I first heard about tibicos from a colleague who, after a blood test found that her blood sugar levels were way beyond normal, she frantically search for a cure through the grapevine and someone recommended her tibicos and after taking 2 weeks of tibicos drinks, her diabetis was cured. I must say I am a skeptic, so fast mehh..if the effect is so fast, it’s extra worrying ! There must be sone inaccuracies with the initial blood test.
Sorry, you might be wondering what this tibicos thingy is , extracted from Wikipedia : it is a culture of bacteria and yeast held in a polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria. As with kefir grains, the microbes present in tibicos act in symbiosis to maintain a stable culture. Tibicos can do this in many different sugary liquids, feeding off the sugar to produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol) , and carbon dioxide gas which carbonates the drink.
Anyway, this prompted some further web searches and wowww, tibicos seemed to be a miracle cure, from : blood circulation, arthrithis , skin allergy, anti-aging, migraines, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, digestive system, weight reduction…too good to be true ? I then tried searching for side effects / the bad press , but couldn’t find much information. With that in mind, a few of us at the office, decide to start cultivating tibicos.
To start with you must have some tibicos, tibicos multiply easily, you will have double or triple with what you start with within weeks, so ask around, there might be people in your neighbourhood who will be more than willing to pass some to you. If you are from around KL and is interested to get your hands on some tibicos, you can leave me a note.
Below are steps on how to cultivate tibicos:
Tibicos should not come into contact with steel /metal , so all the utensils should be non-metal. Plastic , glass, ceramic are ok.
The hardwares :
A clean glass jar with lid , the size of the jar depend on how much of tibicos you are planning to cultivate, e.g : Nescafe and Horlicks jars are suitable size , I am using a tau-chu (fermented bean) jar too ;
Plastic sieve, spoon, bowls, bottles to keep the drink.
The softwares :
Drinking water ( some websites suggested to only use mineral water) , I am using boiled filtered water which seemed to be working ok.
Brown sugar – from experience- the brown sugar used for baking /making tea doesn’t seemed to work well, The type of sugar I am using is shown below. (RM2.30 for 500g) available at Chinese medicine shop and supermarkets. My colleagues uses the brown /black sugar from the Chinese medicine shop , cost about RM1.70/packet. The type of sugar brought at the Indian grocery shop also seemed to be ok. Molasses doesn’t work
- Scoop tibicos into the glass jar, fill up to 1/3 or 1/2 of the jar.
- Prepare the sugar solution. There are a few different school of thoughts , some websites suggest for every 3 scoop of tibicos, use 1 scoop of sugar. Some suggest a 1:1 ratio. For me, I am diluting 2 soupspoon of sugar into 1 cup of water. Dissolve the sugar and sieve if necessary (depend on the type of sugar you use, some sugar have residue)
- Pour the sugar liquid into the jar containing tibicos.
- Place lid over the jar and leave for 5 days , avoid direct sunlight . Again, several school of thoughts, some say leave 24 hours, some 48hrs. the best benchmark is the drink should not be sweet, if it’s sweet, that means that the process is not yet completed ( if left less than 5 days) or the tibicos are rather inactive/sickly. I leave mine for 5 days in a dark corner in the kitchen. To avoid getting ants to the jar, place the jar on a plate filled with water
- if everthing is in order, you will notice that there will be lots activities in the jar - bubbles and the tibicos floating and falling . Much more interesting than watching paint dry. Picture below is taken after 24 hours of fermentation, i can notice that the thickness of tibicos layer had increased /tibicos had multiplied
- After 5 days we are ready to harvest! Huraahhhhhh
- Pour the contents of the jar though a sieve and collect the solution. This solution can be kept in the fridge and you can drink it whenever you want to. The drink is mildly alcoholic ( not sure what is the alcohol content) and taste like wine. On when is the best time to take it, some said first thing in the morning, some say only after food. due to the alcoholic nature of the drink, I drink about 1/3 cup after food, just in case I get drunk. You get a warm fuzzy feeling and if you normally get red in the face drinking alcohol, you might get the same after drinking the tibicos drink. .
- Rinse the collected tibicos with filtered water. some websites said in order to minimize contamination and oil, do not to come into contact with the tibicos, so I just use a spoon instead of using my hand.
- Repeat 1.
- if you intend to take a break or the tibicos stock had multiplied and you don’t need all of them - drain and rinse the tibicos, pack them in a plastic bag/ non steel container and keep them in the fridge (not ice box) until you are ready to start again
The effects : friends commented that their bowel movement had improved ( my bowels have been behaving, so I can’t see improvement) , a colleague commented that her father reduced his nightly shee-shee from thrice a night to one, another commented that she felt less bloated after a meal. Frankly, after about 1 month of consumption, I do not feel any significant difference, maybe it’s too soon to tell. I am waiting for my yearly blood tests in Sept to see if there are any improvement on the microscopic level. I just hope that i don’t turn into an alcoholic !