How To Make Kombucha (For Beginners)
So you’re probably a big Kombucha fan but more than likely tired of the ever-growing price tag of the nourishing drink.
Did you know that kombucha has been around for centuries and wasn’t always mass-produced? Did you also know that it’s relatively easy to make by following a few simple steps? Well prepare to be in the know because our fitness experts have made it easy for you to whip up your own batch of this healthy drink.
Ingredients you will need:
- 3 ½ quarts of water
- 1 cut of sugar
- 8 bags of black tea, green tea, or a mix
- 2 cups starter tea from store-bought kombucha
- 1 scoby per fermentation jar (available online or organic store if you can’t make your own).
- Mix it up: Add flavoring by putting in 1 to 2 cups of chopped fruit, 2 to 3 cups of fruit juice, 1 to 2 tablespoons of flavored tea, ¼ cup of honey, or 2 to 4 tablespoons of fresh herbs.
Special note: avoid prolonged contact between kombucha and metal both during and after brewing. This can seriously affect the flavor of your kombucha and weaken the scoby.
- Make the tea base: Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Drop in the tea and allow it to steep until the water has cooled. Depending on the size of your pot, this will take a few hours. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the pot in an ice bath.
- Add the starter tea: Once the tea is cool, remove the tea bags or strain out the loose tea. Stir in the starter tea. (The starter tea makes the liquid acidic, which prevents unfriendly bacteria from taking up residence in the first few days of fermentation.)
- Transfer to jars and add the scoby: Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon glass jar (or divide between two 2-quart jars, in which case you’ll need 2 scobys) and gently slide the scoby into the jar with clean hands. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers tightly-woven cloth, coffee filters, or paper towels secured with a rubber band.
- Ferment for 7 to 10 days: Keep the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and where it won’t get jostled. Ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking the kombucha and the scoby periodically.
- Update:It’s not unusual for the scoby to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways during fermentation. A new cream-colored layer of scoby should start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days. It usually attaches to the old scoby, but it’s ok if they separate. You may also see brown stringy bits floating beneath the scoby, sediment collecting at the bottom, and bubbles collecting around the scoby. This is all normal and signs of healthy fermentation.
- Wait time:After 7 days, begin tasting the kombucha daily by pouring a little out of the jar and into a cup. When it reaches a balance of sweetness and tartness that is pleasant to you, the kombucha is ready to bottle.
- Remove the scoby: Before proceeding, prepare and cool another pot of strong tea for your next batch of kombucha, as outlined above. With clean hands, gently lift the scoby out of the kombucha and set it on a clean plate. As you do, check it over and remove the bottom layer if the scoby is getting very thick.
- Bottle the finished kombucha: Measure out your starter tea from this batch of kombucha and set it aside for the next batch. Pour the fermented kombucha into bottles using the small funnel, along with any juice, herbs, or fruit you may want to use as flavoring. Leave about a half-inch of head room in each bottle.
- Carbonate and refrigerate the finished kombucha: Store the bottled kombucha at room temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate. Until you get a feel for how quickly your kombucha carbonates, it’s helpful to keep it in plastic bottles; the kombucha is carbonated when the bottles feel rock solid. Refrigerate to stop fermentation and carbonation, and then consume your kombucha within a month.
- To make a fresh batch: Clean the jar being used for kombucha fermentation. Combine the starter tea from your last batch of kombucha with the fresh batch of sugary tea, and pour it into the fermentation jar. Slide the scoby on top, cover, and ferment for 7 to 10 days.
Some kombucha purists even go as far as to say that you should keep a positive environment while brewing your tea. Some brewers believe that the scoby can pick up negative energy and put it into your batch of tea, either ruining it or fermenting negative energy. It may sound crazy but there may also be some truth to it.
So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge making your own kombucha? Are you going to keep a positive kitchen while you do so? Let us know your brewing secrets and we can all start cooking up some positive vibes! Like us on facebook.