I have been wanting to share my passion for making Kombucha for a while now, so in lieu of a workshop, here is the written lesson. I love kombucha. I love making it, I love drinking it, I love everything it represents- to me it is a sort of guerrilla slow fermented food movement of health, wellness and culture- literally. The culture is called a SCOBY and there is lots of info out on the web about it’s amazing characteristics- for our purposes, this is the straight up recipe to get you going on your Kombucha trail blazing path. I have LOTS of SCOBY’s so if you are in the need for a Kombucha Start Up Kit (funnels, strainers, scoby and starter tea) email me. This will make 7 pints of Booch. I drink one a day so I am in the rhythm of fermenting, bottling, and then making the tea all over again, pretty consistently. I also always do a 2nd fermentation- meaning, the first time is just to ferment the tea, the 2nd ferment is flavoring and fizzing after the 1st ferment tea has been made (7-9 days). After flavoring, I bottle it in glass bottles with a gasket tops to create fizz. I will describe my kombucha making process and if you should have questions, just post them.
What you will need to make 1st fermentation batch:
- A healthy SCOBY
- 1c starter tea (previously made from the last batch)
- 5 tea bags- I use 2 black 2 green and 1 of a rose or pomegranate flavored tea
- 12c water (4c hot water to brew tea, 8c cold once tea is brewed)
- 1c sugar (I use organic sucanat or organic cane sugar)
- label and marker
In a large tempered heat proof glass vessel, add the sugar, tea bags and water just to cover to steep, making a sweet tea mix. Once this has brewed, 5-7 minutes, remove the tea bags and pour the remaining cold water in. Add the starter tea and the SCOBY. Cover with a clean towel and secure the towel in place with an elastic band. On a label, mark the date and when you will be checking it. So for today, I marked 9/2 (the day I made the tea) and 9/11 (the day I will be checking it for doneness) Set this aside on the counter, out of the way or in a cabinet, and do not move or disturb for at least 7 days. As the tea ferments, it will be eating the sugar, so more days fermenting equals less sugar. It also tends to get a vinegary taste- some love, some not so much. I prefer mine in between so 8-9 days is how long I let mine go for. You can start tasting it after 7 days. It will also ferment more quickly in a hot space or in the summer months.
You can drink the tea as is. In order to do that, you will want to strain out the SCOBY, and the new baby SCOBY that this batch JUST made. (it will make one every time you brew! You can give these away, use then in addition to your mother SCOBY and make them stronger, some people blend them up and use them as a facial mask or you can simply compost them)
*When saving SCOBYS, save enough of the tea you just made to cover it, place it in a jar and in the fridge.
2nd Ferment, what you will need:
- glass swing-top bottles with rubber gaskets
- fruit flavoring *optional, about 1c fruit
- pinch sugar for each bottle
- label and marker
When my tea is done, I take out the SCOBYS and set them aside in a glass jar the tea they just made- they are ready for another batch of tea. This doesn’t have to happen immediately. You can leave them in the jar, in the tea, until you are ready to brew again.
I flavor my tea with organic freeze dried fruit, real fruit purees, frozen fruit- whatever you can get your hands on. You will note certain fruits enhance both the flavors and the fizz due to their sugar content. My favorite is to use freeze dried strawberries- this is especially awesome when my base tea has Rose flavored tea in it- SO GOOD. So I place the fruit right into the brew vessel, cover it again with the towel, and place a rubber band around the top to keep flies out. I let this stand overnight to mingle their flavors. The next day, I strain everything out and pour the flavored tea into bottles, lock the lids, date and label the bottles and let stand on the counter for 3-5 days. *CAUTION- contents under pressure can explode- this is especially true for brews with a higher sugar content. Start conservatively with your fermenting days, especially using glass bottles, until you get comfortable and into a rhythm.
I LOVE BOOCH.