After our last post on Kombucha, we got a lot more response from our customers than we expected. Seems as though many of you are already devoted converts! Although there are more and more brands of bottled kombucha available on the shelves of your local natural foods store every day, some of you expressed interest in making kombucha at home. Being the helpful sort of folks that we are, we thought you might get some use out of a recipe.
To start, here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- A kombucha starter. This consists of a kombucha SCOBY (also called a “kombucha mother” or “kombucha mushroom”) and ½ cup prepared kombucha tea. These can be bought online or gotten for free through a “kombucha exchange”
- ¼ cup of refined white sugar
- 1 quart water
- A glass jar or bowl larger than 1 quart
- 3 tablespoons unflavored organic green tea or organic black tea
- A strainer
Below, we’ve listed out the steps necessary to make a batch of kombucha at home:
- Thoroughly wash all utensils, pots, and bowls. It’s important to minimize the yeasts, bacteria, and molds competing with your SCOBY.
- Boil the quart of water for several minutes . This has three benefits: (1) It kills any microbes that may be in the water; (2) Boiling will drive the chlorine out of treated water (chlorine can damage your SCOBY, and will almost certainly slow fermentation); (3) It is easier to dissolve sugar in hot water.
- Cut the heat. Add sugar, stirring until it is completely dissolved, then add tea leaves. Tea in bags can be used in place of loose leaves.
- Let the sugar/tea solution cool until it is room temperature. If the fluid is warmer than body temperature it will kill the SCOBY.
- Meanwhile, place your SCOBY and ½ cup of prepared kombucha in the glass jar.
- When the sugar/tea solution has cooled, pour it into the jar with the SCOBY, using the strainer to catch the loose tea leaves.
- Cover the jar with a clean piece of cloth or paper towel, secure the covering with a rubber band, and place the tea in a warm, dark place.
- After 5 days, begin checking the tea. As the kombucha ferments, a new “daughter” SCOBY will form on the surface of the solution; this is perfectly normal. The kombucha is ready to drink when tiny bubbles are forming at the edges of the surface of the tea, and it tastes like a mildly sweet, slightly vinegary cider. Fermentation times of 7 to 9 days are normal, and 14 days is not unusual.
- Pour the tea into a clean glass container and refrigerate. Refrigeration halts fermentation, and also helps the kombucha mellow. Be sure to leave at least ½ cup of kombucha behind to keep your SCOBY moist.
- (OPTIONAL) For a fizzier drink, pour the kombucha into clean, spring-cap beer bottles. Seal these, and allow them to sit in the warm, dark place for 5 more days, then transfer to the refrigerator.
Happy Kombucha brewing! Feedback on the recipe above would be greatly appreciated.