May 10, 2015
So You Want Some Kombucha?
If you have no clue what kombucha is, read on. If you’re already a kombucha addict, skip to the “Let’s Get Brewing” section to learn how to brew your own!
You may have heard about kombucha as it’s become a super popular and trendy “wonder drink”. It’s full of probiotic power to aid in digestion and detoxify your body. The taste is tart and sweet and the drink is sold in a variety of flavors. It is also pretty darn expensive if you’re planning to drink it regularly. For this reason, home brewing is an excellent option. Also, the brewing process is very simple, despite how it may appear. The hardest part of the entire process is to get your hands on a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).
The SCOBY is what makes your kombucha, well, KOMBUCHA! The SCOBY thrives on sugar, so the sugar you add in your brew does not equal the sugar content of the finished beverage. The same applies for the caffeine from the tea as the SCOBY consumes the tea as a nutrient during brewing, so residual caffeine is very low. I am personally very sensitive to caffeine (I get crazy heart palpitations and nausea), and I don’t have any effects from the residual caffeine in the finished brew. The bewing time is anywhere from 7 to 21 days depending on the flavor you prefer. The longer you brew, the more tart and acidic, and the shorter brew time yields a sweeter flavor.
Kombucha tea is great for hydrating the body, however, there are plenty of other touted benefits that those who consume the drink regularly have seen. This includes a strengthened immune system and detoxification of the liver, improved digestion via probiotics, body alkalinity, and improved energy and circulation. You can flavor your booch with pretty much anything you’d like to add to get more superfood benefits (I like adding chia seeds that then hydrate before serving!).
“Let’s Get Brewing”
I’ve written this recipe for those who already have a SCOBY & starter tea, whether from a friend or purchased. Starter tea is already made kombucha (unflavored). I started brewing using a kombucha kit from, you guessed it, a company called The Kombucha Shop (http://www.thekombuchashop.com/).
Brewing supplies required are as follows:
-Cheesecloth or washcloth with rubber band to cover the brew
-1 gallon glass jar
-Cold filtered water
-1 cup organic cane sugar
-2 T organic black loose tea
-Tea infuser or linen sachet to place the loose tea
-1 SCOBY in 2 cups of starter tea (i.e. kombucha already made)
When you’re ready to brew, follow the below instructions:
1. Bring 4 cups of filtered water to a boil. Once it begin to boil, remove from heat and put the loose tea (in the infuser) into the hot water. Let it steep for 5 to 8 minutes.
2. Remove and discard the tea and add the 1 cup sugar to the hot tea. Mix until dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature.
3. Once the tea and sugar mixture is cooled, add it to the clean glass jar and proceed to fill with filtered cool until 3 inches remain at the top of your jar.
4. Add the SCOBY and starter tea. Cover with cheesecloth and secure cloth with rubber band.
5. The brew should be kept out of direct sunlight in an area with fresh, circulating air (basically, don’t shove it into a cupboard somewhere, but keep it out of the sun). The brew must be kept at a temperature between 68 to 86 degrees F.
6. Taste the brew after 7 days but placing a clean straw in the top of the booch. Try not to disturb the SCOBY too much. Continue to taste for the next two weeks until the drink has reached your preferred flavor profile.
7. Once the brew tastes to your liking, it’s time to bottle. I purchased my bottles at Marshall’s, but you should be able to find these at any decent craft store or even a Walmart or Target type store. Make sure your bottle is super clean and dry!
8. If you want to flavor your booch, add the juice (I used about ¼ cup pomegranate juice per bottle) and then top the bottle off with the brewed booch. If you don’t want to flavor, just pour the brew directly into the bottles. Leave 1” headspace and cork the bottles.
9. Allow the bottles to sit at room temp in the same location as the brewing process for about 1-3 days to allow the brew to develop slight carbonation. Then, transfer to the refrigerator. Enjoy for up to 1 month!
10. After transferring the booch liquid to the bottles, save 2 cups of the brew and the SCOBY to begin the process again. I store mine is a smaller wide mouth glass jar until I’m ready to brew another batch. The booch can last forever if you continue this process! New layers of SCOBY form each time you brew, so you can peel away the more “mature” layers to give to a friend to start their own brewing operation or just dispose of the older layers if you find that the flavors are becoming too tart for your liking.
I hope you found this informative and inspiring. Trust me, it's not nearly as scary as it looks to home brew! See, even Luna find it pretty dull and is happily resting instead of getting into the thick of brewing!