The whole process will take a few weeks but once you get started you can always have one batch brewing so that by the time the batch in the fridge is finished, the next batch is ready. Kombucha tea is an easy to make beverage full of healthy bacteria that is good for the microbiome of your gut! This is a simple recipe if you want to try making your own.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)
- 1 cup of kombucha (from a previous batch)
- About 2 litres of fresh filtered water
- 5 organic tea bags (green or black)
- 125 grams of white sugar
- 2 litre sized jar
- Cheesecloth (or fine mesh cloth) and rubber band for the top of the jar
- 2 x 1 litre glass bottles with lids
- Rubber band
- Wire strainer
- Large bowl
The most important ingredient is the SCOBY itself, this is what brews the tea and creates the healthy bacteria. You can get one from a friend, search online for someone that will send one to you or enquire at a local health food shop and see if they have one.
I’m holding a one week old SCOBY in my hand below, the old SCOBY from a previous few batches has sunk to the bottom of the jar and a new one has begun to form on top. In another week or so this new one will be much thicker and both can be used to start fresh batches.
- Boil the fresh filtered water
- Ensure that all of the equipment is clean by washing it in hot soapy water and drying thoroughly with a clean tea towel
- Add the white sugar to the 2 litre jar, then gently pour in the water, allowing a 3 inch/7.5 cm gap at the top of the jar
- Dunk the tea bags in and use a rubber band to secure them to the top of the jar to allow them to hang into the water
- After 15 minutes or so, take the tea bags out and discard
- Allow the tea to cool to room temperature (this will take a few hours, sometimes half a day). It’s important that the tea is cold when you complete the next step otherwise the heat will kill the SCBOY
- Once cold, add the cup of a previous batch of kombucha (or use a purchased bottle but ensure that it has not been pasteurised and that you can see the cloudy remnants of the SCOBY)
- Then gently place the SCOBY in the jar
- Secure the cheesecloth on top of the jar with the rubber band
- Now store the jar in a safe, cool place away from direct light where it can breathe (we keep ours on top of the fridge)
Check the kombucha after a week. If there is mould on the SCOBY throw the whole lot out, don’t drink it or keep the SCOBY and throughly wash the jar. If you use clean equipment this may never happen, I’ve been making it continuously for almost two years and never had a bad batch.
Taste the kombucha by gently pushing aside the SCOBY and scooping out a little of the liquid with a clean spoon. How much longer you leave it will depend on your taste preference and the weather. In summer it may only take 1-2 weeks to brew, but in winter is may take 2-3 weeks. If it is sweet, leave it for another few days or a week. If it is slightly sour and a little vinegary it is ready.
- With clean hands, lift the SCOBY out of the jar and place it into a clean bowl
- Place a strainer over or in the large bowl and pour the liquid into the bowl through the strainer to catch any of the SCOBY remnants
- Remove the strainer and place the funnel in one of the 1 litre bottles
- Using a ladle, pour the liquid into the bottle and once full, fill the second one
- Now you can add the flavouring of your choice, here are a few basic flavours:
- Blueberries, raspberries, sliced strawberries
- Diced orange or apple
- Thinly sliced ginger
- Put the lid or stopper on the bottles and leave them on the kitchen bench for 24-72 hours, this will infuse the flavour, continue the brewing process and add a little fizz
- Once they’re done, place them in the fridge and they are ready to drink once cold
- Don’t worry if there is no fizz, the beneficial bacteria is still there and you could mix a little with soda or mineral water if you needed fizz
Kombucha isn’t for everyone and it’s always best to start with a small amount and build yourself up to one cup per day.
Try a tablespoon amount and see how you feel over the next 24 hours. If you experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea or an allergic reaction then stop. Consider seeing a GP, nutritionist or naturopath to investigate why this may have occurred.
If you have any questions or comments let me know below and happy brewing!