Last Saturday in Berkeley, California a half-dozen people made friends with their new baby: a SCOBY to take home and begin the life-changing experience of brewing their own ‘booch. They were taking part in a 90-minute class taught by Lila Volkas of Kombucha to the People.
With the tagline ‘Simple to Make. Easy to Enjoy. Brew it Yourself.’ Lila travels the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond teaching small groups in clubs, homes and corporations.
Her own kombucha adventure began when she was given a SCOBY while volunteering on a farm in Vancouver Island. To date, she’s shared the offspring of that original ‘mother’ with over 700 people who’ve taken her classes.
Lila shared various flavors of kombucha which were the result of sometimes lengthy secondary fermentation at room temperature. These included a ginger and lemon mix that had continued to ferment in the bottle for over two weeks. She also likes the flavor produced by an infusion of osmanthus flowers: known to traditional Chinese medicine as an herb that can improve skin, detoxify the body, and boost lung health.
If a fermentation goes too far, Lila recommends using kombucha that might be too vinegary as the basis for delicious salad dressings.
As a certified nutritionist, Lila is keen to emphasize the health benefits of drinking kombucha:
- Improved digestion due to the probiotics in the drink
- Anti-oxidant benefits
- An energy uplift from the B vitamins (including riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, B6 and B12.)
Ready, set, brew!
Each participant left with a kombucha brewing kit which includes a SCOBY, starter liquid, brewing vessel, cloth and detailed instructions.
She recommends Hannah Crum’s The Big Book of Kombucha as the ultimate resource for detailed home brewing instructions and recipes.
I was Lila’s guest at her November 9th event in Berkley. I took the opportunity to ask her more about what she had shared in class. To hear what she told me, click on the podcast icon below.