Updated: Jan 16
I was never someone to love carbonated drinks all that much. I am a tea girl at heart and have been for as long as I can remember. That said I do like an iced tea every now and then. I first tried kombucha a couple of years back and it was love at first sip. Kombucha, being a fermented tea that's typically served cold, to me tasted like iced tea but better. And then there is also the benefit of it actually being pretty healthy for you too. Being a fermented beverage it is loaded with healthy acids and is pretty much a probiotic drink as well. People have noticed a whole lot of different benefits by drinking this delicious brew but I am not going into it for now. (Though I will say that both my mom and I have noticed our digestion has improved since drinking it.) What I am going to share with you though is how you can make this lovely treat yourself.
SO WHAT IS KOMBUCHA?
Kombucha is pretty much just a fermented tea. All you need is some super sweet tea, a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) and some starter liquid. Over the course of about one to two weeks you leave it alone and the bacteria and yeasts will go at work fermenting the tea. What you are left with is a sour tea with some amount of light carbonation which you can then amp up during the second fermentation.
The main resources I used are www.youbrewkombucha.com and "the Big Book of Kombucha" by Hannag Crum and Alex LaGory. If you want to know more about both brewing and what kombucha is I highly recommend these. And both are also full of great recipes.
Now, I am no doctor. Obviously try it at your own risk. If you are not sure if you should try this then don't take the risk or ask your health professional. While I have not noticed any ill effects from drinking kombucha (more the opposite) it might not be the best for everyone. Even though most of the sugar will be used up by the bacteria and yeast, there is still some left in the final brew.
Now on to the recipe. It's pretty much the recipe I used since the first brew and has worked great for me so far. I got is from www.youbrewkombucha.com so don't take the credit here. This recipe will make about 1,5 liter.
400 ml hot water for tea
75 ml cane sugar
800 ml cold water for cooling
200 ml starter liquid (kombucha that has successfully gone through first fermentation)
2 tbsp lose leaf tea (I use Yunnan Flowery Orange Pekoe and sencha)
I prefer to use loose leaf tea. For one it creates less waste and can just be composted after I am doen steeping and it gives the leaves much more room to expand and steep. And I prefer organic just because it's better for you, the environment and you kombucha culture.
Also make sure you have actual tea, so no herbs or anything added. I found that black tea works best. Green tea works too though i found that the SCOBY growth is weaker. If you prefer green tea, I have had great results mixing some black tea in using a 1:3 ratio. 1 part black for every 3 parts green tea. That said, there are people that just use green tea to brew and have not had a problem with it.
Pan for steeping tea
Watercooker (optional but very practical)
Spoon to stir
Cloth (to cover your jar)
Elastic or yarn (to secure your cloth on your jar)
First brew the tea. Cook your water and steep the leaves for 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile add the sugar to the jar you are going to use for fermentation.
Then use your strainer to remove the leaves while you pour your tea in your jar with the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Now add the remaining water to cool down your sweet tea. Which should bring the temperature down to somewhere between 20 and 30 ºC. You want the tea to be about room temperature when you add your SCOBY in.
Add your starter liquid and stir to combine everything evenly. Now add your SCOBY and cover the jar with your cloth. Place the jar in a spot out of direct sunlight (as sunlight has antibacterial properties) where it will stay at room temperature and where you have some airflow. (So don't put it in a cabinet.)
Now don't touch it for 7 days and enjoy as you see your new SCOBY form on the top of the liquid. If you touch it before it will disrupt the new SCOBY growth.
After 7 days you can start tasting. Depending on the temperature and your taste it should be done anywhere between 7 and 14 days. I tend to leave mine for about 9 to 11 days.
Once you are happy with the flavor, remove you SCOBY's from the jar and you can bottle it for second fermentation or just drink. Don't forget to remove your new starter liquid for a new batch! Now start a new batch or place your SCOBY's in a SCOBY hotel so you can start a new batch later.
That was it for today. Do let me know if you have ever tried kombucha how you liked it! And of course if you have tried making it yourself or are going to try it. If you have any questions please let me know. For now, goodluck with the next steps on your bridge and I wish you all the happiness and an amazing rest of your day.