How To Make Kombucha Tea Drink? SCOBY?
Kombucha is a probiotic drink which is produced by fermenting tea and sugar with a SCOBY. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria & Yeast. The result is a nutrient and probiotic-rich drink which seems to have many potential health benefits.
How do you make Kombucha?
When I asked this question I was given the vague instructions of brew a strong sweet tea, wait for it to cool and add it to the jar of SCOBY. Whilst this is essentially correct, there was nowhere near enough details for me to feel confident. After all, a SCOBY looks pretty gross, so it was going to take a leap of faith for me to drink the liquid under the growth anyway… I wanted very precise instructions.
I never found precise instructions on how to make a basic Kombucha. My Kombucha success has come through trial and error, fruit fly infestation and a few other mishaps. In this article, I am giving you the absolute basics of making your own Kombucha.
This is a simple recipe for a basic Kombucha. The recipe can be used with a continuous brewing method.
- 4 litres bottled spring water with no additives
- 2 1/2 TBS organic black tea or green tea
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 cups starter liquid with SCOBY
Pour one litre of water into a pot and heat on the hotplate until it boils.
Add the tea and sugar to the boiled water and allow it to steep for 5 minutes.
Strain the tea and add the remaining 3 litres to the pot. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature.
Place the SCOBY and starter liquid in your fermenting vessel.
Pour the lukewarm tea over the SCOBY.
Cover the fermenting vessel with the supplied lid and a cloth. (Prevents fruit flies and sunlight)
After 4 days start testing your Kombucha via the tap. When the flavour has soured to your liking the brew is ready for bottling or a second ferment.
Bottle and refrigerate until required.
Leave 500mls of starter liquid and the SCOBY in the fermenting vessel for your next batch. Do not refrigerate the fermenting vessel or SCOBY.
Make sure to use filtered non-chlorinated water.
The recipe above is for the basic kombucha ferment. It will produce a tasty Kombucha which makes a nice drink, or it can be used as a blank slate for a secondary ferment. Doing a secondary ferment is how you add additional flavours and some bubbles. The secondary ferment isn’t necessary but most commercially prepared Kombucha are sold with additional flavours. I have a detailed article on taking your Kombucha tea to the secondary ferment stage.
Personally, I like to drink both the first and secondary ferments so I have both in the fridge at any given time.
What can go wrong with your Kombucha? My first kombucha was a disaster! I just used a large jar covered in cheesecloth and failed miserably. I killed the SCOBY and had a fruit fly infestation. However, these mistakes taught me how important having a good set is to make Kombucha successfully! This is the exact setup I use to make Kombucha brew.
Tips and Hints to Make Kombucha
- Go for a crock with a tap so that you can test the fermentation as it progresses without disturbing the SCOBY on top.
- Make sure the tap is removable for cleaning. This is very important as ooglies (baby SCOBY) can form in the tap and stop the flow of liquid. Cleaning is also essential for hygiene. The kit above has a removable tap.
- Use bottled spring water with no chlorine. Chlorine kills bacteria, even our good bacteria.
- Use plain organic black or green tea without flavourings.
- Use white sugar, not brown sugar or honey (honey has its own good bacteria).
- Place an additional cloth over the vessel as the second protection against fruit flies. (don’t use cheesecloth, the fruit flies can find their way in!)
- Don’t move the fermentation crock once you add the tea. The SCOBY is alive and doesn’t like to be moved too much.
- Cover the crock if it’s in direct sunlight as sunlight kills bacteria.
If your Kombucha is taking more than a week to sour or the SCOBY is slow to grow it may need additional heat. The ferment needs to be kept at a temperature between 24 -29 degrees Celsius (75 -85 F). A heat mat may be necessary for winter. If you’re worried about temperature control a “stick on” thermometer can be handy.
It may look like a bit of a process, but once you get set up it’s simple to make Kombucha in your own home. Best of all, it’s as cheap to make, as a cup of tea. No more expensive purchased Kombucha and you know your Booch is alive and feeding your body valuable probiotics.
I prefer homemade Booch as I worry when I buy commercially prepared Kombucha that it will be inferior to my homemade product. I wonder if the process of bottling, transporting, storing and selling commercially produced Kombucha will result in a decline of valuable bacteria and nutrients.
What do you think? Do you make your own Booch? Will you give it a go? Do you have any questions for me? I would love to hear all about your experiences.
P.S I got my complete kit at Nourish Me Organics which included a luscious SCOBY 🙂
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