Kombucha and other fermented drinks are great for gut health.
However, they’re expensive to buy and you can’t be sure of the quality. But it’s easy to make your own kombucha when you know how
Tea Kvass / fermented tea
The process of making kombucha is like vinegar.
Once you have the woowoo, gelatinous SCOBY in your hands, the options are endless.
Kombucha is essentially fermented tea.
Once you master the basics you can start experimenting by adding herbs etc. and often referred to as the “second fermentation” because it takes place once you put brewed kombucha into a bottle.
The culture itself looks somewhat like a large pancake, and though often called a mushroom, a mother of vinegar or by the acronym SCOBY. The scoby … Symbiotic Culture / Colony of bacteria and yeast + other microorganisms … a real tiny biochemical factory!!!
Scientifically classified as a zoogleal mat.
- Kombucha LOVES and needs oxygen
- Do not over boil water.
Over boiling reduces the oxygen and carbon dioxide required for a well-fermented kombucha brew. The purpose is to heat the water sufficiently to extract the tea and dissolve the sugar.
- Use best-quality water. Easy to boil a small portion of water (1/2 liter) and add tea, remove and add sugar, stir until dissolved. Top up with the rest of the water (2 1/2 liters), make sure it is cool and add starter tea (well- brewed kombucha).
- Choose best quality container with wide opening.
- The Height to Width ratio of the container does affect the kombucha brew – with wider being best.
- Maintaining a correct pH is an important factor in kombucha home-brew.
Acidic conditions are favorable for the growth of the kombucha culture and inhibit the growth of moulds and bad bacteria. The pH of the kombucha batch should be between 2.5 and 4.6. A pH of less than 2.5 makes the drink too acidic for normal human consumption, while a pH greater than 4.6 increases the risk of contamination. Use of “starter tea” is used to control pH. Some brewers test the pH at the beginning and the end of the brewing cycle to ensure that the correct pH is achieved and that the brewing cycle is complete, although taste buds will be able to tell. A slightly tart brew is recommended. A hydrometer can be used to check the alcohol level.
- Use organic sugar and tea (The preservatives & chem.’s used on non-organic tea can have antimicrobial properties). Many choose tea upon the medicinal value.
- Consider Caffeine free Rooibos or organic green, black or white tea.
- White tea is higher in antioxidants. Pu-erh has wonderful digestive properties.
- Or try combinations … 3 organic green tea bags + 3 organic black tea bags or equivalent loose-leaf tea.
Top 10 Kombucha Questions
Ready to start … here is a starting point
2 cups of “starter tea” from the previous kombucha tea brew. (10 % – 25% is recommended) The older sourer kombucha tea is recommended.
5-6 teabags or 3-5 grams (one spoonful) of loose-leaf tea
1 cup of sugar. (In our fermenting lair we use organic sugar and tea).
3 Litres of CLEAN water.
Cover with Clean cotton cloth, muslin baby cloth is excellent, (cheesecloth holes can be too big) paper towel or unbleached coffee filter to fit over fermenting container and a large rubber band / string to secure. The idea is to prevent pathogens from contaminating the brew.
Make a home in a quiet spot, away from other cultures. Aww and don’t forget to name your mother and thank her daily for all the babies she will produce, that you can play with to make skin care, “pig” dog ears, fruit leathers, moccasins, sandals, art canvas and share with others.
Over to Patience: Leave undisturbed for 6-8 days up to 14 days in cooler homes / climates.
(Start checking on day 5 in our tropical climate).
One way to test, place a straw in the glass container.
With finger over one end and pull out.
Place the other end in your mouth, and then release your finger.
This is usually day 5-8. But more depends upon your taste.
Simpler method is using the tap on continuous brewing container.
When the tea is to your liking, it is ready.
Every time the Scoby is disturbed and liquid is moved on top of the old culture another Scoby will begin to form (looks white – is not mould – only one thing that smells like mould).
Not a problem for the kombucha tea drinker, as the tea is not affected only the growth of the Scoby.
Either the baby or the mother may be used for your next brew.
Store your excess scoby’s in a hotel
Initial fermentation – draw off from CB (continuous brew) container / glass jar and refill CB with more sugar tea / start again with glass container method.
The advantage of the Continuous Brewing method is you avoid all the bottling and filtering and simply draw off a glass of fine Kombucha and drink and the result in my opinion tastes better.
Or when you want to save some for latter you can do so at any time.
Second ferment…. The industry standard for Glass Bottles and ferments are ones with a long narrow neck, to limit and control over-fermentation and for brown or coloured glass to prevent harmful sunlight spoiling the ferment.
