Kombucha!

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A little less than a year ago, I was laid off from a very demanding job. Having loads of extra time on my hands was driving me crazy, so I decided that I needed more hobbies. I decided that I wanted to brew something, but did not want to commit to expensive equipment. Furthermore, I wanted my end product to be good for me.

Kombucha is cheap and simple to make, delicious, and contains probiotics and vitamins! What’s not to love?

The following recipe will yield 1 gallon. You can adjust the recipe as you wish.

What You Need:

Filtered or pure water

6-8 tea bags

1 cup sugar

1 Scoby Culture (find one here!)

1 Stock Pot

1 gallon glass jar or two 2-quart glass jars muslin, cheesecloth, coffee filter rubber band

Multiple Bottles: Six 16-oz glass bottles with plastic lids, 6 swing-top bottles, or clean soda bottles (I reuse glass bottles from the carbonated spring water I drink)

1 Funnel

Fermenting Instructions

  1. Bring 3 quarts of filtered water to a boil. (I have used unfiltered tap water from my parents’ 550ft bedrock well and the kombucha was great — just be sure to filter your water if you live in a city or if your well water is questionable)  Remove from heat.
  2. Next, add tea bags into the hot water. . Steep for at least 15 minutes (for a more for a full-bodied tea flavor, steep longer). You may use a naturally decaffeinated type tea or a regular caffeine containing tea. Black and green versions work best, but you may wish to experiment with other teas as well. Some herbal teas are okay, but others contain oils which harm scobies. (My favorite kind of tea for kombucha is a green and jasmine tea blend.)
  3. Now add in 1 cup of sugar and dissolve completely.
  4. Allow the tea/sugar solution to cool to room temperature – a neutral feeling to your skin. Be sure to keep the solution covered because this is the stage of preparation where the brew can easily become contaminated.
  5. Pour room temperature tea/sugar solution into your very clean culturing container/vessel.
  6. Now add your room temperature Kombucha SCOBY to the brew. It may or may not sink to the bottom of the vessel and this is perfectly fine.
  7. Next, add some room temperature Kombucha tea from a previously brewed batch to the culturing
  8. Top off with room temperature, clean or filtered water, if needed.

NOTE: If you do not have kombucha tea from a previous batch, you may wish to add a 1/4 cup of room temperature distilled white vinegar to the tea solution to help reduce the pH level. This acidic vinegar will keep your brew safe from internal or external pathogens. Living apple cider vinegar will NOT work for this process and will compete with the SCOBY during the culturing process.

9.  Next, cover your brewing vessel with a clean, natural cloth/towel, unbleached paper towel or coffee filter, or several layers of unbleached cheese cloth to protect it from invading pathogens.

10.  Set your brew aside in a warm, quiet, undisturbed space – on top of your refrigerator is a great place. The newly forming SCOBY can easily break apart with too much movement of the liquid, so be patient. The more the SCOBY breaks apart, the more difficult it is for it to form and complete the culturing process.

11.  Allow the brew to ferment for at least 6 – 8 days at a consistent temperature of 80 degrees. If your home or brewing environment is in the 70 degree range, allow your brew to culture for at least 8-14 days. It is NOT ideal to culture kombucha or any other cultured food at 60 degrees or below.  (I usually sample the kombucha starting at day 6.) When the kombucha is the desired sweetness/tartness it is time to bottle or drink it!

Bottling Instructions:

Note: Do NOT use bottles with metal parts that are exposed to the kombucha.

Before you touch your SCOBY, wash your hands and sanitize with a white vinegar rinse Sanitize clean bottles with white vinegar

  1. With Sanitized hands, reach into the container and remove the mother and baby SCOBY.
  2. Place the mother and baby into a clean and sanitized glass jar and add about 2/3 cup of the kombucha.  Your next batch will be reset with this.
  3. Using the funnel, fill the bottles at most 1/2 inch from the top.  The less space you have, the more carbonated your Kombucha will turn out. However, The higher you fill the bottle, the more likely you are going to need to burp your kombucha to relieve the gas bubbles a bit.
  4. Once you have filled your kombucha bottles, place the lid on your kombucha.

a. You can drink Kombucha as-is. It will have less fizz but will still be delicious!

b. You can cap the kombucha and store in a warm, dark place and allow it to sit for 2-3 days.  This will create a really fizzy kombucha.

c. You can make kombucha  “soda” by adding fruit, juices, ginger, etc. Then letting the kombucha sit in the bottles for 2-3 days.

SCOBY

Healthy SCOBY cultures

Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns about your SCOBY, Kombucha, etc. I am happy to help!