Why and how does one go about making Kombucha?[caption id="attachment_564" align="alignnone" width="218"]
Kombucha - the finished product![/caption]
Making Kombucha the Why....
- The number one reason is it tastes great!
- Kombucha contains probiotics that are thought to be good for your body and digestion
- It is very fun to experiment with different recipes and flavors
- It is a unique hobby that ends with a tasty and healthy beverage
Making Kombucha the How...
To get started you need a couple things
- A SCOBEY (this is the yeast and bacteria culture that turns the sweet tea into Kombucha) it should be acquired from someone who brews Kombucha
- Starter Tea (about an 1/8 the amount of your first fermentation jar) - this is also acquired from another Kombucha Brewer. For example if you are using a 2 gallon jar, 1 quart of starter is ideal.
- Organic Cane Sugar - Costco is the cheapest source for bulk organic cane sugar but it can be found at most major grocery stores.
- Tea (black, green, white or Oolong). Stay away from teas with oils, these oils will hinder the fermentation and harm your SCOBEY!
- Two gallon glass jar with spigot
- Replacement Spigot - the original is a coated plastic and the acids in the Kombucha will corrode them over time
- Half gallon Ball Mason Jars
- Reusable Grolsh Bottles
- Funnel and strainer set
Making Sweet Tea
- Bring the water to a boil
- Add organic cane sugar about 1 cup per gallon, slightly less can be used but I would not go lower than 2/3 cup per gallon.
- Add tea bags 8-10 tea bag per gallon is the general standard. My preference is half green tea and half black. Experiment and see what you like! Turn heat off once your tea is added
- Remove tea after 5-10 minutes of steeping
- Let the sweet tea cool to room temperature before proceeding to next step (4-6 hours to cool)
Step 1: First Fermentation and Continuous Brew
- Place your SCOBEY and Starter Tea in your container with the spigot
- Add enough sweet tea to fill your container. Make sure it is room temperature or you will harm your Scobey!
- For fermentation to occur your jar must be open to the air but you don't want any bugs getting in. so cut up a clean cotton T-shirt and rubber-band to the jar. DO NOT USE CHEESE CLOTH. Fruit flies can get through cheese cloth!
- Your FIRST first fermentation should take around 5-8 days depending on house temperature and your taste preference. Longer fermentation makes the tea more acidic. Warmer house temperature speed up the process. Test the tea from the spigot every couple days to see how it changes and to determine when it is ready.
- Now you are ready to continuously brew Kombucha! This is very simple. Every 2-3 days remove a 1/4 of the container and replace it with sweet tea. For example, if you are using a 2 gallon container your remove 1/2 gallon of the fermented tea and replace with 1/2 gallon sweet tea.
Step 2: Second Fermentation/ Fruit Infusion
At this stage you now have plain Kombucha tea. You can drink it now if you would like. I prefer to do a fruit infusion/fruit flavoring. I personally really enjoy the taste and carbonation that can be achieved by doing this step.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyDs68XYpkgFor this step I use half gallon Ball Mason Jars. Chop up whatever combination of fruits and/or herbs you like. Throw them all in the bottom of the jar. I mash the fruits with a fruit/bar muddler. Pour the fermented tea over the the fruits. Seal the jar and leave at room temperature for 1-2 days. Here is a great link for some combinations of fruits that work great together!
Step 3: Bottling and Carbonation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp6tRg31dmAPour the Kombucha from the fruit infusion jar into bottles. To make this easy I use a funnel and strainer set to prevent any of my precious Kombucha from spilling and to keep the fruit pieces out of the finished Kombucha. For bottles I prefer reusable Grolsh type bottles. I ordered these from Amazon but many people find it cheaper to get a case of Grolsh beer. Drink the beer! And then keep the bottles! Leave the bottles out to the fridge for 1-2 days; this allows the Kombucha to carbonate. After 1-2 days move the bottles to the fridge and enjoy!