7 Steps to Delicious Kombucha
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 4:57 PM
Kombucha is so good for you, and when made right at home, can be so delicious and refreshing! Now to be honest, I’ve never even tasted kombucha from the store, but from what I hear, it can’t even begin to compare to homemade!
First a little information about kombucha...
Kombucha is sweetened tea (typically green or black) that has been fermented using a starter culture called a SCOBY, which creates a carbonated beverage that is high in probiotics and b-vitamins, and the fermenting reduces the sugar content. SCOBY is an acronym that stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria & Yeast. There are a lot of reported benefits, but I don’t want to make any claims that I can’t back up. 😉 I know our family has noticed many benefits from drinking kombucha. One of my favorites is that we seem to be less likely to get sick!
The way I look at it is this-
Both green tea and black tea are very good for you.
Probiotics are very good for you.
B-vitamins are good for you.
It’s pretty easy to make.
It’s delicious & refreshing, and many people use it as a
substitute for other unhealthy beverages like soda, etc.
Even if those were the only benefits, what do you have to lose???
So let’s get started!
To make 1 gallon Kombucha you’ll need:
Starter Culture (SCOBY & 1-2 cups of finished kombucha)
Green or Black Tea (2 Tbsp. loose or 6 tea bags)
1 cup Sugar or Honey
1 gallon clean water
1 Gallon Glass Jar
Large wooden or plastic spoon
Cloth or tea towel
Grolsch flip top bottles- optional, but highly recommended
Step 1. Make Tea- Bring 2-3 cups water to a boil and pour over tea. Steep for 10-15 minutes.
Step 2. Remove tea bags, and add 8-9 cups of cool water to hot tea. Check the temperature, it should be below 80 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, just use your finger, it should feel like a warm bath. Once you’re sure that the water is not too hot, add the finished kombucha and SCOBY. Add the rest of the water, but leave at least an inch of space at the top of your container. Stir well, and cover with your cloth or tea towel. I secure mine with a rubber band, to make sure no flies or ants can get into it.
Step 3. Let it ferment- Put it in a safe place, out of the way, in a reasonably warm environment. Let it sit there and do it’s thing for at least a week. After a week, you can taste it. If it is pleasantly sweet and tart, you can finish it. If it’s still too sweet, let it ferment for a few days, or up to a week longer. Label it with the date that you made it, to help you keep track.
Step 4. Finish first ferment- remove SCOBY, and put it in a safe place. (I usually put mine on a plate with my cake dome over it, to keep out fruit flies, etc) Stir your finished kombucha well, and set aside 1-2 cups for your next batch.
Step 5. Second ferment (optional- you can skip this step and go straight to Step 6 if you like, but this makes the kombucha extra tasty!). After you have made sure to remove 1-2 cups for your next batch, you can add flavors to your kombucha for a second ferment.
*Our favorite flavor is Cherry Vanilla! For this flavor, before bottling, I simply add 2 cups Tart Cherry Juice and 1-2 Tbsp Vanilla and stir well. You can do this with pretty much any juice that you like- grape, apple, and cranberry are all great! I like the juice method, because you can add it and immediately bottle your kombucha.
*You can also add fresh or dried fruit or spices instead of juice, but you would add those to a lidded jar, let the fruit/kombucha mixture ferment for 2-3 days, then strain and bottle.
Step 6. Bottling! Pour through a plastic strainer & funnel into grolsch bottles for storage, making sure to leave 1” room at the top. Don’t forget to label with contents/flavor & date! If you don’t have the grolsch bottles, you can use mason jars, but they won’t allow the carbonation to build up.
* If you chose not to do a second ferment, they are ready to go in the refridgerator now, or you can leave on the counter for a day or two to build up carbonation.
* If you are doing a second ferment, then you’ll want to leave it on your counter for 3-5 days to continue the fermentation process. Make sure to burp the bottles every day so they don’t explode! When you get a nice “Pfffft” sound when you burp them, it’s time to move them to the refrigerator!
Now, take your SCOBY and the kombucha you set aside earlier, go back to step 1, and start over. This way, you’ll never run out of kombucha! ❤️
Step 7. Pour and enjoy! Sometimes after bottling, the bottled kombucha can form a small scoby, so I always pour through a small plastic strainer when serving, just in case! 😉
Other Flavors we like:
Per gallon finished kombucha, add:
Spiced Apple- 2 cups apple juice + 3-4 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces, 2 tsp each whole allspice & cloves
Holiday Cranberry Special- 2 cups Cranberry Apple Juice + 2 Tbsp fresh ginger
Cream Soda- 4 dates, chopped + 4 Tbsp Vanilla
Elderberry Lavender- 1/4 cup elderberries, 4 tsp lavender flowers, 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, 2 Tbsp honey
Or experiment and come up with your own favorites!
* There are numerous places where you can get SCOBYs now, but before you try to buy one, ask around. They multiply over time, so a friend may have an extra one they’re willing to give you. If not, here are a couple good ones that I”ve tried-
* Because we are trying to encourage the growth of bacteria and yeast, it is extra important to use organic ingredients if at all possible.
* Kombucha and the SCOBYs do not like metal. I am not fond of plastic and rarely use it, but I do use it as necessary here. I use a metal strainer to strain my loose tea, but a plastic strainer to strain my finished kombucha.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!