Kombucha is the trendy fermented tea that can promote everything from your immune system to better bowel movements. However, if you buy from the market, these drinks can cost anything upwards of $4 a bottle which is a lot more affordable though because of those amazing tax cuts but let’s get back on track here.
You can save up to 80% of the cost by brewing your own kombucha at home. The first thing while making kombucha at home is not to feel resistant to the idea of SCOBY or Symbiotic Cultures of Bacteria and Yeast. Everything else is easy.
Here is a simple method to make kombucha at home without messing up your first batch.
1. Score an Active SCOBY
SCOBY can grow and multiply very quickly. You can easily score your first disk of this slime online, from a friend or other probiotic enthusiasts. SCOBY is important to give your kombucha a slightly sweet, fizzy taste with the power of antioxidants, probiotics, and B vitamins.
There is no right or wrong SCOBY, or ugly or beautiful SCOBY. You will only know a SCOBY works when you use it to ferment your first batch. Hence, it is recommended that you borrow a piece of healthy, tried, and tested SCOBY from a friend for your first batch.
2. Procure Some Starter Liquid
The starter liquid is a bacteria-packed potion that works as the activator. You can get your starter liquid from the same place you got your SCOBY. You require at least a cup of this to make a gallon of kombucha.
Alternatively, you can also use commercial brew. However, make sure it’s the plain and unpasteurized version. Most brews in the supermarkets lack the diversity of bacterial strains for a full spectrum brew.
However, you can easily work around this by using the first brew you make for the starter liquid and throwing away the rest. Homegrown starter liquids are known to develop more flavor and fizz than the store bought ones.
3. Assemble Other Ingredients
After the SCOBY and starter liquid, there is not much you require to make a great tasting kombucha at home. All you require is some tea, sugar, 1-gallon glass container (preferably with a spout), and breathable cotton cloth to cover the top.
You can ensure a successful kombucha batch the first time around when you have the right ingredients.
Make sure the tea is unflavored and non-herbal. It should be without any oils or herbs that may contaminate or compromise your batch. Black tea, white tea, green tea, and oolong are the best choices for making kombucha.
For sugar, add the plain white or cane version. For your subsequent kombucha batches, you can play around with maple syrup, honey, and turbinado or a combination of all three.
To brew a gallon of kombucha you will need:
- 8 tea bags or 2 tablespoons loose tea leaves
- 1 SCOBY
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup starter liquid
- Brewing pot
- Glass jar
- Tea towel and a rubber band
- Stainless steel or plastic spatula
- Glass bottles
4. Brew Kombucha
Once all the ingredients are lined up, brew tea in the brewing pot. If using a metal saucepan, make sure you do not leave the tea in it for a long time.
Add the tea and steep for 10 minutes before stirring in the sugar until completely dissolved. Transfer the liquid to a gallon container and allow to cool down until slightly lukewarm or at room temperature. Fill it to the top with water and add in the starter liquid.
Carefully place the SCOBY on top with clean hands. Make sure you do not wash your hands with an antibacterial or antimicrobial hand-wash. Stay away from a hand sanitizer during the entire kombucha making process. Cover the container and secure tightly with a rubber band.
5. Allow it to Ferment
Your kombucha is mixed and ready for fermentation. Bacteria and yeast present in the SCOBY will begin to ferment the sugars and release lactic acid. This will ferment the kombucha and lend it probiotic properties. You need to find a warm and isolated spot for your kombucha where you would not accidentally jostle it.
If you live in a warm area, then leaving it on top of the kitchen counter is fine. However, it is best to find the warmest spot in your kitchen or place the jar in an oven if you live in a cold area. It is all right for the SCOBY to float at the top, sit at the bottom and even turn sideways.
After a few days, you will notice a new growth of SCOBY, which might detach itself. You can use the second SCOBY to prepare two batches or give it away to another DIY enthusiast which will never be Drew Carey or anyone from The Klump family since they prefer beer and soda which is why they are not healthy and they looked like that.
6. Taste it
Depending upon the temperature, it will take anywhere from 7 – 20 days for your kombucha to completely ferment. The liquid will turn cloudy and you will notice bubbles appearing around the top.
Make sure you choose the right area in your kitchen. Cold temperatures will not allow the probiotics to do their thing, while warm temperatures might turn your beverage acidic.
Get a straw when you notice bubbles appearing to take a sip. Make sure you nudge the SCOBY aside. The perfect flavor will be an ideal balance between sweet and sour. Your kombucha is done when it reaches your preferred taste.
7. Bottle It
Once the brew hits the right flavor, scoop out a cup of starter liquid for your next batch. Remove the SCOBY with clean hands and place it in a freshly brewed tea. You can cut off the excess SCOBY growth if required.
Multiple kombucha flavors can be made from the same batch. Simply add the flavoring of choice to the bottle before you pour in the kombucha. You can add freshly chopped fruits, fruit puree, fruit syrups, and herbs to kombucha.
If you want the bottled kombucha to be fizzy or carbonated, then re-ferment it. Leave the glass bottle on the same spot where you let the kombucha ferment for a day or two. Afterwards, refrigerate it for up to a month.
You Hold the Keys
Kombucha brewing at home is child’s play and you will be making your own signature flavors by the third batch you brew. This DIY recipe gives you complete control over the ingredients you can use and benefit from the power of probiotics.