A couple of years ago when I started to research Kombucha and how to make it I’ll admit I was a little overwhelmed. There are many controversies and some say it can be dangerous to your health. But I finally concluded, after much research, that the benefits FAR outweigh any of the so-called disadvantages of long term use. In which case, I plan on drinking it well into my years.
TOOLS AND MATERIALS:
glass gallon jar
cane sugar (go here to read the FAQ on sugar)
nylon sieve (I got mine here)
organic black, oolong, green, or white tea (here for tea info)
breathable fabric with a rubber band to cover the top of your jar
Kombucha scoby and 1 cup starter, if you don’t have one I would be more than happy to share.
*never use implements that are not glass, plastic or wood, and ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS.
Brews 1 Gallon of Kombucha
If you want to make a half gallon, simply cut the recipe in half
1. Boil 2 quarts of water
2. Add 4-6 tea bags and steep for 20 min, or to desired strength
3. Remove tea bags and mix in 1 cup of sugar
4. Cool to room temp and fill the rest of your gallon jar with cold water leaving enough space for your scoby and starter. Distilled or high mineral well water is best, if you have chlorinated water you can let it sit for 24 hours in an open container and most of the chlorine will evaporate.
5. Add scoby and 1 cup of starter, your starter is just the cup of kombucha I will tell you to keep as you read further, or, if this is your first batch of brew it will be what you got with your scoby
6. Cover with clean, breathable fabric and rubber band
7. Place in warm environment for 5 days to 14 days, I prefer it around 7
Over the course of the next two weeks your scoby will feed on the sugars, tannins and caffeine and will produce a lovely drink chock full of vitamins (read here) on the goodness it will put into your body) I like to taste my hooch after about 3 days (do this by using a plastic spoon or put a straw into the jar and draw out the liquid by plugging the other end with your finger). “The ‘buch’ is ready when your taste buds say it’s ready,” as said by Kombucha Brooklyn cofounder Eric Childs.
Once you are happy with the sourness of your “buch”, it is time to either second ferment or bottle. Second fermentation is my absolute favorite! This is when you get to be creative and add richness of flavor. Here is where I add things like cranberry or blackberry or herbs, or a deliciously palatable mix of all of those.
I always throw in a handful of hops flower, it aids in digestion, helps with menstrual problems, and relieves stress and insomnia. I mostly just like the spice it adds.
To second ferment you will need to strain off all but 1 cup of liquid and put it into a clean gallon jar, then you add whatever your heart desires. Fresh fruit mixed with herbs is always a win in our home. You’ll want to cover the jar with a coffee filter and a lid so that it can properly ferment and start the carbonation process. I second ferment for at least 24 hours, sometimes more, this is dependent on your personal taste.
And now we bottle!
I love these grolsch bottles that I found at a yard sale last year, but you can pretty much use any tight lidded bottle. You could even use a mason canning jar with one of those plastic lids and it would be fine. Once your brew is bottled you can leave them on your counter for a day or so to build up carbonation. Then you can place them in the fridge. Since I like to live dangerously I leave mine on the counter indefinitely. I prefer it warm and over ice. I cannot recommend this because it can be hazardous. But if you decide to go this route you need to PLEASE remember to release the carbonation pressure a couple of times daily. Failure to do so will likely result in THIS.
Personally I’d rather result in this
Happy Brewing! See, even my hubby likes it. Although he’ll call it jellyfish pee and pretend he thinks it’s gross. But now you know the truth.