Awhile back I did a post about water kefir, now I am going to share with you about kombucha. Kombucha is another fermented drink that is full of probiotics. It is a little stronger flavored than water kefir, but over time I have come to prefer it. To buy kombucha at the grocery store is fairly expensive but it is actually easy to make yourself and it costs only pennies!
My kombucha scoby and my water kefir grains originally came from a neighbor at the same time. Since then I neglected them both and they died. So, I started fresh with a new scoby from another friend. The kefir grains actually look kind of pretty, like little transparent crystals but the scoby looks kind of like a slimy brown mushroom. Which is in fact why it is sometimes called one even though it is not. A SCOBY is a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast that is used to ferment sweetened tea and turn it into kombucha. It is very easy to make, although it might take some experimenting to get it just the way you like it. I usually make a half gallon at a time but you can easily double the recipe for a larger batch.
Ingredients for one half gallon of kombucha:
- 1 Kombucha scoby
- 1/2 cup of Kombucha tea
- 4 plain black tea bags
- 3/4 cup organic sugar
- fruit for flavoring
Helpful equipment for making kombucha:
- 1 gallon glass jar
- quart jars
- airtight glass bottles
Now on to how to actually make your kombucha.
Step 1: Place tea bags and sugar in a 4 cup measuring cup, add boiling water. Stir to dissolve sugar and allow to cool completely. Add to gallon jar along with scoby, four more cups of cool water and ½ cup of kombucha from a previous batch. Cover with cheesecloth and secure with a rubberband. Allow to sit at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 5 – 10 days. I prefer mine to sit for about seven days. I like the flavor the best after that length of time and it also makes it easy to remember which day I need to do something with it and start my next batch.
Step 2: Strain your kombucha into some quart canning jars, leaving a little room at the top. Now is the fun part; deciding how to flavor it! I commonly have frozen berries and fruit in my freezer and have found that this is the easiest way to flavor my kombucha. I simply take a handful of the frozen fruit and add it to each jar. Some of my favorites are raspberries, cherries, and strawberries. Screw the lids on each jar tightly and let it sit on the counter overnight.
Step 3: Finally, strain the kombucha one last time into your final bottles. I have used both the fancy flip top bottles and re-used bottles that kombucha from the store came in with screw on lids. Both work fine, but you will consistently get more fizz with the flip top bottles. Leave it out on the counter for 1 more day, then refrigerate to chill.
A few flavor ideas:
- Cherry Vanilla- add a handful of frozen sweet cherries and a dash of vanilla extract
- Ginger Orange – add a few slices of orange, a squeeze of orange juice, and some grated fresh ginger
- Strawberry Lime – add frozen strawberries, a squeeze of lime juice, and a dash of lime zest
- Lemon-Blueberry- heat a handful of frozen blueberries in a saucepan to make the juices run, cool. Add to kombucha with a few slices of lemon.
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial! Leave a comment below and tell me if you like kobucha. Have you ever made it yourself? And was it successful?