I would like to tell you how I make Kombucha tea. I would not say that I am an expert in kombucha making but I've made a few rounds already and it has all turned out alright so I'll share my method with you.
What is kombucha?
First things first, what in the world is kombucha? I was first introduced to kombucha when I stayed with an Air BnB host in Wellington who was into organic whole foods, yoga and healthy living, all the stuff I'm keen on too.
Kombucha is simply fermented sugary tea. The fermentation is from some sort of bacteria or yeast called SCOBY or "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast". The scoby eats the sugar in the tea, transforming it into a fizzy, refreshing and very healthy drink full of probiotic and other goodness that your intestines will love. The closest way to describe the taste is like apple cider, without the alcoholic effects.
What is scoby?
To make kombucha tea, you have to get hold of some scoby for yourself. The easiest way is to ask your friends who are into health foods. I'm sure you will find someone into fermentation in the group. If you really can't find any scoby, you can make your own scoby. I have never tried so can't help you there.
Scobys are rubbery, slippery things with brown trails hanging from it. It looks kind of disgusting really 🙂 Think of it as the 'mother alien' making 'alien scoby babies' which are the layers under it. Once you found someone who has scoby, ask them to give you a layer of scoby and you are on your way!
Preparing the tea
I use 2 jars for the kombucha making process. Use glass jars as scobies don't like metal. Try the second hand shops for a cheaper option or jars can be purchased at a knick knack shop.
Put around 10 tea bags of black tea into a large jar. My jar is about a foot and a half tall. I add 2 extra bags of green tea just for fun. The scoby needs the caffeine to feed so using pure green tea won't do. Add in roughly 7 table spoons of brown sugar. For my smaller jar, I use 7 bags of black tea, 2 bags of green tea and roughly 5 table spoons of brown sugar. It doesn't matter really how many bags of tea or sugar you add. The scoby will eat whatever you put in.
Add in boiling water and leave it to brew.
Adding the scoby
Once the tea has cooled (you don't want to kill your scoby in hot tea), add in the mixture the scoby was living in, which is the old kombucha. This neutralises the acidity of the tea to provide a better environment for the scoby. It doesn't matter how much scoby you have as it would grow according to the food you feed it.
I have recently experimented with adding in a few strawberries and raspberries for added flavour. Totally up to you.
Cover your jars with a breathable cloth, date the jar and let the scoby work its magic for 7 - 10 days.
Bottling your Kombucha
Let your kombucha brew for around 7-10 days. The warmer the temperature, the faster it brews. You can test it after 6 days and when you are happy with the mix of sour and sweet, you can start the bottling process. I usually like mine after 10 days.
You have to save your scoby for the next kombucha batch so scoop your babies into a bowl (remember not to use a metal ladle!) and pour some kombucha in with it. Pour the rest of the kombucha through a sieve before transferring it into bottles.
Plastic or glass bottles are fine. It's just like beer, where it will still fizz in the bottles. I've got a blog post about brewing your own beer too. The kombucha will still brew in your bottles as there are tiny scobies working their magic so the taste might change to a more vinegary taste if you keep the bottles too long.
There you have it. Brewing kombucha is super easy so why not give it a go?