I tried to make kombucha once and it was a total *fail*. It grew moldy stuff and did not look like anything you would want to drink. I was frustrated and threw in the towel about making kombucha for nearly a year.
But, last week, I decided to try my hand and make kombucha again. I succeeded. Wow! I am so excited. We love it! Obviously, I learned a lot about the process and how to succeed at making kombucha. It was plain and simple, no frills the first time around, but the excitement of making kombucha and growing my own new SCOBY (see details below).
What is kombucha?
You have probably heard of it and wondered. Well, kombucha is a fermented tea from black or green tea. The tea is begun with a fermented disc termed a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). The SCOBY is added to brewed tea along with some additional fermented tea or vinegar, and is covered and allowed to sit in a dark area for at least 7 days to ferment. The result is a tangy fermented tea that has tons of health benefits.
Why would you want to make kombucha anyway?
Well, kombucha is a fermented tea that replenishes your gut with good bacteria. Plus, it contains vinegar, so if you know anything about good quality, raw vinegar, you know how good it is for you.
- Kombucha contains at least 4 different probiotics to help your gut.
- It contains B vitamins, to give you energy.
- Kombucha is a strong detoxification liquid to rid your body of unwanted toxins.
- Kombucha breaks down black tea and creates iron in the process.
- Kombucha is high in vitamin C.
- It is high in polyphenols, which help you lose weight.
- It kills candida, or yeast, in the body.
- It helps your liver detoxify itself.
You can read the bad ideas about kombucha online, who discount kombucha’s health benefits. However, these are the same people who discount the effectiveness of natural remedies which many of us know do work. There has been a lot of information about a low level of alcohol which forms in the fermented tea, and in fact, bottles of kombucha were pulled from Whole Foods’ shelves when some were found to have a too-high alcohol content (.5%). However, this is not generally a concern, because the level of alcohol produced by the fermenting sugar is less than 1%.
Just research it for your family and decide what works best.
How to make kombucha tea.
You will need:
- 1 gallon-size tea jar
- 1 gallon of water (Some say filtered is best, but I used simple tap water.)
- 1 cheese cloth to cover the jar and a large rubber band.
- 1 SCOBY (I bought mine on Amazon, but if you want to ensure the quality, I recommend Cultures for Health)
- 6-8 black tea bags (or a combination of black and green)
- 1 cup of sugar (I tried honey, but it did not work for me)
- 1 cup of kombucha left-over tea or vinegar (some may come with your SCOBY, but don’t sweat it if you don’t, just use vinegar)
Optional: You can also add berries or citrus slices and even juices for a different flavoring after brewing. You can also add ginger and even use hibiscus flowers as part of your tea mix.
- Bring a small saucepan of water to a near boil and add the tea bags. Allow them to steep for about 20 minutes.
- Pour the tea into the jar and add 1 cup of sugar. Stir until dissolved and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Add the 1 cup of kombucha or vinegar combination and the SCOBY.
- Fill the jar with water until about 1 inch below the top of the jar.
- Cover it with the cheesecloth and seal with a rubber band.
- Place the jar in a dark pantry or cabinet and leave at room temperature for at least 7 days. You should see no signs of mold or mildew and a new fresh SCOBY on the top.
To check the taste, use a straw or dropper to extract the liquid if you want, but try not to disturb the newly developed SCOBY on top. The taste will be slightly sweet and vinegary. The longer it ferments, the less sweet it will be.
Hint: If you find any mold or mildew and the tea is not clear and clean with a new SCOBY on top, then throw it out, for whatever reason, the fermentation process did not work.
When your kombucha tastes the way you want it, place the new SCOBY in a jar along with one cup of kombucha and either start a new jar or refrigerate until you decide to begin a new one. You can also re-use the mother SCOBY (the one you used to start your tea) and store it in the same way, for about six weeks, or until it becomes inactive. Some people even eat it for the nutritive benefits. Or, share it with a friend who wants to start her own kombucha.
Pour your fresh-brewed tea into a jar (without the SCOBY), along with any fruit you may want, and keep it in the refrigerator for drinking.
What flavors can you add to your kombucha tea?
While the tangy taste of kombucha tea is good, we can make it even better with some easy flavor alterations. Some require fermenting the kombucha first and then adding flavors. Others require optional methods. Try these flavors:
Blackberry Lavender Float (a hot weather yum!)
What flavorings do you add to your tea?