Well if you didn't already think I was a hippy for cloth diapering, baby wearing, public breastfeeding, farmer's market buying, etc., then you might now.

Thanks to my parents, I'm an adventurous eater. There are things however that I just don't want to chance. When I saw that episode of Andrew Zimmerman's Bizarre Foods & him drinking some tea that had this film growing over it, I was totally grossed out and said that I'd never drink it.

When we were in Hawaii a few weeks ago, we went to an art walk. There's some deliciousness there, I'm telling you! From coffee to crepes to pies... When we were getting in the car to go back to the house, my husband handed me some drink and told me to try it. Of course I trusted him and tried it. What was it? Yes, Kombucha tea. That drink I said I'd never try. I've been missing out all these years just because of the way it's made and looks while it's "cooking." Well no more. I'm making my own and will continue to because I love it that much. 

I just made a gallon with sugar. Now I'm making two more batches, one with date syrup from the Date Lady and one with local honey. I can't wait!

First, you either need to make your own or buy a Kombucha Culture or SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). I did not make my own, I bought it from seller Carmara on Ebay and have been extremely pleased with the product and result.

To brew 1/2 gallon:
  • 1/2 gallon or larger glass container - sterilized (wash with hot water and soap, rinse well then spray some apple cider vinegar in the jar and wipe out)
  • 3 qt or larger glass jar (NOT aluminum)
  • wooden spoon
  • glass measuring cup
  • 1/2 gallon of purified, spring or distilled water (NOT tap water)
  • 2/3 C sugar, honey, or brown sugar
  • 4 tea bags or a mixture of black, white or green tea. (NOT herbal teas)
  • coffee filter, thin kitchen towel, cheesecloth or paper towel to cover top of glass jar
  • rubber band
The standard ratio for brewing Kombucha tea is 1/4 - 1/3 C sugar, 1 qt water & 2 bags of tea. You can adjust this ratio to be more or less depending on the size of the batch you brew. 

NEVER us ceramic, lead crystal or metal containers to ferment or store your kombucha cultures. The metals could leach into the tea. DO NOT refrigerate kombucha cultures!

Boil 1/2 gallon (8 C) water. Remove from heat & add tea bags. Steep for 10-15 minutes. Discard tea bags. Add sugar of your choice. Stir with wooden spoon until dissolved. Pour tea into glass container. Add enough cold water to fill container to approx 3/4 full. Allow it to cool to room temperature. Make sure you keep the jar covered while cooling to prevent any type of contamination. Once it's at room temp, add the scoby and starter liquid to the tea. Try to get it to float, but if it doesn't, that's ok. Cover container with your choice of thin material and secure with a rubber band. Set in a warm semi dark to dark place away from direct sunlight. The fermentation process requires air flow so don't use a cupboard or closed in areas. The warmer it is kept the faster the culture will grow. DO NOT DISTURB for 7 days. This is very important because you don't want to disrupt the fermentation process. After 7 days or when you are ready to taste your kombucha tea, gently insert a straw on the edge beneath the Scoby and take a sip. If too tart, then reduce your brewing cycle next time. If too sweet, allow to brew for a few more days. Continue to taste every day or so until you reach your flavor preference. Your own Kombucha tea recipe may vary. When you find the desired taste remember to pour off 1 C of the tea and save to use as a starter tea for the next batch. The remaining kombucha tea can be flavored or refrigerated depending on your preference. There are several videos on YouTube that teach you how to flavor kombucha. With every batch of kombucha tea you brew a new scoby will form. you can just leave the scobys together or separate them and give one to friend. the older your scoby gets the darker and thicker it will become. Your scoby will last for years if properly taken care of. 

My first Scoby!

Remember: You need to add the starter tea (the liquid that the Scoby was shipped in OR about 1 C of the kombucha tea), the scoby and leave "breather room" in your container so don't fill it to the top with the sugar tea mixture.

There are tons of different ways to flavor your kombucha tea. I Googled/Pinterest how to flavor kombucha and was given all kinds of ideas. If you decide to flavor your kombucha, you'll be pleasantly surprised that in the airtight glass container you bottle it in, it will continue to ferment and become naturally carbonated within 2-14 days. It does contain less than .5% alcohol generally so be forewarned. This site that I found is a wealth of information on flavoring your Kombucha

This time, I had 5 qts of Kombucha tea that I wasn't using for other batches. I've flavored two of them with fresh lemon juice, one with fresh lemon and ginger, one almond & one almond root beer. My favorites are lemon, plain & almond.


Nichole Ellis said...

I LOVE Kombucha!!! Thank you for posting. I used to make my own and need to start again <3

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