How to make Kombucha In 5 Easy Steps
What is kombucha? Well essentially it is fermented tea, which aids digestion and gut health. Because it’s naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, Kombucha is a probiotic beverage. This has a myriad of benefits such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, mental clarity and mood stability. I drink 1 glass a day and have found over the past few moths I am more energetic and my digestion is better.
The exact origins of kombucha are not known. It is said to have originated in what is now Manchuria around 220 BCE, and was traditionally used primarily in that region, Russia, and eastern Europe. Kombucha is home-brewed globally and some companies sell it commercially.
Like Kombucha but you are sick of paying too much for it at the shops? You will need to find a SCOBY. What’s a SCOBY I hear you ask…well its short for a ‘symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast’ Sounds gross right? Well, it kind does feel gross :p
SCOBY’s can be bought online, or through gumtree locally. That’s where I got mine, really cheaply too!
How to make Kombucha in 5 easy steps!
What you’ll need:
2 green and 2 black tea bags
2 litres of boiled water
160gm sugar (white or raw)
1 CUP starter tea
Non metal stirrer
1 glass or pottery container
1 clean cloth (Chux, linen, muslin or paper towel)
2 rubber bands- large enough to secure the cloth to the mouth of the container
What to do:
1. Boil 2 litres of water and make your tea (all 4 tea bags and sugar) stir well and leave with a lid on until cool. DO NOT ADD SCOBY OR the starter tea
2. Once tea has cool, pour into your glass tank
3. Add SCOBY and starter tea
4. Cover with cloth and secure with rubber bands
5. Allow your brew to sit at room temp undisturbed in an area where there’s airflow and away from household fumes for 6 to 14 days
Make sure you keep your brew out of direct sunlight if in a clear jar.
Check your Kombucha brew regularly, but try not to move the tank, as this will disrupt the SOBY forming and sealing your new brew.
The length of brewing time depends on the depth of flavour you prefer and what flavours may compliment the second fermentation.
During the cooler months it can take up to 2 weeks to brew properly. During the warmer months, I have found my brew takes 5-6 days max.
After 5-6 days, taste test the brew with a plastic spoon, if it is still sweet but slightly tart, its ready. If you prefer a slightly tarter taste, leave for another few days, testing the flavour daily. (This applies to summer brews, winter brews can take longer)
With clean hands or silicone tongs (not metal as it can damage the SCOBY) remove the SCOBY and place on a plate away from dust and sunlight.
Save one cup to set aside to kick start a new ferment, then bottle the rest of the brew.
You can either pop it into the fridge or do second fermentation (see below)
Clean the tank with warm water and vinegar. Dry thoroughly and then start again as per the ‘First Fermentation’ instructions .
A second fermentation is not necessary but a lot of people prefer to do it, and add additional flavours/goodness and it can increase the amount of carbonation.
After the initial 6 to 14 days of fermenting, pour off most of the tea into a clean bottle, leaving a bit of room to add your flavours.
Example of additional flours can include: grated ginger, turmeric, passionfruit, rose petals, vanilla bean, lemon or orange rind and pureed fruit. Store the airtight bottle for a further 2 to 14 days at room temp.
Continuous Brew Method:
A continuous brew method verses container brew is perfect for the busy brewer as it just makes life so much easier. You don’t have to clean tanks or containers after every brew. Just pour as much tea as you ant to consume daily, and top up the amount you take out with fresh sugary tea. For example, if you pour 500ml a day, take your cloth off the top and add the same amount of sugary tea back in on top of the SCOBY. When it comes to cleaning go by the smell and taste of your brew. If you’ve been brewing for a couple of months and you start to smell a more vinegary scent and the taste becomes a bit tart then you know your tank needs to be cleaned out and the number of SCOBY’s need to be reduced.
Things to watch out for: If you have green fuzzy mould- your brew in now contaminated. Discard entire brew INCLUDING the SCOBY. If you see black on the SCOBY: This is fine, this is usually yeast and tea build up.