Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage brewed since ancient times. Although the exact origins are relatively unknown, the process has remained unchanged. A Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) ferments a sweet tea mixture to produce a refreshing, yet tart, tea beverage.
As I am not in my own home and do not have my ceramic crock here, in which I do a continual brewing process, I use the other method of brewing, using 1/2 gallon mason jar and quart jars in which to do my second fermentation process.
The first stage of fermenting tea is call 1F and the second stage is the process where you use flavoring in allowing the already fermented tea to take on any flavor you choose using fruit, spices, herbs, flowers, or any combination you choose.
This above picture is my tea in which I have just completed the process to allow it to ferment which should take a few days.
In fermenting tea, you need a SCOBY in which I bought my first one, making sure to purchase an organic one to align with my own preferences in using all organic Non-GMO ingredients.
Here is the recipe I use to make 1/2 gallon of Kombucha – I clean all items including utensils, used for this process, in a mixture of white vinegar and filtered water to sterilize making sure I use already washed items.
1/2 gallon mason jar
3 bags tea
8 cups filtered water
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup left over Kombucha from my SCOBY hotel
Process used to make Kombucha
- Filtered water – as chlorinated and minerals contaminate the process of growing the right bacteria and yeast combinations needed to avow oneself of taking in all the nutrients available in this finished product.
2. Pour 4 cups of filtered water into a non leaching stainless steel pan and heat until it bubbles on the bottom of the pan, (just prior to reaching the boiling state), then pour this into the mason jar already having the tea bags in it, cover the jar with a coffee filter, wrap a rubber band around it, and allow it to brew for about 15 minutes.
3. I then take out the tea bags with a plastic or wooden spoon and stir in organic sugar.
4. I fill the mason jar almost up to the top, making sure I leave enough room to add the SCOBY along with about 1/4 cup of stored Kombucha from SCOBY hotel.
(For the tea I used, 3 bags organic tea (I used a combination of 1 bag Darjeeling – a luminous black tea with floral notes having a brisk finish and 2 bags, Green Tea which promotes healthy vitality from Lifestyle Awareness) At home I have purchased special loose leaf teas which I keep in a stainless steel container that you cannot see through to keep the integrity of the nutrients as fresh as possible for as long as possible.)
The above picture is my SCOBY hotel where I store all the new cultures that are continually being made from the process of fermenting the tea. I break off some each day to blend in with my smoothies as they add energy, nutrients and have many health benefits. There are many other ways to use these cultures, for instance, making your own lotions!
There are a few ways to acquire your own SCOBY to get started making some Kombucha, the easiest way being asking someone else for one. If you know someone else who already makes their own Kombucha, they may be able to give you an extra one since each SCOBY produces a ‘baby’ SCOBY every few batches or so. There are many facebook groups where persons fermenting will be happy to ship you one of theirs for shipping costs paid via paypal accounts. This is the cheapest and easiest method if you have no one near you who brews.
If you don’t know of anyone making their own Kombucha, you can purchase a SCOBY online by just googling SCOBY for sale. I would not purchase a dehydrated one as people have varying success with them and the best seems to be having a living one sent directly to you.
The above two jars are my second ferment (2F) processing to take on the flavors I added to them prior to pouring my already finished product of Kombucha into the jars. When performing a 2F you add the flavoring in the bottom of the jars (after sterilizing) then you pour in your tea.
On the left I have used organic ginger powder (at home I grate ginger root) along with some organic lemon juice (I use cut up organic lemons at home leaving the skins on when they are available) and I will leave this anywhere from 24 hours or days to ferment infusing the flavor into the tea. This is one of my favorite combinations as it leaves a zingy carbonated taste leaving your mouth full of this lemony ginger drink. Love this taste and full flavor!
The right jar has the same powered ginger along, lemon juice, along with some powered cayenne pepper in it, making a spicer, tasting flavor, that zaps you with a zing, which definitely leaves you desiring more.
As Kombucha is a powerful prebiotic and probiotic, when you first begin drinking this healthy beverage, you would want to start with sipping 1/3 cup slowing throughout the day until you build your system up to ingesting around 16 ounces per day.
Since Kombucha has many beneficial nutrient dense health benefits it is better taken throughout the day, adding the benefits as you progress through your day.
Note: Once the 2F process is done, you want to refrigerate all bottles to keep them cold which slows down the fermentation process considerably.
SCOBY hotel is where you store all the extra cultures in a mixture of sweet tea as these are living growing organisms and they need to be fed regularly. These remain in a dark place where they have adequate ventilation to allow the cultures to continue growing and placed at least 4 feet away from plants to avoid cross contamination.
I also have purchased a heater to go around my ceramic crock at home as the fermentation process should be done at a warmer temperature of around 75 degrees. If it is colder than that, it will still ferment, but it will take longer.
If it is too cold, it can kill off the process entirely.
My best advice is to google all the particulars if you are interested in joining in with the us crazed fermenters and begin the enjoyable process of experimenting in brewing your own flavors!
Happy Brewing to all you brave and courageous souls desiring to begin a creative and fun adventure in being a Kombucha fan!