Who would actually brew kombucha while on the road? Me.
The Snail Shell, my 1984 Sunrader if you aren’t in the know, currently has ten things to keep alive. Two humans, one dog, an aloe plant, two succulents, three air plants and one very special bacteria. Momma Kombucha, often shortened to “Momma K” or just “the momma,” is a Kombucha SCOBY and is a vital part of our daily lives.
Even though it sounds crazy to keep a culture alive in an open top jar full of liquid when you live on the road, it’s worth it.
Momma K has been part of this evolving, mobile family since August of 2017. My fantastic friend Katey found the perfect jars for brewing and a bunch of SCOBY’s ready to be loved. Even though I lived with two dogs in an already overfilled Honda CR-V, I couldn’t say no to the chance to brew again. Especially now that we’re in a larger space, I can’t imagine life without kombucha on tap daily.
My GI tract sees the most significant benefit from daily kombucha access. Not only does it keep my bathroom trips regular, but it also helps keep the rest of my health in check. The probiotics in fermented foods, including Kombucha, help fix leaky gut syndrome by replenishing the healthy bacteria that should be thriving inside of us. Leaky gut can lead to anxiety, depression and many autoimmune diseases, recent research has shown. My life backs these studies with improvements in my autoimmune symptoms and mood.
What exactly is this magic juice?
Kombucha is fermented tea filled with probiotics, antioxidants and a slew of other health improving qualities. The process begins with a SCOBY, or Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. The main SCOBY in a brew is called the Mother, hence the oh-so-original name of Momma Kombucha. The fermentation process happens as the floating mushroom pancake looking Mother eats the sugar out of the tea. In the picture, she's the dark blob at the bottom of the jar.
The logistics are easy!
The Kombucha Kamp recipe has been my go-to since my first home brewing adventure years ago. Since Momma Kombucha’s current setup is a continuous brewing system, I make as much tea as we’ve consumed in the previous few days - sometimes it’s only a few cups, sometimes it’s a full gallon.
In addition to always having kombucha ready to drink, the advantage of the continuous brew system for vanlife is the lack of contact with the mother. Since all I do is dump sweet tea into the jar and put a cloth back on top, I don’t risk contaminating the brew when we’re in less than sterile, outdoor environments.
We save a lot of money.
It’s hard to find live kombucha in stores for less than $3.50 per 16-ounce bottle. With two of us consuming at least one bottle each day, that’s just over $200/month. We make a gallon of kombucha for $1.16 with all organic products. For each of us to consume at least 16 ounces of fermented goodness daily for a month, we spend $8.70. That extra money goes straight into adventures...or, at least, our vehicles for them!
As someone who can barely keep my air plants alive (a story for another day, but if anyone has any tips, let me know!), brewing kombucha truly is easy and worth it. As crazy as it might seem, this health-benefiting, money-saving member of our camper family is here to stay.