October 22, 2013
Back in July, I decided to grow my own kombucha SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) from a bottle of raw, organic kombucha (method here), and the experiment turned out well. After just one month, I had a scoby that was mature enough to brew a whole gallon-sized batch of kombucha, which was ready to drink after only two weeks in the pantry.
But there was a problem.
My home-brewed kombucha was, for lack of a better word, puckery. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t something I’d want to drink every day, either, so I went through my process to see if there was anything I could change.
What I found was that most of the recipes I’ve encountered on the internet for homemade kombucha advise that you brew your tea for at least an hour, but for me, an hour is much too long. It brings out unpleasant flavors in the tea that linger long after the scoby has had time to work its magic. So, to see if I could improve the outcome, I decided to brew my tea bags for only 15-20 minutes instead. And voila, my next batch of kombucha was perfect.
I’m still new to the business of brewing my own kombucha, but I thought it’d be fun to share what’s working for me so far in my process, and to open the discussion for those of you who are interested. Now that I’ve got my basic recipe down, I think it’d be fun to add some extra flavor to the mix. Some ginger, perhaps, or pure fruit juices.
Basic Process for Making 1 Gallon-Sized Jar of Kombucha
1. Bring 3 ¾ quarts of water to a boil. Remove from heat, and add 1 cup sugar. Stir to dissolve.
2. Add 5 standard sized bags of black tea (caffeinated), and brew for 15-20 minutes. Remove tea bags, and allow the liquid to cool to room temperature. Pour in a gallon sized GLASS jar with a wide mouth.
3. Add SCOBY and ½ cup reserve kombucha liquid. Cover with cloth and secure with rubber band. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 1-3 weeks, checking the flavor every couple of days after the first week has passed.
4. Once you’re satisfied with the flavor, strain the kombucha liquid minus 1/2 cup into a bottle and store in the refrigerator for drinking. Repeat the process for more kombucha.
Also, since you now have two SCOBYs, you can either give your extra scoby away, or you can start up another jar for double the amount.
A few important notes about making your own kombucha:
-Don’t let metal come in contact with your SCOBY. It will degrade the culture.
-Use white sugar or raw cane sugar only to ensure proper pH.
-If your SCOBY shows any signs of mold, discard and start over.
-You can substitute black tea for any other tea that contains caffeine, such as green tea or oolong tea.
-Once you’ve strained your kombucha into a bottle for refrigeration, you can add ginger, fruit, or fruit juices to flavor the beverage.