Kombucha

Kombucha mother and scoby

Are you trying to be healthy and looking for natural alternative to soft drink, beer, or premix alcohol drinks that doesn’t break your diet/lifestyle commitments?  Kombucha might just be for you.  If you can boil water and make tea, you already have most of the skills required.  It’s that simple!!!

IMG_7892Not only is kombucha a pleasure to drink due to its natural tangy, fizzy, sweet nature, it is also very good for you.  This traditional fermented Russian beverage is said to be a powerful aid to the liver’s natural detoxification processes due to its glucuronic acid content.  It also contains acetic and lactic acid and which defends against cancer and other degenerative diseases.

Yeast and bacteria work in harmony in the scoby to break down the sugar and caffeine in the tea to create this wonderful naturally carbonated, caffeine free, beverage.

You’ll need to get a live scoby and 1/2 cup of kombucha mother. Every time you brew a batch a new scoby is formed so most brewers to pass on.  Just ask on facebook or any other social network and you’ll likely find a source.  I’m at the new Brisbane New Farm Jan Power Markets on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month and usually have plenty with me.

This recipe is basically from Sally Fallon’s fabulous book, Nourishing Traditions, except I use a 50/50 blend of black and green tea.

Ingredients

Primary Ferment

  • 3L of spring or filtered water
  • 2 organic green tea bags
  • 2 organic Ceylon (black) tea bags
  • 1 cup of organic sugar
  • 1/2 cup of kombucha from previous batch
  • 1 Scoby (kombucha mushroom)

Secondary Ferment / bottling

  • fruit,
  • juice,
  • ginger,
  • or any additional flavouring of your choice.

Equipment

Primary Ferment

  • large soup pot
  • large wide mouth glass jar (4L min)
  • unbleached calico cloth and large elastic
  • wooden spoon

Secondary ferment / bottling

  • small glass jar for scoby to pass on
  • funnel
  • glass bottles*
  • bottle caps
  • bottle capper

* You can use pop top glass bottles or any bottle you like.  I like to use 375ml recycled clear glass beer bottles to provide individual serves (for optimal fizz).

Method

Primary Ferment

  1. Place pot of water on stove, cover with lid and bring to the boil.
  2. Turn off heat, add sugar and stir to dissolve.
  3. Remove tags from tea bags and throw into pot.
  4. Allow tea to steep and cool for 1-1.5 hours until it has reached body temperature.
  5. Pour tea into glass jar.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of kombucha (that came with the scoby) and the scoby.
  7. Cover jar with calico and secure with elastic band.
  8. Place on book shelf or somewhere out of the way and out of direct sunlight (not in kitchen).
  9. Set a reminder to check it in 7 to 21 days.

After 7 days there should be a new baby scoby floating on top.  How much longer you brew after 7 days is up to you.  The longer you brew the more sugar is consumed and the less sweet the batch is.  You can taste and see if your happy with the flavour.  You can even use ph test strips to ensure the PH is below 4.0.

  1. Repeat steps 1 to 5 above.
  2. Remove new baby scoby from top of jar and place in small glass jar with 1/2 cup of kombucha for a friend, offer to anyone on your social networks or store in the fridge as a back up for you.
  3. Take 1/2 cup of kombucha mother from the fermented jar and add to the new tea.
  4. Transfer scoby to new tea/jar, repeat steps 7 to 9 above.

Secondary Ferment / bottling

  1. Pour kombucha tea into a large jug with a pouring spout.  If you try to pour into bottles directly from the jar you will probably spill it.  This is because you need to pour slowly so it doesn’t bubble up and out of the bottles but you need to pour fast so it doesn’t stream down the sides of the fermentation jar, it just doesn’t work.
  2. Place any optional flavours such as fruit, juice, spices, supplements etc into bottles.
  3. Use the funnel to fill each bottle leaving about 3cm min air in the neck.
  4. Write the date on the top of the caps.
  5. Cap bottles, place in bucket, cover with cloth and leave at room temperature for 2-14 days at to allow fermentation to continue and bubbles to form.
  6. Chill in fridge, enjoy.

Clear as mud….thought so, perhaps just watch the video.  It really is as simple as making tea.