Kombucha happens regularly around here. Every four days usually to be exact. And having as much as we want, as often as we want it is such a treat! A fermented tea drink, kombucha is high in antioxidants and probiotics and aids in digestion and the maintenance of healthy gut flora whilst helping to promote overall health. It is easy to make and much cheaper than buying it in the store, and you get to make it whatever flavour you choose! The boy and I have been brewing kombucha at home now for just over a year, courtesy of one of his mom’s scobys, and we love it so much! Not only do we have unlimited access to as much kombucha as we want, and all the health benefits that go with it, but we also get to experiment with a bunch of different flavours, use it in cooking and baking and let it turn into our own homemade vinegar when we start to get too much for drinking. For less than 10 minutes every 4-5 days, it’s totally worth the rewards. Ready to give it a try? Here we go!
- 1 large jar (2L-3L in volume)
- 1 large pot for boiling water
- Wooden spoon
- Kombucha scoby
- Green tea bags
- Granulated sugar
- Cheesecloth, or other breathable cloth
- Bottles for storage (glass is best – i.e. recycled wine bottles, juice bottles etc.)
Recipe (For a 3L jar – adjust accordingly for your jar size)
- 2.5-2.75 L water
- 3 green tea bags
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Begin by measuring out enough water to boil to fill your jar. You need slightly less than the volume of the jar so your scoby has space inside to grow. For example if you have a 3L jar, I would recommend measuring out 2.5 – 2.75 L of water.
- Boil the water – I use a large pot, and do it all at once but you could do it in a kettle in batches if you have something afterwards to pour all the water in together.
- Once boiled, if not already together in one place, pour all your water into one bowl, pot etc. Add your sugar and stir until dissolved using a wooden spoon. Add tea bags and stir until water starts to become tea coloured.
- Set aside to cool and remove tea bags after 30-45 minutes.
- Finish allowing tea to completely cool.
- Once cooled, pour into your jar and add the scoby and it’s original tea.
- Cover with a cheesecloth or other breathable cloth, securing with string or an elastic and put in a warm place, out of direct sunlight.
- Taste after 3-4 days and determine when it is ready based on your taste preferences. It should be slightly fizzy and slightly sweet tasting, but not taste like vinegar. If it reaches the vinegar stage, it means you have let it ferment too long (unless you prefer that flavour!).
- Once it is ready, pour kombucha into bottles, making sure to leave enough in the jar to keep the scoby submerged. If you would like to flavour it, add flavour when you bottle it such as ginger, berries, cinnamon or vanilla. Set aside for 2-7 days for a second fermentation.
- Now you can repeat steps 1-7 and make another batch. This time, you can leave the scoby and starter tea in the jar and just add the new batch of tea to your jar when it is cooled.
Things to Remember
- It is not uncommon for your scoby to sink to the bottom, hover in the middle, off to the side etc. It doesn’t matter where it is, as long as it is in there!
- Watch for any greenish/blackish discolouration on your scoby. This could be mold. If you see some, wash the scoby thoroughly under cool water, discard your kombucha batch and start again.
- You may see little stringy filaments and particles floating in your kombucha or on the bottom of the jar. This is normal and these are safe to drink as well.
- Some people recommend not using any metal with the kombucha and scoby (i.e. metal pot, spoon etc.). I have personally never had a problem, but it may be something to consider if your kombucha isn’t doing well.
Want more? If you are looking for further information, head over to Cultures for Health, where you can learn more and buy whatever you need for all your fermenting needs! Also, this site has a great kombucha section and this is an awesome post if you are interested in continuous brew kombucha.
Ready to start your own? I have SCOBYS for sale! If you are a Canadian reader and interested, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!