Have you made kombucha? Warning: It looks like a weird slimy science experiment. Plain kombucha tastes like tart sweet tea, because it is fermented tea. The photo above is a 2nd fermention with fruit and looks far prettier than the science experiment jar. (More on that later)
So, you want to make Kombucha?
Step one is aquiring a scoby. (See below) What’s that? A Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. In other words it’s the blob of slimy goodness that takes plain sweet tea and turns it into fizzy probiotic-filled bucha drink.
I ordered my scoby from Amazon and it came packaged like this with starter liquid for my first batch. You can also get a scoby from a hippie you know but it will look much less like something you want to put in a jar of tea to drink. (Spoiler alert: working scobys look gross)
I also bought a 1/2 gallon mason jar from target to hold my brew. Next you need:
4-6 tea bags (or loose tea)
½ cup sugar
6-7 cups water
1 cup starter tea or a few tablespoons of vinegar (ask for starter tea with your scoby)
Boil the water and steep the tea as usual. (Some people leave tea in longer, I fear this will make it bitter) After removing tea bags stir in sugar with a non-metal spoon until it is dissolved. Allow to cool to room temp. Once the tea is cool add it and scoby to the 1/2 gallon mason jar (or similar size container). Cover with paper towel or tight weave cloth and secure with rubber or mason jar ring.
Let it ferment for a week and then remove a bit with a clean straw to taste. If it’s still sweet you can let it go longer; it’s all to taste! With each brew your scoby should from a 2nd scoby but most people go 2-3 batches before separating them.
After about a week you should bottle it in strong bottles that can withstand pressure so your kombucha ferments in an airtight container and develops the fizz that commercial brews contain.
I also bottled mine with frozen raspberries (first photo) and it continues to ferment to make the fizz. The addition of fruit or more sugar will also raise the amount of alcohol in your brew. *IMPORTANT NOTE* If you add sugar or fruit you need to burp the bottle (open it to the let pressure out) 2-3 times a day. Store bought kombucha is less than .5% alcohol. When you make it at home, especially when you add extra sugar or fruit to ferment again, it can get up to 3-5% alcohol making it the strength of beer. (I fully admit I’m OK with this) It’s full of probiotics so it’s good for your digestive health.