Today we’re going to talk kombucha. If you are unfamiliar, kombucha is a bubbly, tangy fermented tea that has exploded in popularity among those in the health-conscious community who yearn for pre and probiotics. Kombucha’s origin story is steeped in mystery. With historical accounts from Japan, China, Russia, and Mongolia dating back hundreds to thousands of years, and touting all kinds of health benefits. While the history of kombucha and its health benefits are mysterious, one thing is not – kombucha is fizzy, effervescent, flavorful, and something you can make at home with patience and practice.
There are a few ways to start making kombucha. The first thing you need to start is a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast – otherwise known as a SCOBY or the kombucha “mother”. You can obtain a SCOBY one of three ways:
- Grow your SCOBY from scratch
- Ask a friend who brews to share
In this recipe we focus on starting your own SCOBY from scratch. This is the process I used when starting my first SCOBY. The process will take a few weeks to complete, so if you are in a hurry to start you can buy a SCOBY from places like Amazon, or ask a friend who brews kombucha if they have an extra to share. These are the same options you’ll have when it comes to obtaining 2 cups of unflavored kombucha needed for the following recipe. Unflavored Kombucha can be found in most grocery or whole foods where it is labeled “Original”.
You may also want to read one of the many resources out there. The book I found most useful when I was looking to absorb information was the Big Book of Kombucha by Hannah Crum. This book is a wealth of first-hand information, from the history and science of Kombucha to numerous, easy-to-follow instructions and recipes.
- 1 gal Wide Mouth Glass Jar Best to Buy 2.
- Measuring Cup
- 1 Thin Cloth Dish Towel
- Rubberband or String Larger size that will fit snuggly around the Wide Mouth Jar
- Glass Bowl (Optional) To steep tea in.
- Wood Spoon
- Strainer or Tea Ball (Optional) if you are using loose leaf tea
Sterilize all equipment and jar with boiling water for 5 mins.
Bring 3 cups of distilled water to a boil.
Add 1 cup of sugar to the boiled water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Add tea to the 3 cups of boiled water/sugar mix and let steep for 20 mins.
Let the sweet tea mix is room temperature.
Add the sweet tea mix to the 1-gallon jar, and dilute with the remaining 4 cups of water.
Add in 2 cups of Unflavored Kombucha
Cover the top of the jar with the tea cloth (Do not add the original jar's lid), and secure with a rubberband or string.
Set your jar in a warm, dark area of the house.
Do not move or disturb your batch too much after you have set it into a warm, dark area of your house.
The SCOBY will start to form over a few weeks. Usually 4 weeks. This will depend on the temperature of your home. You should try to maintain a temperature of 75-85 for proper SCOBY growth.
At first not much will happen, you will notice some small white flakes floating on the surface of your brew, then these will start to form a mass at the top of the jar. Once your SCOBY is around 1/4 inches thick it is ready to use in your first batch of Kombucha.
In cooler months to help maintain the temperature, you can use a Brewing & Fermentation Heat Pad
*Keep your SCOBY in the liquid until you are ready to start making Kombucha, you will also need to use some of the liquid from this starter batch.
In the next step Simple Kombucha Recipe we will focus on using your newly created SCOBY to make a batch of Kombucha.