Kombucha

You will need:

 

  • *1 Scoby
  • *1 Cup Starter Tea
  • 2 Litres Water (the best you can get)
  • 1 cup Sugar (regular White Sugar)
  • 6 Teabags (good quality simple Black Tea)
  • Large Pot, Large Glass Jar, Chux type Cloth, Rubber band, Non-metallic Spoon

 

 

Basic Instructions:

  1. Bring the Water to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Dissolve the sugar, turn off the heat and add the teabags.
  3. Let steep for 5 minutes to overnight.
  4. Remove the teabags and let cool to room temperature. This is important as Hot tea will KILL your Scoby.
  5. Pour the Starter Tea into a clean glass jar, Place the Scoby in jar and top up    with the cool freshly brewed tea.
  6. Fasten a clean cloth around the neck of the jar and place the jar on the bench out of direct sunlight.
  7. After around 5 days start tasting. Once it is to your liking it is ready to bottle.
  8. Make up another batch of tea as before (no.s 1-4)
  9. Remove the Scoby from your fermentation jar together with 1 cup of the brew. This is your starter for the next batch.
  10. Pour remaining fermented tea into your bottles and flavour if desired.
  11. Place Scoby and the Starter back into cleaned jar and top up with the newly made cool tea.
  12. And that’s it!

 

Additional Notes

  1. If you are using filtered water  there is no need to boil off the chlorine so just heat half the water, dissolve the sugar and steep the teabags. Add in the remaining water after removing the teabags – cools things down faster.
  2. Be careful about which teas you use, some are naturally anti-fungal like Earl Grey and will harm your Scoby. Also do not use Honey (also anti-fungal) or artificial sweeteners (Scoby needs proper food!) You can try a natural cane sugar however. The sugars are consumed in the fermentation process for those worried about using white sugar.
  3. Whilst fermenting the brew needs to breathe – cover with a fine weave porous cloth that will let air in but keep the bugs out.
  4. To taste without contaminating the brew – slide a straw gently down the side of the jar, place your finger over the end of the straw and withdraw straw – drop contents into your mouth or glass by lifting finger off the end of straw.
  5. The Kombucha should have a mild pleasant vinegar smell and taste a little tart.  It will possibly brew quicker in the summer and if your house is cool it will take longer. Some like it really sour, others sweeter – your tastes will change as you get used to it. Just remember the longer it is left the sourer it gets. If  it turns to vinegar it is still useful  (salad dressings, vinegar cleaner etc)
  6. At this point you can add pieces of fruit or juice for a second ferment flavouring. Rest the bottles for a further few days on the bench to make it really fizzy. Once the flavour and fizz are to your liking then store the bottles in the fridge to slow down further fermentation. You can also drink it straight away without the extra flavouring or fizz.

 

  • The original Scoby is called the Mother and the newly formed culture on top is the Baby. The Baby will be covering the jar opening and the Mother may be fused underneath or she may be floating separately or have sunk to the bottom of the jar (all are fine)
  • When the Baby is forming the top of the jar will look opaque, cloudy or jelly-like – this is normal. But if the top starts to look brown, blue, fuzzy or furry then this is mould and everything must be thrown out and sterilise your equipment well. Making sure you use enough starter tea will help prevent this.
  • You may also notice a stringy brown substance forming at the bottom of your jar or Scoby – this is a natural yeast and part of the process – if you don’t like it then it can be strained out at the bottling stage.
  • If you are new to Kombucha, as with any other ferment, Don’t have too much all at once – your body needs time to adjust to the additional beneficial bacteria.
  • There is an abundance of info and recipes on the net, once you have mastered the basics you can try different teas, sugars, fruits and flavourings. Each batch will eventually give you a new Scoby (but don’t be too eager to separate them this first few batches) once you have a few good sized ones keep one going as a ‘normal’ brew and have fun trying something different out!