what it is. what you do with it. why you want it. how you make it.
- kombucha is a fizzy tea-based beverage. it's tangy and bright and sparkling.
- if you like the taste of cider vinegar, you will love kombucha tea.
- you drink kombucha for fun, for your health, or both. read about all the awesome benefits! (it's detoxifying, cancer-preventing, probiotic rich, digestion improving, anxiety reducing..)
- you'll see it at Whole Foods by the cold bottled fruit drinks (please buy the strawberry kind of G.T.'s kombucha sometime. uhhmazing), but you'll have to shell out $4 a bottle.
- you can make it at home for super cheap!
- kombucha is made by fermenting tea (just regular old tea) with a scoby.
- a kombucha scoby looks like a wet pancake. don't be too scared of it.
- SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. in other words, the good stuff we want in our gut.
- making kombucha is easy. drinking your homemade kombucha is fun. buy some swing-top bottles and it's like having a teeny tiny brewery in your kitchen.
so. would you try it? do you already drink it? and you want it every day? let's make some!
Home Brewed Kombucha
get your gear: buy a starter culture (scoby), or find a friend who can give you one. you'll also need a pot, a gallon glass jar, thin towel, rubber band, and tightly sealing bottles or jars for bottling
3 quarts filtered water
1 cup organic sugar
5 black tea bags, organic
1 kombucha scoby
1/2 cup kombucha tea from a previous batch (or store-bought kombucha)
**these amounts are for making 1 gallon of tea. if you'd like to start smaller, you can make 1 quart! use 3 cups of water, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 or 3 tea bags, 1 scoby and 1/2 cup finished kombucha
1. Make the tea. Add filtered water to the pot, cover and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, pour in the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Add the tea bags and remove the pot from the burner. Let steep for 3-4 minutes and then remove tea bags. Let most of the steam out, then cover and let cool. (this takes awhile, so plan ahead.)
2. Prep the 'bucha. When the tea is at room temp (if it's too hot it can kill the starter culture) pour it into the gallon glass jar (or quart jar if you're making the small batch). Add 1/2 cup of kombucha from a previous batch and the scoby to the jar. Cover the jar with a thin towel or coffee filter, something that will let a bit of air in but keep dust out, and use a rubber band to secure it.
3. Let it do it's thing. Leave your kombucha undisturbed in a warm, dark place for several days to let it ferment. You'll know you have finished kombucha when you see a new baby scoby has grown! And depending on how sweet or sour you like it, you can let it ferment anywhere from 4 days to a couple weeks. One week is pretty average. Just give it a taste and if it's too sweet for you, let it sit longer. Keep in mind that the fermentation process takes longer in the winter, or if your kitchen is cool, like mine. Still, 7 days is about right for our tastes.
4. Bottle it. When the kombucha tastes just right to you, remove the starter culture (there should be 2 scoby's now) and put them in another bowl or glass jar. Pour enough kombucha over to completely cover them. Set aside. Pour the finished kombucha into pretty soda bottles or glass jars, seal, and store in the fridge. As you pour you should see lots of tiny bubbles. You want to keep the bottles tightly sealed so it stays nice and carbonated!
What to do with your starter culture: You can either start the process over again with both of your scoby's, give one away to a friend, or add one to your compost. Or, you can take a little break from brewing and just leave your scoby's covered with kombucha and a dish towel in a cupboard. It will stay alive without any babysitting. If after a couple weeks you are concerned about starving your little scoby's, add a couple cups of sugared tea or some store-bought kombucha. They'll be ready to roll when you want to make your next batch.
My scoby supply is thriving. If you'd like to buy one of mine, leave me a note in the comments!
Next time we'll talk about flavoring your kombucha with fruit. oh goodness.