What Is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea that's naturally effervescent with Living Probiotics, Amino Acids, Polyphenol, and Active Enzymes. In short its great for your body and specifically gut health. It is also very easy to make all you need is a Scoby, your favorite tea, sugar and a little starter. Here is my basic recipe that works great.
1 Gallon Batch
2 T or 8 tea bags (any tea that you would like)
1 C. Sugar
13-14 C. Water
2 C. Starter (Kombucha from your last batch or Vinegar)
1. Combine hot water and sugar in a glass jar and stir until dissolved. Add in your tea and steep in water for 10-15 minutes.
2. Remove the tea and completely strain it. Cool the liquid down to 68-85 degrees(room temperature).
3. Add your Scoby and starter liquid and cover with a towel or coffee filter secured with a rubber band or loose lid.
4. Allow the Scoby to do its work and ferment undisturbed at 65-85 degrees(room temperature) out of direct sunlight for 7-30 days. Taste every week to see when it reaches your desired flavor. The longer it sits the more of a vinegar taste it will have.
5. Pour off the Kombucha from the top of the jar and leave enough liquid and the Scoby in the jar for your next batch.
6. Enjoy! You can store it on the counter or refrigerate it.
Second Fermentation, Adding Flavor:
You can also continue with your Kombucha and do a second fermentation process. For more fizzy carbonation you can add them to Grolseh style bottles and let them sit for another two weeks or so burping the bottles every day to release a little of the pressure. The second fermentation period allows the flavors to mellow and achieve a deeper and more complex profile.
You can also continue to change the flavor of your Kombucha. You can brew with different teas, adjust the time that you let it initially ferment and you can also add flavors after the first fermentation and the Scoby has been removed.
You can add fresh, frozen or dried fruit starting with 10-30% fruit and 70-90% Kombucha and let it sit for up to a second two week fermentation. You can add any type of juice 10-20% juice to 80-90% Kombucha.
You can also add herbs of any variety you would like and the strength will vary based on the herbs. You can also use flavor extracts such as almond or vanilla starting with 1/4 t. per cup of kombucha.
With all of these you will want to strain your kombucha at the end to remove any solids and then refrigerate or leave at room temperature and Enjoy.
Congratulations!!! Your Kombucha Scoby is happy and thriving, it is producing a new Scoby baby every time you brew a batch. But now what do you do with it? Well you have a few options. The first is to leave it with the original mother and let it continue to grow. This will eventually lead to a nice thick healthy scoby and as I have found means that it will work faster for you and naturally create more carbonation. Though you will reach a point where you have too many.
You can start setting up starter kits for friends and giving them away as well. Everyone always likes a healthy gift especially looking into the New Year and all of the resolutions to come.
This also gives you a little freedom to play and experiment more with other flavors, sweeteners and teas without fear of killing your original mother and having to start all over again. So what flavors have you wanted to try out? Go for it, play with the new babies, though they will take a little longer as they are not quite mature enough yet but they will continue to grow for you.
Another great option is to start a Scoby Hotel. It is a great way to store the scoby's that you are not using at the moment and gives you a back up should your mother or original scoby ever die. Which can happen from time to time.
Step 1: Find a container for your hotel; It needs to be big enough to contain your scoby's and enough liquid to keep them covered. Easy to look through so you can check on things from time to time and easy to seal.
Step 2: Keep enough liquid from your last batch of Kombucha to cover the scoby or scoby's that you are adding to your hotel.
Step 3: Add a few inches of liquid and then add your scoby and cover with the remainder of the liquid. Then close the jar and store in a dark, cool place such as the pantry or cupboard that you have been using to brew your Kombucha.
Step 4: Let it be, check on it every so often to make sure more liquid does not need to be added. You can add more scoby's as need be and can even let younger scoby's mature in the hotel.
Enjoy and keep brewing.