Fermented Beverages: Kombucha

I love my Fermented Beverages. I’ve fermented a lot of different fermented beverages over the past few years. Two fermented beverages  I make weekly are Kombucha and Water Kefir. But, today I’m going show you how to make Kombucha. Kombucha is not just delicious, and you could drink it just for that reason, but is also full of good bacteria and yeast. And, it’s very easy to make at home. All you really need is black tea, water and sugar, plus some simple equipment.

Here’s the equipment you’ll need:

A saucepan (you’ll need one big enough to fit at least 1 liter/1 quart)

A glass jar (I’d advise one at least 1.5 liters)

Something porous to cover the glass jar (could be muslin, cheese-cloth, paper towel), held down by a rubber band

Ingredients:

2 pints water (4 cups/about 1 liter)

1/4 cup of organic raw sugar

2 organic black tea bags (you can also use rooibos, white tea and green tea also work well, though I have only made rooibos)

1 Kombucha SCOBY with 1/2 cup of Kombucha (the person from who you got your SCOBY should have given you one complete with this)

Note: I use a filter to remove chlorine, but if you don’t have one, it may be necessary to use uncarbonated/still spring water. I previously believed boiling water removed chlorine, but after a bit of research, it appears it only removes volatile gases and not compounds like calcium chloride.

Instructions:

Put the water in a saucepan, and bring it to the boil. Once it has boiled, add the sugar and stir to dissolve it. Next,, add the two organic black tea bags. Leave tea/sugar/water mixture to cool. It is important to leave this liquid until it is cool, as you don’t want to add your SCOBY to anything that is still warm. This is because it is a heat sensitive organism, and heat will kill the good bacteria and yeast living in it. A SCOBY is a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.

Once the liquid is cool, remove the tea bags. Transfer your SCOBY and the 1/2 cups of Kombucha to a clean glass jar, then add the tea/sugar liquid. Cover the glass jar with the muslin and the rubber band. Leave the jar somewhere warm and out of direct light. After about 5 to 7 days a  new SCOBY or mother will form. It will start out looking like film covering the top. This is entirely normal, and actually is what you want to see. Do not disturb this new SCOBY as it starts to form, as if you do, you will have to wait longer for it form again. I usually leave mine for about a week, and by that stage, it’s sour enough for me. But, you can leave it longer, even up to 14 days. It really depends on how sour you like it, and the time of year and background temperature.

Here’s a few additional tips to help you:

If you’re not sure how long to leave your Kombucha, you can start tasting it with a straw once the new mother has formed, being careful to not disturb it.

Always handle your SCOBY with clean hands, thereby reducing the risk of your SCOBY being contaminated. If you see black or green spots on the top of your SCOBY, you’ll need to throw it out, and the batch, as that’s a sign it has been contaminated.

If you want to temporarily halt your Kombucha making, place a SCOBY plus a 1/2 cup of Kombucha in a glass jar in the fridge.

There is no need to wash your SCOBY when you finish one batch and start another.

Always keep your Kombucha (either for fermenting or drinking) in glass jars, as the acidic nature will cause it to leach the chemicals out of plastic.

After you have finished making your first batch of Kombucha, put the SCOBY and 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid in the fridge until you’re ready to make a new batch. The remaining Kombucha will keep for about one month in the fridge. Kombucha can be fermented a second time without the SCOBY, for a range of health benefits and flavours. I have done second fermentation with lots of different ingredients, but two I do regularly are grated, raw ginger and cinnamon. If you’re interested in learning more, I can recommend highly Meg Thompson’s book, Superfoods for life: Cultured and Fermented Beverages.

If you’re looking to get your first SCOBY, and you don’t have a friend who will give you one, there are lots of places to either be given one or buy one. In Australia, there is a culture sharing network on a site called Pink Farm. Actually, that’s where I got mine. In the USA and Canada, there’s Cultures for Health. Worldwide, there’s www.kombu.de, or it is possible to purchase one from a range of sellers on eBay.

There are so many health benefits from drinking Kombucha, though I would caution you to start drinking a small amount a few times a day. As, it is possible to get reactions from even a small amount. But, once your body is used to it, it is fantastic stuff. Personally, I’ve found it very beneficial. I used to get regular bouts of tonsillitis, and had to be on a certain antibiotic constantly, otherwise I’d come down with either tonsillitis or another bacterial throat infection. It was the introduction of Kombucha that allowed me to firstly reduce then eliminate this antibiotic, and no longer be having constant throat infections.

So, I hope I have shown how simple and easy it is to make Kombucha. And, once you have started to make your own, there is a plethora of  possible flavours that can be enjoyed by giving your Kombucha a second fermentation.

 

Affiliate Link Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Please note: using an affiliate link does not change the price of the product, instead the seller pays Paleo Sheila a small commission. My opinions or thoughts on any product are my own.

 

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