Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Kombucha Making - Makers, Bakers and Fermenters Society

My friend Kombucha Mama (not her real name) came over yesterday to show me how to make kombucha, which is basically fermented tea. Now kombucha is definitely a rather trendy drink (judging by the racks of it at Whole Foods and similar places) and I make no claim as the viability of all the health benefits it's purported to posses but D and J both love it and I'm happy to make almost anything the menfolk like that much. Almost. If J starts walking on water or glowing, I'm cutting back. Also, kombucha is seriously fun to say.

I was intimidated at the beginning because it seems to be....involved? Time consuming? Complicated? It's actually none of those things. It's super simple though it helps if you have a friend who is already into making kombucha and who doesn't mind giving you a SCOBY (thanks KM!)


Seed mat for keeping a constant heat (available at Amazon)
A gallon glass jar (Mine is actually 3 liters)
A SCOBY (from a friend who makes kombucha) if you don't have a friend (who makes kombucha, I'm sure you have a friend), you can order a SCOBY here
2 qt + of organic kombucha, either from your friend or purchased (this will help keep the kombucha at the right PH)
Green tea, I used Eden brands Sencha
Black tea, I used Eden brands Kukicha
Organic non-GMO Sugar
Glass quart jar to pour the kombucha into when it's done fermenting

  • Boil 1/2 gallon of water to release the chlorine
  • While the water is hot, make a 'feeder tea' by steeping 1 t each of black and green tea (use a tea ball or unbleached tea bags) and 1/2 cup sugar. Let steep until the tea cools to around 80-90 degrees (comfortable to put your hand into it).
  • When the starter tea is at the right temp. Fill the gallon jar at least half full with kombucha and add your SCOBY. Fill the rest of the jar with the starter tea leaving about three fingers of breathing room.
Kombucha Mama fishing out the SCOBY from her batch

  • Cover jar with a clean cloth and put a rubber band around the top.

  • Place in a warm dark spot on top of the seed mat
  • You can start checking your kombucha after 3 days.*
  • Fermentation will depend on the strength of the SCOBY and the temperature the kombucha is kept at (warmer = faster fermentation) What you're looking for is the typical effervescence and sour/vinegar flavor of kombucha. You shouldn't taste the sweet tea at all. When the kombucha has hit the flavor strength that you like, pour half of it off into your glass quart jar. Brew another batch of feeder tea and start all over again.
  • If you want to make fruit flavored kombucha, add fruit juice or a couple of strawberries, some raspberries, blackberries or whatever you like into the container you siphoned off the kombucha to drink into. Do NOT put fruit into the 'mother' kombucha. Leave room at the top of the container for the 'fizz', at least a few fingers.
*A straw is a good tool for this.

**Do not use metal utensils when making kombucha, plastic or wood are ok.

*** Food Renegade has a TON of information on brewing kombucha
The teas I used - I purchased them at a local health food store

The SCOBY - yes, it looks like a science experiment gone very wrong

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