Monday, June 1, 2015

Kombucha - Step by Step

Drinking Kombucha reminds me of a very fizzy fruit drink and when I play around with different fruit combinations the taste is divine! 

Kombucha is a fermented tea made with a kombucha starter culture (I use a scoby). The tea is prepared with boiled distilled water, sugar, fresh tea bags, and some kombucha tea from a previous batch (starter tea). 

The mixture is allowed to ferment at room temperature and can be consumed plain but I really like it after a 2nd ferment when flavoured with different fruit or juice combinations. A longer fermentation time gives a more cultured drink with a more vinegary taste - adding fruit or juice in 2nd fermentation can sweeten the Kombucha.

(3 quarts = 12.49 cups Cdn)
3 quarts distilled water (12 cups)
1 cup organic cane sugar
2 tea bags, Oolong or Jasmine
3 tea bags, Green
1 scoby with 6 ounces harvested tea

1st Ferment
  • Bring 6 cups (1/2 of the water) to a boil
  • Remove from heat, add the cup of sugar and stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve
  • Add the 5 tea bags (2 Oolong, 3 Green)
  • Steep tea bags for 15 to 30 minutes - remove and discard the tea bags - cool tea to room temperature
  • When completely cooled, mix in the remaining 6 cups (other 1/2 of the distilled water)
  • Pour the tea into a one gallon container (or divide between two 2-quart glass jars
  • No metal should touch the mushroom (scoby)
  • Add a whole scoby to the one gallon container placing the darker side down (or if using two jars, divide the scoby in half placing each half into a jar)
  • Add a large scoop of harvested tea from a previous batch (when you receive a scoby it comes in a bag or jar with harvested tea)
  • Cover each jar with a thin, clean handkerchief, white cloth, or paper towel and secure with a rubber band
  • Place in a dim, quiet ventilated space 70-90 degrees for 7-10 days
  • After a week or so, taste to see if it is to your liking (shorter time is sweeter)
  • When tasting try not to disturb the new scoby, which grows on top of the mother scoby - poking a straw down the side of the jar is an easy way
  • Separate baby scoby from mother scoby and set both aside with 6 ounces of this new harvested tea to make more Kombucha

2nd Ferment
  • After the tea is cultured I do a 2nd ferment by pouring the tea into clear glass jars and add fruit or juice to each bottle (Grolsch bottles with flip tops are my bottles of choice - I buy them from the bottle recycling depot)
  • Put a lid on and leave sitting in a warm place until fizzy (I keep mine in a camping cooler) just remember to release gases by burping the bottles each day
  • Taste and when to your liking, strain and store in the fridge
  • Work up to drinking 4 ounces or more a day - before, after, or between meals

I add Ginger slices to every batch but am always experimenting with new flavourings:
Blackberry, hibiscus
Rose Hips, hibiscus
Raspberry lemonade
Strawberry lemonade