Love it or hate it.. it’s Kombucha time! You’d be surprised how little effort is needed to make a sweet batch of home brewed kombucha and it’s also really inexpensive to make (you just need some water, sugar, tea & a little bit of patience).
I started drinking kombucha when I was living in Hawaii and brought it back with me when I returned to the mainland. Honestly, I had never tried it before Hawaii but it’s a tasty treat for someone who only drinks water and I definitely feel good drinking it knowing all the healthy and beneficial properties (the organic acids, vitamins and probiotic microorganisms) it creates. For me, it’s a no-brain er – especially with the prices you will find at the grocery store for a bottle of brew. Plus, the Chinese have been doing it for 2,000 years and call it, the tea of immortality.. so, what more is there to say? Let’s do this!
First, you will need to either have a friend who would happily supply you with a kombucha scoby or you can grow your own which is what I did when I returned home from Hawaii last May. There is a simple ‘how to’ on growing your own that you can find here. Once you’ve let your scoby grow for a few weeks you can now brew your first batch of Kombucha.
For those of you wondering what a Scoby IS…. The word scoby stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts. The culture is placed in sweetened black or green tea and turns a bowl full of sweet tea into a bowl full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and health-giving organic acids. With every brew you make the kombucha forms a new layer or scoby on the surface of the liquid. These can be left to thicken the scoby or can be divided. For specific info about kombucha you can look here.
So, let’s get started!
BREWING THE TEA
1 gallon of filtered water (we actually just use the tap water here.. since the water is pretty good)
1 cup of organic cane sugar
4 black tea or green tea bags
1 home grown or gifted scoby
1 gallon glass jar (you can use two smaller jars too.. you will just need two scobies)
1 clean cloth, bandanna or piece of an old sheet & a rubber band or twist tie
*I brew my tea usually after dinner so it has the whole evening to steep and cool down… I also do a double batch which makes about 20 or so bottles of kombucha.
1. Bring the gallon of water to boil in a large pot with a lid. Once it is boiling, turn off the burner and add the 1 cup of sugar (some recipes call for 2 but we feel that one works just fine) as well as the 4 tea bags. Cover the tea mixture and let it steep over night.
2. In the morning, clean out your gallon jar really well with hot soapy water. Also, wash your hands really well before touching your scoby (keep everything clean, clean, clean). Have your fresh cloth and rubber band ready to go.
3. Transfer the tea mixture into the squeaky clean gallon jar and place your homegrown scoby inside. Cover with the cloth and secure with the rubber band.
4. Store the jar in a dark place. Wait about 3 – 4 weeks for the mixture to ferment (which could be quicker in the warmer, summer months).
BOTTLING YOUR KOMBUCHA
After your kombucha has fermented for 3 – 4 weeks in a dark space, it is now time to bottle it up. You will want to repeat the steps from above the night before so you have a whole new tea mixture to add to the jar once you’ve bottled it all up. For bottling you will need…
Your gallon jar of kombucha brew
1 32 oz. jar of organic juice (there are 2 pictured because I do a double batch)
8-10 clean glass bottles with lids (I save my old kombucha or juice bottles)
1. Using the funnel pour about a 1.5 in of juice into all of your bottles.
2. Clean your hands really well and take off the cover to your kombucha brew. Using the funnel, transfer the brew into the bottles leaving just a tiny bit of space up at the top (the bottled kombucha will get pretty fizzy).
3. Tighten the lids on the bottles and let them be for a few days before trying (I store them in the cupboard where it’s dry and cool). Do not shake before drinking though, contents will be pretty bubbly!
4. Add your cooled down batch of tea from the night before to your kombucha jar and repeat the process. If you are feeling ever so bold you may take the second scoby in the jar and brew up a second jar! Happy Fermenting 🙂
p.s. Let me know if you have any questions or would be interested in a scoby!