fermented

making kombucha, that’s what’s up

kombucha-ingedients

Kombucha, if you have never heard of it before, it may sound kinda strange. We just discovered this amazing stuff a few months back ourselves and can’t stop talking about it. It is a fermented tea that has wicked awesome health benefits. Kombucha tea aids in digestion, eliminates toxins, supports the immune system, helps with cancer prevention, and boosts energy. Yes, please!

finished-kombucha

Our kombucha journey started when a good friend of ours, Ryan, brought us a mason jar of his homemade kombucha tea and a scoby, the most important part. Scoby is an acronym for symbiotic mass of bacteria and yeast. This is what ferments the sugar-tea solution into kombucha. A Scoby isn’t the most beautiful thing, but I’m going to show you a picture and hope it doesn’t scare you away…

scoby

Still with me? Good. Don’t be fooled by this  ‘gross’ factor. Kombucha tea is extremely tasty and addictive. Seriously, Ryan and I cannot make it fast enough to keep up with the demand cravings. We have to ration out our kombucha tea to last until the next batch is ready…which isn’t always so easy to do. Currently, we are brainstorming new ways to make larger batches.

how-to-make-kombucha

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white granulated Sugar
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 scoby per jar
    You can get scoby from someone who is making kombucha, you can make your own scoby, or you can buy scoby.
  • 2 cups of starter tea from a previous batch of kombucha
    You can buy unpasteurized unflavored kombucha from the grocery store for starter tea.
  • 8 tea bags
    Use green tea, black tea, or oolong tea (a mix of both green and black). Don’t use teas that use artificial flavorings or sweeteners. Also avoid teas with essential oils like Earl Grey, this can kill your kombucha culture.

Equipment:

  • One gallon or larger glass container (or wood wine barrel)
    The larger the better because it allows the scoby to grow larger inside.
  • Thin piece of cloth
    Something like a T-shirt. Something to let it breath but to where fruit flies cannot get in. Cheesecloth is a no, no.
  • Rubber band
  • One gallon glass jar
  • Glass bottles – Six 16-oz bottles or three 32-oz bottles with plastic lids or swing tops
    You can also use clean soda bottles with lids.
  • Filter
  • Funnel

kombucha-ingedientsStep One – Fill large sauce pan with water, boil, and mix in sugar. Turn off the heat and add tea bags. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature. Then, pour it into your kombucha making container with the remainder of the water. Leave a little room in the glass container and mix well.

Step Two – Add your scoby and the starter tea to the kombucha mix.
Note: You want to keep your scoby in a sterile environment, so only handle it with clean hands. Also, don’t let the scoby come into contact with any metal, this can damage it.

scoby-and-kombucha
Step Three
– Cover the jar with cloth and keep it in place with the rubber band. Store the jar in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. Now, the wait is on (waiting is the hardest part, said in a singing tone). Give your kombucha at least 7 to 10 days to ferment. The longer it ferments the stronger the vinegar taste and less amount of sugar. After a week, pour a small amount out and taste the tea every day or so. When you find the taste you like the most, it’s time to bottle.

While the kombucha is fermenting, the scoby may sink or move around. Stringy particles may start to develop in the tea. These are actually signs of healthy kombucha fermenting.

Step Four – Remove your scoby and any ‘scoby baby’. (As your kombucha ferments the scoby is feeding off the sugar and may begin to develop an additional scoby.) Place your scoby in a sterile plastic bag or jar along with some of your kombucha. If you don’t make a new batch immediately, change the kombucha every 1-4 weeks. This keeps it until you’re ready to start up a new batch.

Step Five – Get your glass bottles ready. We like to filter out the particles, but this is optional. To do that, place a coffee filter inside the funnel and slowly pour your kombucha into the bottle. Once the bottle is filled, seal the cap and you’re done. After the tea is bottled, it can keep in the refrigerator for months.

filtering-kombucha

Step Six (optional) – For an extra fizzy taste, leave your bottled kombucha out on the counter for 2 to 3 days before refrigerating.

Step Seven (also optional) – Spice up your kombucha brew with your own fresh flavors, though it is really good all on its own. Add fresh fruit and herbs to your container before refrigerating your kombucha tea.

We have been using an old gallon pickle jar to make our kombucha and picked up some swing top bottles from Ikea for $3.99 each. The swing top keeps a nice seal on the kombucha and the fizz intact. We usually fill three up with one gallon of kombucha. If we are lucky, they will last us until the next batch is ready.

With the first batch we made, we tried out adding blueberry to one and strawberry to another. Both turned out really tasty, but strawberry was our favorite.

strawberry-kombuchaWhen I tell people about kombucha and describe a scoby, they are usually a little grossed out, but I can’t wait to let everyone in my family actually taste it! With such great benefits, I want everyone drinking it on the daily. Arthritis, brain power, lowers high cholesterol and blood pressure…you all, it goes on and on.

Don’t let the idea of fermentation creating alcohol keep this from your little ones. You would have to drink several glasses to equal one beer. So get to making your very own kombucha and share your scoby with those around you. Kombuuuuucha (as I say) for everyone!

Side note: With our new love of kombucha in full swing, imagine how excited I was when The Homestead Atlanta put on their own kombucha workshop. It was cool to learn how a professional makes theirs. If you are in the Atlanta area, you’ll have to try out Golda Kombucha. She named the company after her grandma, Golda, who taught her how to make kombucha growing up. Golda is in her 80’s and still sharp as a tack. 

Homestead-ATL

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Ryan
    October 15, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Kristyn,

    I use 2gal glass jars I bought at walmart with 4 in constant rotation to keep my supply coming of delicious kombucha 😉 I just top them off with more black tea sugar mixture once they’re depleted to about 2 cups of kombucha.

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