Kombucha - You are ready to try it!
At first I was nervous about making my own Kombucha. I enjoy canning but for Kombucha I had the “I don’t know what I’m doing!” fear.
Thanks to a knowledgeable friend who walked me through it, it was super easy and quick! I’ll do the same for you - basically, you are going to put some sweet tea in a big jar with a SCOBY (see below), let it sit for 2 weeks on the counter, bottle it and add fruit (if desired). Refrigerate and enjoy! Repeat with new tea, same SCOBY.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage made with tea, sugar and a culture of yeast and bacteria. Kombucha originated around 2,000 years ago by the Chinese and is known not only for it’s delicious, sweet fizzy taste, but for its wonderful health benefits.
After being fermented, Kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, enzymes, high levels of antioxidants, b-vitamins, probiotics and glucaric acid. It has been reported to have a variety of health benefits including:
· Cleansing and detoxification
· Immune support
· Increased energy
· Better digestion
· Reduced joint pain and more…
What you need to do first -
Get a SCOBY- What's a SCOBY?
SCOBYs are living and thriving colonies of bacteria and unfortunately, you can’t just pick up a high quality one at your grocery store. There are a couple ways to acquire a SCOBY.
· If you know anyone who already brews Kombucha, ask them for an extra SCOBY and they will probably be glad to pass one on. The SCOBY has a “baby” every batch or two and this baby can then be used to brew Kombucha. Just make sure to ask them to include 2 cups of the brewed liquid to use as a strong starter liquid in making your own. You’ll need one SCOBY and 2 cups of starter liquid for each gallon you plan to brew.
· You can make your own. It takes roughly 2 to 4 weeks to grow a new SCOBY from scratch. There are lots of blogs with recipes.
Once you have a SCOBY gather up everything else -
Tea – you can use caffeinated (black teas), low-moderate caffeine (green teas), or caffeine free teas (rooibos or herbal blend). Check our shop. I made mine with a black tea because my husband likes the caffeine so he can drink this all day. Try it with one type and switch to another on your second batch, or you can even blend teas.
Sweetener – Use white sugar or organic sugar
Filtered water - preferably free of chlorine, chloramines, and fluoride
Scoby and about 2 cups of Kombucha liquid from whomever gave it to you. (If you don't have starter liquid, store bought Kombucha can be used instead.)
Large glass jar – I used a cookie jar
Coffee filter or kitchen towel to cover jar
Big pot for brewing tea
Never use any metal while stirring or handling the SCOBY. It can damage it. Always handle the SCOBY with clean hands so you don’t damage the bacteria.
Lets get started!!!!
Prepare the sweet tea
· 15 tea bags (or ½ cup of loose tea)
· 1 ½ cups of sugar (organic preferably)
· 16 cups filtered water (one gallon)
Fill a large pot with filtered water. Bring up to temperature for tea (black or herbal tea = 190°, green tea 150°-160°). If you don’t have a thermometer, just boil the water for black/herbal tea and take it off the heat for a few minutes. For green tea, bring temp to just a slight simmer and remove for a few minutes and add tea.
Add the leaves and sugar and give a stir to dissolve sugar.
Let tea cool to room temperature, sitting covered overnight is best. This step is very important as too hot of tea can kill your SCOBY.
Once tea is completely cool, strain the leaves or remove the tea bags. Pour into your large glass jar, leaving room to add the SCOBY and starter Kombucha.
With very clean hands, add the starter liquid and SCOBY. The SCOBY may sink or float, it makes no difference, as the new SCOBY will eventually form on the top.
Cover the jar with a coffee filter or kitchen towel.
Put the jar in a warm (around 75-85 degrees is best) corner of the kitchen where it is at least a few feet away from any other fermenting products. I put a note on top that says the date I started it and the date it’s done (which is about 2 weeks).
Let sit to ferment for around 2 weeks or so, though the length of time may vary depending on your temperature. You can taste test the Kombucha to see if it is done after day 7. It should taste tart but still very slightly sweet also.
Make sure to stir it with a wooden spoon every couple days to keep the yeast and cultures that have sunk to the bottom moving through your brew. Do it slowly as it may be fizzy!
At this point, Kombucha is ready for a second ferment. If you aren’t doing the second ferment, just pour the Kombucha into jars with airtight lids and seal until ready to drink.
Reserve the SCOBY and 2 cups of Kombucha for another batch. If you will start another batch, follow steps from beginning.
Second Ferment (How to Make Soda!)
Kombucha can be consumed as soon as it is done brewing, but adding fruit juice or fruit can make Kombucha carbonated and slightly sweeter, which is often more appealing to kids. It is an easy second step too!
Dispense the kombucha in to mason jars with plastic lids or clam down bottles, leaving about 1 inch of the room at the top for add ins.
Add fruit juice to almost fill the jar, or fresh fruit of choice and then cap tightly to allow the mixture to carbonate.
Leave out at room temperature for 2-3 days to allow to carbonate.
De-fizz – fizz will build up so open carefully. Never let a child open the bottle unless you check it first. Pressure can also break the jars if not de-fizzed every few days.
Store in fridge until ready to drink.
Suggested add-ins -
· Minced ginger root and blueberries
· 1/2 organic lemon (quartered) and 1/2 tsp grated ginger (tastes like Sprite)
· Minced ginger root and citrus
· 1/4 cup fresh or frozen berries
· Prunes and vanilla (Dr. Pepper/Cream soda type taste)
· Apple juice or apple pieces
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