Check out Dawn's Kombucha Making Photo Tutorial... with pictures it's as easy as 1-2-3!
- Kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast)
- Starter Tea (small amount of liquid in with the SCOBY)
- Tea (Black or Green works best - preferably organic)
- Sugar (we use unrefined, but refined white sugar works just as well)
- Glass jars or crocks
1st Fermentation (directions for 1 gallon)
- Heat half a gallon of water to boiling.
- Add 1¼ cups of sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Keep the water near boiling for at least 5 min.
- Add 10 tea bags (6 tbsp. if loose).
- Remove from heat and let set at room temperature until the tea is lukewarm.
- Pour through strainer to remove tea leaves.
- At this point, make sure all utensils and containers used afterwards have been rinsed in strong Kombucha or vinegar. This protects against mold, and is especially important with your first batch.
- Pour the strained lukewarm tea into a one gallon container, preferably glass or ceramic. Here's a tip: You can use a one gallon glass ‘picnic tea jar’ with a spout at the bottom. The neat thing is you don’t need to remove or handle the Scoby from one batch to the next. Just tap the finished KT off through the spout and leave the Scoby plus a cup or two of liquid in the bottom for the next batch. It’s slick!
- Add half gallon of cold water.
- Add the SCOBY and starter tea.
- Cover the jar with a permeable top. (I use a coffee filter with a rubber band.)
- Set jar in the dark at room temperature.
- Wait about 5 days.
- On day 6 start sampling your tea each day.
- It’s finished when it tastes the way you want it.
We usually stop our first fermentation on day 7 or 8 when there's still a faint hint of sweetness left in the tea. The remaining small amount of sugar will be used to make carbonation (fizz) during the second fermentation. Or, if you like your KT without fizz, there is no need to do a second fermentation.
2nd Fermentation (optional)
- Bottle the entire gallon of KT except for a cup or two of liquid that you need to save for the next batch.
- We also like to add flavorings to the tea sometimes during bottling. An all time favorite is ginger. Simply add a slice or two of ginger root to the bottle before you seal it. Experiment with a squirt of lemon juice, other fruit juices or a few small berries for additional flavor and color.
- Let the bottles sit at room temperature for 1-2 weeks or longer for best carbonation and flavor.
- My 'mother' SCOBY sank when I put it in my first brew. Now what? No worries. It makes no difference to your brew if the SCOBY is at the top or the bottom. If your SCOBY sinks, a new one will soon form on the surface.
- How do I know if my brew has mold? Many people mistake bits of floating yeast or the beginnings of a new SCOBY as mold. If mold does form, it will always be on the top of the tea and will be soft and fluffy.
- How long will the KT last after it is bottled? Years and years. Whether it's refrigerated or not, Kombucha simply ages and gets better the longer it sits. Living food is amazing!
- Do I pour the tea through a strainer when I bottle? Most people do not strain it, but if you don't like the small bits of yeast or SCOBY in it, feel free. Some people affectionately call the little floaters "ooglies."
- Why does it take so much sugar? The probiotic yeast and beneficial bacteria live on the sugar. They need it to grow and make KT. Most, if not all of the sugar is used up by the time you drink it.
The fun thing about making your own Kombucha is that you can experiment with various methods and flavors to get the perfect brew for you. Kombucha is a living food and will not mind some variation.
For those who want to share your Kombucha making experiences or hear about others' experiments, there's a great yahoo group called Original Kombucha.
All the best of food and blessings...
~5th generation on the farm
Real Farmers. Real Caring. Real Food.