Hi there! I am Meladee, full time stay at home mom, and former restaurant manager. I have my Bachelors of Science from USC in Hospitality Management. While at USC most of my focus was on Catering Management. That being said I love finding new recipes to follow especially when they have so many health benefits as Kombucha does.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is fermented tea. Now don’t worry you aren’t fermenting it into alcohol but it falls somewhere in between vinegar and alcohol when you infuse it with various fruits, veggies and herbs it turns into a yummy probiotic drink. I found out about Kombucha because I had been following research on infant gut biomes. Researchers are learning more and more how important a healthy gut can be to the whole body. I learned that a healthy gut not only keeps you from having tummy aches but it can help with depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorders. The list goes on and on. To learn more about probiotics, prebiotics and gut health, check out Kristen’s last blog here!
One day, a mom on a holistic Facebook group I’m part of posted that she had extra SCOBYS for Kombucha with a picture. I was 1) really grossed out what is this alien life form on top of her tea, 2) really interested. I messaged her that I was interested in taking one off of her hands. That very same night I started reading “The Big Book of Kombucha: Brewing, Flavoring, and Enjoying the Health Benefits of Fermented Tea” by Hannah Crum http://a.co/ddjTwyj < here’s the link if you are interested. (Side note: I found it on the hoopla app for free with my local library.)
I think I fall somewhere between a beginners level and intermediate level Kombucha brewer. I strongly recommend reading the book I linked it has a ton of fantastic recipes. I tried a few this past summer when fruit was in season. Alright so here’s what you have been waiting for this is how I brew my Kombucha.
First things first what do you need to brew?
- 1 gallon glass Jar
- White Vinegar (optional)
- Organic black tea
- Starter tea
Ok let me break down some details about each item.
- The one gallon glass jar needs to be lead free and metal free. So you don’t want to use an old giant mason jar. If it has a spout you don’t want it to have a metal spring inside. This will affect the taste of your tea and you will have to empty the spout and drain it for a few seconds to get all of the contaminated tea out.
- I read somewhere to slosh around vinegar in your jar after cleaning it. You want to make sure all of the soap is gone and that there is no bacteria because it can mess up your brew. Clean your hands with it too. You don’t want to contaminate your SCOBY with dirty hands.
- Water is water right? Wrong. I was told by a friend to use filtered non chlorinated water. Ideally you would want to get your water out of a Berkey water filter (http://a.co/4H7xVvg). I I don’t have one of those she said I could also let my filtered water from the fridge sit out on the counter for a day so the chlorine could evaporate out. I just ended up buying distilled water. It is considered dead water and that it isn’t the preferred method but it was the easiest for me.
- Organic Black tea. I got mine from Whole foods. I looked for organic because I didn’t want any chemicals from insecticides interfering with my brew.
- You can use any sort of sugar that you want. I prefer to use organic pure cane sugar in my home so that is what I used.
- SCOBY- What is a SCOBY? Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. Yum, right? This turns your tea into Kombucha. If you’ve ever had homemade beer you might have had a tiny bit of yeast ball up in the bottom of the bottle. This acts in the very same way. It is what is fermenting the tea.
- I found one of these from a friend giving them away. Now if you aren’t a part of a holistic community you can buy them from various places. But I would first try asking around. You would be amazed at how many people brew their own Kombucha. This will also give you some one to help you along the way.
- Starter tea. The recipe that I followed said you needed at least 1 cup per 8 cups of freshly brewed tea. But I say use as much as can get your hands on.
- Boil water 8 cups of water
- Add 8 small tea bags
- Let steep for a few minutes until it is a nice dark brown color
- Add ½ cup of sugar for 8 cups of tea
- Let tea cool down to room temperature. (this is very important! You can kill your SCOBY if the tea is too hot.)
- Add Tea to your SCOBY and Starter tea. Put a cloth over the top of your jar secure it with a rubber band or string or something. Put it in a dark cabinet. Ideally you want the temperature in the room to be warmer than 70ish degrees. Our house is usually around 71-73 degrees and my SCOBY’s grow so fast and the tea doesn’t take more than a week to brew. I hide mine in my pantry cabinet.
- Try your tea after a few days you want the tea to be tart and not sweet anymore. It may take a week maybe longer depending on how big your SCOBY is and how much starter tea you had. Be patient.
- Ok so now your tea is technically done. You can bottle it with some of your favorite fruits for flavorings this is called a 2nd ferment, or you can drink it as is.
If you decide to bottle your Kombucha so it will get fizzy please be careful and burp your bottles daily. Keeping them in the fridge will slow down this process. Your Kombucha can gain a lot of pressure when bottled with a lid so please treat it like a Champagne bottle. You can also use plastic bottles so you will feel when the bottle is solid that it has a lot of stored gas that needs to be released. I personally use the used water gallon that I got the water from now. I don’t like my Kombucha super fizzy. The gallon jug doesn’t have the tightest of seals on the top so it’s less likely to explode on me.
Recently I have been flavoring my Kombucha with homemade cranberry sauce and some ginger. It makes for a nice holiday blend. I hope you enjoyed this blog and it shows you how easy brewing Kombucha can be. Have fun with your brew! Please post your favorite 2nd ferment recipes in the comments. Cheers!