21.2.14

How To Make Kombucha Step by Step {Recipe Redux} #fermentation


I've been hearing about kombucha for a while now and how amazing it tastes and how good it is for you. I recently got on board the kombucha train and am thrilled to report it is every bit as yummy as I've heard! A friend of mine from work gave me a "SCOBY baby" and my first impression was "ewww" it does look a bit like a little slimy sea creature." After I got over my slight aversion to the little slime ball I set out to brew my first batch of kombucha tea and now, I have several batches going in circulation.










A quick description of what kombucha is all about:

While sugar is needed for the fermentation process, the bacteria and yeast from the SCOBY burn out most of the sugar in the tea, transforming into a  fizzy, sweet and sour fermented drink. I think it tastes quite a bit like a cross between champagne and a not too sweet apple cider. Weird huh?

"SCOBY" is an acronym for "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast." Which is responsible for turning plain old tea into a healthy probiotic drink, Kombucha.


Probiotics are essential to basic human nutrition. Probiotics are live microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) that are similar to the beneficial microorganisms naturally found in the human gut. These “good bacteria” are used to prevent and alleviate many different conditions, but particularly those that affect the gastrointestinal tract. 



So you want to try to brew some Kombucha on your own? Awesome! Here's a simple step by step list to get you going. I must say, I was a bit nervous I would mess it up and it would taste awful, I've heard some people say it tasted like vinegar, but it was one of the easiest things I've ever done and tasted wonderfully refreshing!






1. Get your hands on a SCOBY. I asked around and was surprise when a friend of mine from work had been making Kombucha for years and brought me one of her "babies".  I recently saw a brewing kit sold on Williams Sonoma from a company called  Brooklyn Kombucha.  Cultures of Health sells Kombucha starter kits although their SCOBY's are dehydrated which is sketchy in my opinion and some people, including my uncle who has been brewing Kombucha for years had trouble getting them to activate.  SCOBYS are fairly sensitive so I recommend asking around to find a friend who has one. Just be sure to have them send the SCOBY home in a glass jar, covered in at least a half cup of Kombucha tea. (It’s important the SCOBY does not dry out and the tea is useful for making your first batch.)
2. Brew a batch of tea with 2 tea bags or 1 1/2 teaspoons loose, preferably black or green tea with 2 1/2 cups filtered water. Do not bring water to a full boil. Remove water from heat, pour into a sterilized quart sized glass jar. Add 1/4 cup sugar, stir to dissolve. Add tea bags. Place a clean washcloth or cheese cloth. Avoid teas that contain oils, like earl grey or flavored teas. Let the tea cool to room temperature! You can remove the tea bags/leaves after 10 minutes or when it comes to room temperature about 4 hours later. The heat can destroy the live organisms in the SCOBY.  
3.  Pour the starter tea that came with your SCOBY into your freshly brewed tea and stir with a wooden or plastic spoon, NO METAL. Using a wooden or plastic spoon, or your hands clean and rinsed with vinegar, add SCOBY to the glass jar. Cover with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band.  
4.  Store the jar in a safe place, preferably between 70F-80F (your pantry should be fine, keep it out of direct sunlight) with good air circulation and not near any other fermenting foods or drinks. 
5. Let it sit unbothered for 7-10 days. On day 7 taste the Kombucha and see if it is sweet enough. It should be sweet and fizzy. 


6. To keep the cycle going (that's a good thing!) Make 2 new batches of tea following above directions.  
7. With clean hands, also rinsed in vinegar to remove any bacteria place the new SCOBY onto a plate rinsed in vinegar. During the fermentation period, the baby SCOBY grows and creates another thin layer, the new baby. Usually they stay together, floating at the top of the jar and you need to gently peel them apart. Sometimes the baby will float to the bottom, that's o.k. too. It depends on the type of tea, container and conditions it's in. 



8. Measure 1/2 cup from your brewed Kombucha and stir in into your freshly brewed, cooled tea. Separate your new tea into 2, quart size glass jars. Place the 2 SCOBYS, mother and baby one into each of the 2 containers of cooled tea. 
 9. Either drink the remainder of the finished Kombucha or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator which will stop the fermentation process. If you want to add berries, fresh fruit or fresh ginger {ginger ale!} do so now and either place in the fridge or if you want it to get fizzier keep in the pantry. Just remember if you add anything to the Kombucha and keep it in the pantry you will need to add a few more tablespoons of sugar or it will become vinegary.



photo source






Day 7. Can you see the mother and baby starting to separate? 






Important Tips:

No metal! My friend and mom even suggest removing your rings when you handle the SCOBY.

Rinse your hands in vinegar before handling. Any germs on your skin will multiply like crazy during the fermentation process. 

You can make bigger batches if you want, one SCOBY will ferment any size container. 

Finished Kobucha will keep in the refrigerator for around a month. 

SCOBY's will last a very long time if handled with care. If it becomes dark and discolored or looks icky, toss it.
















14 comments:

  1. Amazing! I have really gotten into Kombucha lately (perhaps a little late in the game) and I've been wondering how it is made. I have been so intimidated by other directions but yours seem incredibly straightforward and detailed. I might just give this a try! The SCOBY might freak me out at first but I think I can persevere.

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    1. Do it, it's SO yummy! Thank you, I tried to keep it simple yet detailed. It really is easy.

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  2. I wish we were neighbors. I can pretty much guarantee no one in my tiny town in southern Illinois has a 'baby.' This sounds amazing...I read every word and this is a fabulous and really interesting post. Thanks so much...and maybe I'll try a kit...one of these days. I want to taste the champagne apple cider libation! (:

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    1. You might be surprised I know I was. The kits are pretty cheap and the SCOBY lasts a long time so it's a good investment!

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  3. I hear about this all the time and some of my culinary friends love it! So interesting you posted a recipe for it!

    xoxo Sarah Grace, Fresh Fit N Healthy.

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  4. Thanks for sharing. Would love to prepare this healthy goody for the family and no more system damaging food.

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  5. I'm so glad you did a post on this! I've been researching how to make kombucha and I planned on starting my first batch today. I loved reading your tips!

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    1. Thank you Taylor hope it helps!

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  6. I have to admit that though I've heard the word "kombucha" I never really knew what it was -- now I do. I'm so impressed that now I have to go buy some and maybe some day attempt this. Thanks for sharing Gwen!

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  7. This is amazing, Gwen. I would have never thought of making kombucha myself...it all seems so complicated, but now I am tempted to give it a try too.

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  8. I've been hearing so much about probiotics lately, how interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Thanks for sharing, it's definitely a trendy beverage right now. Great instructions too!

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  10. This is fascinating Gwen! I really appreciate the step by step instructions too, if I ever get my hands on the starter, I might give it a try!

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