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Kombucha is a fermented probiotic drink made from tea, sugar, a scoby and a starter from a previous batch. (You will need a starter kit to start brewing Kombucha). A starter is a scoby with some tea that you can buy from Etsy or your local health food store such as Goodness Me. Or ask around and get it from a “dealer”.
There are two ways of making Kombucha.
There is continuous brew, where you keep the Scoby in a vessel (like a ceramic distiller) that has a pour spout on the bottom. When the vessel is half empty you brew another batch of sugar tea and pour into your vessel and the cycle repeats itself.
I prefer the batch method. I don’t have space for a distiller; I also go through waves of Kombucha. Some weeks we go through a lot, and other weeks none. I also like my Kombucha cold, so I keep it in the fridge.
Don’t use fancy tea blends with artificial flavours and chemicals, as that will harm the Scoby and take away from the nutritional value of your Kombucha. You want straight black, green, white, or Oolong. You can use fruit or herbal teas, but I would use them in the second ferment because I don’t my Scoby exposed to that stuff.
You can ferment it once for a tea-like flavour. Or you can do a second ferment with fruit or herbs or herbal teas for a more flavourful Kombucha. Different teas make for different flavours of course.
- 2 quarts pure water
- ½ cup cane sugar
- 4 tea bags – preferably with strings
- 1 Scoby + brewed tea
- large stainless steel or glass pot, with lid
- wooden spoon
- large Mason jar, or large sized glass jar
- cheese cloth or paper coffee filter
- elastic band
- vessel that seals to store Kombucha
Make sure everything you’re using is sterile. I have killed a few Scobys trying to cut corners.
I put the pot, lid and glass jar in the oven at 200F for 10 minutes just to be extra sure things are extra clean! When I take the pot and lid out I turn the oven off and leave my jar in there until I need it tomorrow, just to be sure it’s clean.
- Bring the water to a boil in your pot.
- Add the sugar to the pot and stir with your wooden spoon until dissolved. Turn the element off.
- Put your tea bags in with the strings hanging over the side (if they have strings) and put the lid on.
- Let the tea sit overnight to cool and come to room temperature. Do not open the lid to check how things are going. I know it’s tempting, but it just increases the chance of something getting in there that shouldn’t be.
- In the morning open the lid and pull out the tea bags. If your bags don’t have a string, use your clean wooden spoon to remove them. Pour the tea into your cool jar from the oven.
- Add your Scoby and the previous batch of tea (that generated the Scoby) in the jar.
- Put the cheese cloth or coffee filter over the opening and hold in place with the elastic. Place in a dark place. I keep mine in on the top shelf of my hall closet. Depending on how warm your house is the tea should sit for 7-10 days. The longer it sits, the less sweet it is, as the bacterium consumes the sugar. You can leave it for a few weeks if you want, it will just be more furmenty.
When your Kombucha is ready you will notice that your Scoby looks a little different. That is because your Scoby is now a mommy. She ate up all the sugar and made you a baby!
|To store your Scoby baby or mommy keep ½ cup of liquid and seal it in a glass container in the refrigerator until you are ready to brew again. You can keep the two in the same jar, or you can make two jars, both with ½ of tea and give to a friend.I always have a couple lying around incase one has a tragic end with mould.
If your Scoby is sitting in the fridge waiting for use for a few months, throw a tsp of sugar in there just to keep it alive.
- Take your Kombucha and put it in a pressure sealing container. A mason jar doesn’t completely seal. If this is all you’ve got its ok, it just won’t be a fizzy Kombucha. Hareware stores sell these containers now, they are easy to find.
- Add fruit or herbs or flavoured tea to the bottles and seal. Use ½ cup fruit for a batch this big. Don’t throw out the fruit when your done, put it in smoothie for a probiotic and vitamin boost.
- Leave in your warm, dark Kombucha spot for at least 3 days.
- Strain to serve, or refrigerate.
- strawberry and fresh basil
- lemon and ginger (ginger ale)
- mixed berry
- apple cinnamon
- cranberry (juice)
- lime (juice)
- lemon cayanne pepper