Obviously with my recent post for Homemade Bacon along with this post being stringed together so closely I have been quite in the curing/fermenting mood. I feel like I am kind of finally breaking through that surface of cooking that’s make it even more interesting and attractive rather than mundane or boring. It’s amazing the simplicity behind what you have to do versus the complex order of events that happen while you wait for whatever you’re fermenting or curing.
Kombucha is a fermented tea that is typically comprised of sugared tea that has an almost magical globular disc called a Scoby introduced to it. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, which is exactly what it is. Over time, this colony of good bacteria eats the sugar inside of the tea and transforms the liquid into the fizzy elixir known as Kombucha.
I have constantly been perplexed by kombucha with it’s odd and unique yet addicting flavor. It’s tart and semi-sweet fiziness is always satisfying and awakening. As soon as the book Fermented was released I knew it was finally my turn to take a shot at it. Lucky for me I had Jill as my coach because I was being incredibly stubborn as I made it. My mom got me all worked up thinking that I was going to grow some sort of poisonous sludge that would cause deadly convulsions on the floor, because she’s a mom, and that’s what mom’s do. As it turns out, making Kombucha is incredibly easy; dare I say, almost foolproof.
Now the difficult part of making this really is simply obtaining a SCOBY. There are many ways to get one like buying it online or grabbing one from a friend that brews it themselves. I got mine from my friend Lynsey from Yonder Way Farm. I’m lucky to be able to have friends willing to give me SCOBY’s for my instant gratification because to be flat out honest I just didn’t want to wait for one to come in the mail. Now I just need to figure out what to do with these 3 SCOBY along with another one growing on top of them in their SCOBY hotel.
- 11 black tea bags
- 1½ gallons water
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1½ cups starter tea
- 1-2 SCOBY (I used 2 small SCOBY's)
- Pour all but 2 cups of the water into a 1-1/2 - 2 gallon jar or glass vessel. Heat the 2 cups of the water you didn't add to a light boil then add the tea bags and let steep for 4 minutes then remove the teabags and squeeze out excess water. While the tea is still hot pour in sugar and dissolve completely then allow the tea to cool completely.
- Once the tea is completely cool and room temperature pour the tea into the glass vessel along with the rest of the water. Add the SCOBY then the starter tea.
- Cover the vessel with a dish towel or coffee filters and secure it with butcher string or rubber bands. (This is super important and will keep flies and other foreign objects out of your brew.)
- Place your vessel in a well ventilated, warm, dry room that is not dark because light encourages the SCOBY to eat the sugar. I left mine on the counter in my kitchen.
- Allow your kombucha ferment there undisturbed for at least 10 days and check for taste, depending on how sweet you like it. The longer you ferment the less sweet it will become and the less sugar it will have. I let mine ferment for a total of 21 days.
- Once you have done that your Kombucha is done but optionally you can bottle it for a second ferment to make it even more fizzy and delicious, this is also where you can add flavors. If you want to add flavors simply add some fruit additions such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries along with some other additions such as ginger, lemon/lime juice, herbs. The sky is the limit for flavors so be spontaneous. Add the fruit or flavorings to flip top bottles then pour over the Kombucha and fill it up just about 1½ inches from the top and close the tops and let it sit on the counter for 4-5 more days. Refrigerate the bottles until cold then open and enjoy!
Note about starter tea:Starter tea is any leftover Kombucha from a previous ferment or an unflavored Kombucha bought from the store. I used GT's Enlightened Original Kombucha.
Flavor ideas: I did about 4 different flavors. Blackberry, Ginger, and Thyme. Blueberry Rosemary Lemon. Strawberry. Blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, lemon, ginger. Lastly Raspberry, lime, ginger.