One of the fermented drinks that we enjoy is Kombucha Tea. This tea starts off with a kombucha mushroom or often called a scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), black tea or a mixture of black and green tea that is sweetened with sugar. (Don’t worry because your scoby is a living thing and feeds off the sugar, eating it up). Check out the recipe for making it and if you need a scoby I’ll have some more available next week.
Instructions for making/using Kombucha
Ingredients and equipment needed:
1 gallon stainless steel or glass cooking pot for boiling water
1 gallon glass jar
Plastic or wooden utensil for stirring & handling the culture
Cloth (can use t-shirt) or cheesecloth and rubber bands
6-8 tea bags
1 ½ to 2 cups sugar
Bring water to a rolling boil. Add tea bags. Allow to brew for 12 minutes. Pour brewed tea into gallon jar. Add sugar and stir. Allow to cool to room temperature (excessive heat can kill the culture). After cooling add 1 culture & the starter tea that came with the culture. The culture may float or it may sink. It doesn’t matter. Cover the jar and secure it with a rubber band to keep insects out. Fruit flies tend to like it. Place the jar of tea in a warm area (at least 70 degrees). Allow it to stand undisturbed for 7 days. After about 4 days you should see a whitish film starting to form across the top of the tea. This is another kombucha culture starting to form.
After 7 days taste and if you don’t taste the sugary flavor you can carefully remove the cultures (the original one that put in and also the new smaller baby culture which you may have to separate from the mother or original culture). If it is still really sweet let it sit a few more days. Place the cultures in some of the tea that you have made and store them in the refrigerator for your next batch. Put your newly made kombucha tea in the refrigerator to chill.
Do a second fermentation if you want to make your tea fizzy: After removing scoby pour into a capped bottle and add organic fruit juice or fruit. I prefer to add the fruit juice (about 2-3 tablespoons per 16 ounce bottle. This can be adjusted for your taste). Place on counter for 2-3 days. You should start to see some fizzy. Taste and if you like it put in refrigerator to drink.
Always take care to keep everything very sanitary or your kombucha can become contaminated.
Always use glass jars and plastic or wooden spoons when in contact with the culture. The kombucha does not react well with metal. As always it is important to drink lots of water. The kombucha tea can be a detoxifier and the water will help to cleanse your system. Enjoy!
More later about making Continuous Kombucha for those that really enjoy it.