Glass bottles and cappers and corkers are available from Beer / home brewing supply shops.
Be sure to mark the date and type of kombucha prepared.
Bottle brewed kombucha with ingredients, seal and let it ferment a second time (1-3 days) the longer you let the brew continue to ferment, the more acidic and less sweet the taste.
Second fermentation kombucha, bottled in airtight containers, the live yeast and bacteria in the kombucha will continue to gobble up the tea and sugar that remained after the first fermentation.
The fresh sugar that comes from added fruit is turned into carbon dioxide which gives the kombucha the ‘” bubbliness” it’s known for.
If you are like me, we skip the fruit and experiment with herbs like lavender (which makes a beautiful booch), just add an organic sultana / raisin / date or two or a sliver of ginger, for that second fermentation fizz. It will not change the flavour, but it gives the brew food to turn into bubbles. Fill your bottle with flavouring ingredients and brewed kombucha only 3/4 full, to accommodate bubbles and expansion.
After second fermentation is complete, open bottle carefully over the sink, strain, rebottle and refrigerate. Enjoy!
Begin drinking up to 1/2 a cup daily. 1/2 – 1 cup 2-3 times per week is considered a therapeutic dose.
Additionally, always follow kombucha with a glass of fresh clean water.
For every 3-4 cups of kombucha about ¼ cup organic juice.
Pomegranate + passionfruit
Coconut water + chamomile
Tomato + cucumber (bloody Mary)
Cucumber + mint
Persimmon + ginger
Lavender + blueberry / chamomile
Strawberry, vanilla and rosewater
Prune and vanilla
For chia – add 1 tablespoon per 3-4 cups of liquid. Do not strain when second fermentation is complete.
1-3 days for second fermentation.
After second fermentation, open Kombucha bottle over sink.
And for insurance, place the bottle in a large glass bowl to catch any spill over.
Strain the ingredients out, rebottle and place in the fridge.
Serve kombucha diluted with herb brews.
Dilute Kombucha with Pau d’arco tea.
Taheebo tea (Pau d’arco), from the Lapacho tree, has been studied by many peeps and cultures showing one similar finding: it is a bark with unbelievable health benefit.
Add sassafras bark (muslin spice bags -available at herb supplies) let it warm and boil with the water, before adding the sugar or other teas.
To make herbal Kombucha, first reduce the amount of tea used by one-half. If you are using dried leafy herbs and/or dried flowers, add 2-5 times as many herbs as tea. Intensely flavoured, finely grated, dried barks and roots can be added in proportions equal to the tea.
Use a muslin spice bag to brew the tea and herbs.
Ferment and bottle the Kombucha according to the basic method.
Always remember to reserve a SCOBY before making herbal Kombucha.
The addition of herbs may disrupt the micro biotic balance of the culture. Compost or otherwise discard both SCOBYs from the herbal batch. Do not re- use them to culture future batches of Kombucha.
PAPAYA / PAPAW LEAF TEA
Super Energizing Tea
1 tablespoon dried papaya leaves
1 tablespoon crushed cacao nibs
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon fresh ground ginger
Mix cinnamon and ginger and boil in water for 10 minutes, then add in the rest on the ingredients and steep for another 10! Can use in Kombucha second ferment.
1 ½ liter ripe kombucha
Pineapple cores & skin
30g sliced thin ginger
Leave 2-3 days in a cool dark place. Remove scraps. Refrigerate.
Many plants thrive in more acidic soil environments. Grind up or coarsely chop a Kombucha SCOBY and add to your soil mix. Adding extra SCOBYs to the compost pile is a great way to return the culture to the earth. We toss them in our worm bin and boy, do we have a lot of happy worms! + worm tea for the garden gnomes.
Spiders … scoop your fave clean ice cream into a tall glass. Pour Kombucha directly over ice cream.
Pina Mock tail Mix 1-part Kombucha with 1-part coconut water / coconut milk + 1-part pineapple juice. Mix and serve over ice.
Balance the body’s PH … 1 cup of well-aged kombucha + one cup organic black strap Molasses.
Mix in a glass jar. 2-4 tablespoons per day.
Kombucha salve … cut a scoby into pieces and blitz. Add coconut oil, cacao powder. Melt grated beeswax and shaved cocoa butter. Add to scoby mix. Make a simple salve by blending kombucha scoby, coconut oil and essential oil of choice
Scoby Deelicious Roll ups
Scoby Vegan Leather – oops!! one teenager dirty toenail
Love you Thierry
Big love and bacteria, Xo