Kombucha!! What exactly is it, you ask? It’s not only what hippies drink, it is what health-conscious people drink too ! 🙂 Kombucha is a yummy, fizzy drink that has been around for thousand of years. It is made from brewing a strong, sweet tea and then ferments with a SCOBY ( symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) to give it the tons of vitamins, enzymes, and probiotics a healthy body needs! More about the specifics later…. Kombucha benefits include detoxifying the body, boosting immunity, supporting a healthy digestive system, and provides a high content of the B vitamins and acids your body needs to feel AMAZING!
Kombucha can be mucho expensive costing around $4 a bottle. I drink one a day- so the cost adds up! Making my own Kombucha is ridiculously easy and costs a fraction of the price. Check out this recipe on How to Brew Your Own Kombucha. Your body will thank you!
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Before I started actually brewing Kombucha, I was pretty intimidated thinking it would be a very difficult and a precarious process. As it turns out, it is one of the easiest things to do in the kitchen and only takes about 30 minutes or so to start a batch. The hardest part Is waiting 7-12 days for the batch to be ready!!!!Making Kombucha is SO easy! Follow these steps to see How to Make Your Own Kombucha Tea! #kombucha… Click To Tweet
Here’s what makes Kombucha:
SCOBY- an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. It is the living home, sometimes called “mother”, that turns the sweet tea into the effervescent kombucha brew. It is similar to the cultures needed to make vinegar, kefir, and other fermented products.
Evaporated Cane Sugar- The sugar used for brewing is the “food” for the SCOBY. It is NOT for the consumer. When the Kombucha is done, there will be 2-5 grams of sugar per serving, as opposed to ~20+ grams in the same amount of fruit juices.
Here’s what you need:
- 2-3 ounces Organic Oolong loose black tea *This is about 1 cup worth of loose tea. (I use this loose tea but you can also use 4-5 teabags of good quality tea) *THIS big bag will last me about 5-6 months!
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups evaporated cane sugar (This is the “food” for the SCOBY.
- (It is important to use evaporated cane or cane sugar ONLY because they are processed in such a way they lack impurities of more processed sugars. You don’t want impurities in the Kombucha!
- stainless steel mesh tea infuser ( to hold the loose tea)
- SCOBY ( You can get one online from a reputable company like Brooklyn Kombucha HERE )
- 2 gallon stoneware crock
- 12-24 oz of pre-made kombucha to add to the crock as a new batch starter
- additional water to fill the crock
- adhesive temperature strip
- heating mat **** I use one when the weather is cooler or when necessary to keep the brew at ~ 78º F
- glass bottles (You want to use glass bottles to bottle in to handle the pressure created from the carbonation)
- bottling syphon kit ****optional but makes bottling SO much easier
- fruit or juice for adding different flavors ****optional
Here’s what you do:
- Make a very strong tea by boiling 2 cups of water and the organic oolong black tea. Let steep for about 20 minutes. Discard the tea leaves when done steeping. ( I use a pot that is big enough to add cold water into AFTER mixing in the sugar, to cool the liquid down before adding to the crock. – alternatively, you can let the liquid cool by sitting)
- While the water is still very hot, stir in 2 cups of sugar. The sugar should fully dissolve in the hot water.
- One way or another, let the liquid cool down to at about 70º F. As mentioned earlier, I use a big enough pot to steep the tea in so that I can add cold water to the sweet tea to cool it down. You can just let it sit and cool too.
- While the tea is cooling, add 12-24 oz of pre-made kombucha into the crock to act as a starter for the new batch. While bottling your very first batch, you will be able to leave this amount in the bottom of the crock to start the next batch.
- Once cooled, add the cool sweet tea to the pre-made kombucha in the crock. It HAS to be under 80º F so the heat won’t kill the cultures in the kombucha.
- Fill the crock with cool water, leaving about 1-2 inches of room for your SCOBY to sit on top of the tea.
- Place the SCOBY on top of the tea carefully.
- Cover the crock with a CLEAN piece of muslin or cotton fabric to allow circulation, but to prevent fruit flies or bugs from contaminating your brew.
- Place the heating mat either around the crock, or under the crock if necessary to keep the brew close to 78º F, the optimal temperature for the SCOBY to do it’s thing. You will have to experiment to adjust the spot you keep your crock and the heating mat to get this temperature.
- Let the crock sit for anywhere between 7-12 days to reach the desired taste you prefer! The shorter you let the brew sit, the milder flavor it will have. The longer it brews, the more sweeter it will taste and will have more of a vinegar taste. This is all about preference. I like my kombucha at about 9-10 days. Each batch will vary slightly though, depending on conditions.
- Bottle your brew when ready. You can either scoop out the liquid and pour it into the bottles or you can use the siphoning kit, which is SO worth it!!! I line all of my bottles up prior to the process and fill them like an assembly line, making NO mess at all! You want to leave about 1″ or 1 1/2″ of kombucha in the crock to start your next batch. Tighten the lids on the glass bottles completely to keep the carbonation.
- If you would like to add a flavor to the kombucha, you can add about an ounce of fruit or juice to the tea AFTER it has been bottled. If adding juice, you can drink it right away, or let the juice or fruit sit for a few days and undergo a second fermentation process. Strain the fruit out before drinking.
Some notes and tips about the process:
- When I bottle the kombucha, I use a small strainer to allow the kombucha to run through to catch any pieces or byproducts that are created during the brewing process. These pieces are not harmful in anyway, but it my preference not to taste or feel them. It’s a texture preference thing….
- When you are bottling, you will see some byproducts of the fermentation process settled on the bottom of the crock. This is normal and actually good to start the next brew with. I do drain the reserved tea, and rinse the settled residue out every few batches.
- To gain more carbonation, leave your bottles at room temperature. For less, keep them stored in the refrigerator.
- It is normal for slimy looking floating things to form in your bottled kombucha. These are baby SCOBYs. I just use a small strainer when pouring my bottle into a glass to drink, and problem solved….. You can consume it if you want, but I don’t like it!
- You will see bubbles in the crock as your brew is fermenting. This is normal.
- The light layers on top of the SCOBY will continue to form and grow. It will look cloudy. If there is black or dark mold, that’s not OK and should be checked.
- You will can/ need to split your SCOBY after several brews. You can divide it in half and give it away!
- Do not let your SCOBY dry out. You can store it in a ziploc in the refrigerator without killing it for a few days if you are not going to start a batch right away. I always wind bottling the old batch while I am steeping the tea for the next batch….
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