Kombucha (also known as fermented tea) has a legion of followers extolling the virtues or this bubbly brew. It is said to aid in digestion and has a whole host of good bacteria to help your belly feel better.
I found this great article about the 7 Reasons to Drink Kombucha.
Some say Kombucha is nothing but expensive pop for hipsters.
That’s fine. Everyone can have one’s own opinion.
I find it helps keep my skin clear, reduces bloat, and helps keep me regular. I’m more than okay with that!
Is it difficult to brew your own? Not really. You do need to keep on a pretty consistant schedule with the brewing and carbonation cycles but missing a day won’t impact the overall product.
I started my batches with one scoby (yeast culture) and a cup of starter tea from Ginny, a newer member of CrossFit Vortex.
What you need to get started.
Organic green tea (loose leaf or in bags)
Organic cane sugar (no…cane sugar isn’t paleo, but once carbonation occurs, the sugar remaining is very minimal and yeast can’t grow without sugar).
1 large glass container with a wide opening
1 tea towel
1 heavy duty elastic band
distilled water, or boiled tap water
white vinegar for disinfecting/rinsing
flip top bottles or mason jars
The following items can be purchased at a health store or get some from a Kombucha buddy or search Kijiji for fellow bottlers in your area
1 cup starter tea
All set? Here we go!
Start with a single batch until your scoby gets stronger and grows babies. Yes…you read that right. We will get there 🙂
Fill a kettle with tap water and boil.
Pour seven cups into a large glass bowl or measuring cup.
Mix in 1/2 cup of cane sugar.
Add three tea bags or 1 tbsp of loose leaf green tea. (I use the bags so I don’t have to filter the tea later).
Depending how strong you want your tea, steep for at least 20 minutes or until the tea cools to room temperature. It may take up to 3 hours to cool the tea. Do not rush this step. If the tea is too hot, you will kill the scoby.
Rinse the large glass jar with vinegar. Soap residue can also kill the scoby.
When the tea has cooled, pour carefully into the large glass jar.
Add the one cup of starter tea.
Place the scoby (yeast culture) on top. If it falls to the bottom, that’s okay. It will likely rise again.
Secure the tea towel to the top of the jar with the elastic band.
Keep the jar in a dark room or cupboard that doesn’t get a cool draft. The temperature should remain room temperature or a little above constantly. I keep mine in a cupboard in the main floor laundry room.
Leave to ferment for seven to thirty days. If you leave it long, the result will be a more vinegar-y flavour. I let mine sit for 10-11 days.
Check on it occasionally. Make sure the scoby stays in the brew. Sometimes it likes to rise out as it’s growing. Just push it back down gently. It should smell a bit like vinegar but shouldn’t be unpleasant.
Bottling day is fun!
Sterilize your flip top bottles or mason jars well before you want to bottle. A quick run through a dishwasher is perfect. Make sure the bottles aren’t hot though.
If this is your first brew, it is best not to do any additional flavouring.
Rinse a bowl or a plate with vinegar and carefully remove the scoby from the jar. You should find another layer has grown on the “mother scoby”. The new one is called a “baby”. You can keep them together or separate to make two batches of tea.
Reserve one cup of tea for your next batch. If you are making two with your new scoby, save two cups.
Simply strain the rest of komucha through a coffee filter or fine mesh sieve into another glass container.
Pour into the glass bottles. You can drink the tea now in this raw state or place in a dark cupboard again for three to five days. You must refrigerate it at this point.
Repeat the steps above to make your next batch of tea! Now you’re a brewer!
If you are on your second or third batch, now you can start playing with flavours.
My favourite is Raspberry Lemon Ginger. In each bottle, place 10 raspberries, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and a few slices of freshly peeled ginger. Pour your filtered tea on top. Seal the bottles and set in a dark cupboard for 3 to 5 days. Refrigerate at that point. Keep the cycle going!
Other flavours I have tried: 5 cherries, 1 tbsp cherry juice and 1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 a kiwi, 1 tsp lime juice, 1 tsp honey
1 tbsp pure cranberry juice, 1 tbsp lemon juice, a few slices of ginger
1 tsp maple syrup, 10 cherries, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
If you get enough sugar into the secondary fermentation, you will end up with a pretty fizzy drink. If it’s not fizzy, you still get the probiotic benefits so don’t let that deter you.
Try experimenting with different types of tea too! I like using organic Vanilla Chai, or Vanilla Roobios.
Soon your brewing and bottling days will look like this!