Home Made Kombucha. A fermented drink that has been used as a natural remedy for thousands of years, kombucha can now be found on your supermarket shelf. Here, a simple recipe so you can make this probiotic tea in your own kitchen.
Kombucha is a fermented drink made from sweetened black tea. With the assistance of a scoby (a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, often referred to as a “mother”), sugar and tea are transformed into a slightly sour and effervescent drink. Although kombucha contains both caffeine and sugar, these are the food for the bacteria and yeast, and are mostly consumed during the fermentation period.
To begin brewing Kombucha at home you will first need to obtain a scoby – a firm jelly-like disk. These can be purchased online often in a dehydrated form and rehydrated following the packet instructions. Or find a friend who already brews kombucha and ask them to save a scoby for you from their next batch. This magical microbial fungus grows a new scoby with each brew.
Makes 1 litre
1 litre filtered water
1/4 cup golden organic sugar
2 tsp loose black tea or 2 tea bags
1/2 cup kombucha starter tea – left over from previous brew
A kombucha scoby (minimum 2cm piece)
Flavours (per 400ml bottle)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger or turmeric
1/2 tsp chai spice powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
3-4 fresh or frozen berries
2–3 fresh mint or lemon verbena leaves
In a large jug combine 1 cup boiling water with the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the tea and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes.
Strain into a large clean jar or ceramic vessel and add the remaining cold water. Check the temperature, it should be no hotter than 37˚C.
Once the sweet tea is cool enough, gently slide in the scoby. Cover with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Leave at room temperature (out of direct sunlight) for 5–10 days. The total time will depend on the time of year and ambient temperature.
Check after 5 days, use a straw and carefully move the kombucha aside and take a sip. If the taste is to your liking, aiming for a balance between sweet and sour and nicely effervescent, it is ready to bottle. If not, check every day until the desired taste is achieved.
To bottle the kombucha, remove the scoby and 1/2 cup of the finished kombucha and put aside for your next brew (you can store in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks). Use a funnel to pour the fermented kombucha tea into clean bottles (dark-coloured flip top work best). At this stage you can add extra flavour to each bottle.
Store the bottles in a cool pantry, transferring to the fridge to chill before drinking. If adding flavour leave for 2–3 days before opening so the flavours can infuse (this is often referred to as the second fermentation). Consume within 2 weeks, the kombucha will sour over time and the carbonation may increase so always be careful removing the top.
Please Note: Kombucha contains are very small amount of alcohol, less than 1%, and is therefore not recommended for pregnant woman and children under 12 years.
Unrefined sugars such as rapadura and coconut sugar can also be used, however, the kombucha can take longer to ferment.
For best results use organic black tea, however, a combination of 1 teaspoon black tea and 1 teaspoon green tea can also be used.