Kombucha is a crispy and fresh-tasting light drink, supplying you with health benefits, ranging from probiotics to prolonged lifespan and everything in between. Read more about the benefits of kombucha-drinking here. Making kombucha at home is not hard and not scary: it just takes attention to the steps of the process at first and then your second batch becomes your second nature.
For kombucha you need tea, brown sugar and kombucha scoby. You need a large glass jar, too. Kombucha scoby “eats” the sugar in the tea and ferments your drink over time. A scoby looks like a hard gelatinous circle. Cultures for Health website sells scobys and glass jars, too.
Tea for Your kombucha:
I love experimenting with different teas for our kombucha. Tazo’s Passion Tea is my favorite, but I also love green tea with jasmine. Black and green teas with sugar are the easiest and most reliable elements for the scoby to ferment into kombucha, but once your scoby is going strong after a few batches, you can try other kinds of tea and other sweeteners. Rooibos tea, white tea, oolong tea, or a even mix of these make a good kombucha. Herbal teas are good as long as you add a few bags of black or green tea in the mix to make sure the scoby stays alive. Avoid any teas that contain oils, like earl grey or flavored teas. Maple tea, raw honey, date sugar can also be sometimes used instead of brown sugar.
*Kombucha contains a little bit of alcohol (usually no more than 1%) as a by-product of the fermentation process.
*Avoid prolonged contact between kombucha and metal both during and after brewing. This can affect the flavor of your kombucha and weaken the scoby over time.
* For your first ever batch of kombucha, 2 cups of kombucha liquid can be store-bought kombucha. I used nothing and it still worked.
If you’ll be away for 3 weeks or less, just make a fresh batch and leave it to ferment. It will likely be too sour to drink by the time you get back, but the scoby will be fine. For longer breaks, store the scoby in a fresh batch of the tea with starter tea in the fridge. Change the tea for a fresh batch every 4 to 6 weeks.
You can optionally do a second round of fermentation on your ready kombucha and add fruit, vegetables, juice, herbs or spices of your choice to the ready kombucha drink. Leave about a half inch of room at the top of each bottle. Leave the bottle open and cover with a towel or close it tightly with a lid and shake. Leave for at room temperature for about 1-3 days, taste and if you like it, strain and refrigerate to stop fermentation, and then consume your kombucha within a month.
It’s not unusual for the scoby to float at the top, bottom, or sideways. A new scoby should start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days. It usually attaches to the old scoby.
You may see brown stringy bits floating beneath the scoby or at the bottom. You may see and bubbles. These are signs of healthy fermentation.
If your scoby develops a hole, bumps, dried patches, darker brown patches, or clear jelly-like patches, it is still fine to use.
If your kombucha starts to smell cheesy, rotten, or unpleasant, this is a sign that something is wrong. If you see no signs of mold on the scoby, discard the liquid and begin again. If you do see any signs of mold, discard both the scoby and the liquid. If the scoby develops mold, it is has become infected.
If the scoby becomes black, that is a sign that it has passed its lifespan. Throw it out.
Peel off the bottom (oldest) layer every few batches to maintain the health of the scoby. This layer can be discarded, composted, used to start a new, different-tasting batch of kombucha, or given to a friend.