Food + Drink

How To: Brew Your Own Kombucha

By Natasha Van Der Laan - 23 May 2016

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Kombucha is having a moment. Kom-what-cha you say? Good question! It’s basically old, fermented tea. But don’t let that put you off. It’s actually really, really tasty (promise) and uber good for ya.

The tea-based drink is made through a fermentation process involving a natural culture, which results in a delish beverage that is jam-packed with all the good stuff. We’re talking probiotics, good bacteria and enzymes. Side effects include increased energy, improvement to digestion and boosted immunity—hurrah!

The slightly sweet, subtly tart, fizzy tea has been around for centuries but has recently became #ontrend. You’ll find ‘booch’ gracing the shelves of your local health food store, cafes and markets, but, should you wish to BYO—that’s brew your own—here’s how.

You will need

  • 1 cup organic sugar (we used Trade Aid organic cane sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons loose leaf tea (we used Trade Aid black loose tea) or 8 tea bags
  • A kombucha mother, also called a scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)
  • 250ml of starter kombucha tea
  • 3-4 litre glass vessel with a tap located near the bottom (make sure the tap isn’t made from metal—this can react negatively and damage the cultures)
  • 3x 1 litre sealable glass bottles

Instructions

Brew a pot of tea

Fill a clean pot with three litres of water and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and add one cup of sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Place the tea or tea bags in the sugar water and allow to seep until the water has cooled. If using a metal tea ball, ensure it is removed before adding the scoby and starter tea.

Add kombucha starter

Remove the tea bags or completely strain the loose tea leaves from the liquid. Transfer the cold brew into the glass jar. Ensure the jar is clean by washing it well with very hot water and rinsing thoroughly. Add the starter tea from a pervious batch to the liquid.

Add mother scoby

Gently put the scoby into the tea. Cover the top of the jar with a muslin cloth or cotton tea towel and secure with a rubber band.

Ferment for 7 to 10 days

Place the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed for 7 to 10 days. Your scoby may form a younger layer on top. This can be used to start another brew or be shared with a friend.

Test it out

The longer the kombucha ferments, the less sweet and more tart it will taste. When the tea starts to smell like vinegar you can sample your batch by pouring a small cup. If it tastes sweet, it probably needs more time for the culture to consume the sugar.

Bottle it up

Once you are happy with the taste of your kombucha, it is ready to bottle. Pour the kombucha into the glass bottles. Retain the scoby and about a cup of liquid to use as a starter tea for the next batch.

Secondary ferment

Store your bottled kombucha at room temperature, out of direct sunlight for 2 to 5 days to carbonate. Refrigerate to stop the fermentation and carbonation process. Drink within six weeks.

Do it again (and again and again and again!)

Use your scoby to repeat the process and brew another batch. You can add flavours to your subsequent batches. Try experimenting with seasonal fruit, ginger, spices and herbs.

Bit of a wizz in the kitchen? Check out 3 Easy Pickle Recipes To Make At Home.

Image credit: The Healthy Chew

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