with gut health imbalances, aid in digestion, boost energy, and fight inflammation and joint pain.
Making your own kombucha is pretty easy, especially once you get brewing! The hardest part is finding a scoby, but even that has gotten easier and easier with the increase in kombucha popularity. You can grow your own at home, or even buy a kit. The easiest way is to ask a friend who already brews (you probably know someone!) and ask for “a baby starter”. The scoby grows a new layer with each ferment, so it’s as easy as peeling a layer off your “mama” and passing on a “baby” (sounds so bizarre!). Most people who brew have an abundance of scoby babies and just keep them in a jar on the counter (also known as a Scoby Hotel) and would be happy to pass one on.
To get started brewing you will need:
A large glass container with a spigot (easiest for continuous brew, because you can easily siphon off what you want at the end of each ferment). I use a huge container (three gallons) but a one gallon one is plenty large enough to start with.
A tight-weave towel to put over the top of your jar. It’s important it’s tight-weave so no fruit flies/bugs can get in, but that you don’t seal it – it needs air!
Black Tea (you can experiment with green, white, or a mix. I suggest starting with the traditional black first to get the hang of it!) in bags or loose leaf. This batch I just used the inexpensive black English breakfast from Trader Joe’s.
Cane sugar (this doesn’t make it a sugary drink, it’s what your scoby “eats” to ferment the tea!)
Brewing Your Own Kombucha
- Bring 1/2 gallon of water to a boil.
- Add in 8 tea bags (or 1/4 cup loose leaf tea – be sure to use a strainer!)
- Let steep 30 min
- Stir in two cups of cane sugar
- Once all sugar is dissolved slowly add in 1.5 gallons cool water
- Pour entire sweet tea mixture into sanitized (cleaned with *warm water and vinegar* not soap, soap will kill a scoby. You want all that healthy bacteria!) jar for brewing.
- Wait for all of it to come to room temperature; hot tea will kill your scoby.
- Add your scoby. You want to have clean hands, and handle it minimally. It may sink, but will eventually (hours can pass before it does sometimes) make its way to the top of your tea.
- Cover your brew with a tight weave towel and a rubber band to hold it in place well.
- Give your kombucha some time, in a hot environment the fermentation process could be as fast as three days, if it’s cooler or drafty it may take as long as two weeks. It should lose most sweetness, begin to fizz a bit, and have a little bit of a vinegar taste and smell. I begin tasting around day six here in Washington.
Once your kombucha is brewed you can either enjoy it straight away or you can do what is called a “second ferment”. It’s another way to flavor your kombucha and ensure that it gets a bit more bubbly. Adding in fruit puree’s, fruit juices, or whole fruit will add extra flavor. My favorites are melon (with the honeydew juice from trader joe’s) and blueberry mint! If you choose to do this, pour your brewed kombucha into a flip top or any sealed jar with its flavoring, allow it to ferment on the counter for 3 days, and then pop it in the fridge! It’s all ready for you to enjoy.
If you have any questions about Mother Dirt or about Kombucha brewing, please reach out to me here or on Facebook or Instagram. I would love to chat more about it! To shop for Mother Dirt products go here, and use the coupon code CBAUTUMN25 to take 25% off your order (for new customers!).