Kombucha

After developing a mild kombucha addiction, I decided I wanted to learn how to make it myself. It is actually significantly easier than I thought it would be. Plus…fermented foods are some of the best foods for you.

It took me a few batches to get everything to taste as I wanted, but now, I’ve got things more or less figured out and ready to share the recipe and process!

Ingredients
Black tea, green tea or oolong tea (you’ll need 8 tea bags)
• Scoby (I got this one from Amazon)
Juice (I get this much cheaper at Whole Foods. Honestly, you can use any juice you want. My main objective is to find a juice that is 100% fruit juice, not concentrate and with no added sugar.)
• 2 cups of starter tea or distilled white vinegar
• 1 cup organic white sugar 
• 1 gallon fermentation glass jar (not plastic!)
• Glass jars (I purchased swingtop glass bottles, but I also sometimes use recycled bottles from kombucha I’ve purchased from the store. As long as the bottle is glass and air-tight, it will be fine.)
• 2 -3 coffee filters
• 2 -3 rubber bands

Instructions
1. Heat 13-14 cups of water on the stove (doesn’t need to be boiling, just really hot).

Steaming but not boiling...
steaming but not boiling…

2. Pour the hot water in the glass jar, then add the sugar:

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3. Mix until the sugar dissolves:

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4. Add tea bags to steep:

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5. Let the tea dry to a lukewarm temperature. It takes mine several hours to get to that point. You can either leave the tea bags in or remove them after 15-30 minutes. Totally depends on your flavor preference!

At this point, I like to cover the glass jar with either a pot lid or coffee filters to prevent fruit flies from coming out of the woodworks. (: 

6. Remove the tea bags and add either the starter tea from a previous batch, or distilled white vinegar if this is your first batch. 

7. Add the active scoby culture!

8. Cover the glass jar with coffee filters or a tight-weave towel. I use 2-3 coffee filters and 2-3 rubber bands! 

9. Place jar out of  direct sunlight and let sit for 1 week – 1 month. The longer the kombucha ferments, the more vinegary it will taste and less sugary it will be. I’ve found that ~ 2 weeks is the perfect fermentation period for my palette, but you’ll have to experiment and decide what tastes best to you!

10. Once your kombucha is at a desired taste, it’s time to bottle it up!   

Make sure to hang onto 2 cups of tea as well as the scoby to start your next batch. I usually start with pouring these two things into a glass bowl, then I begin bottling. 

super gross-looking, I know
super gross-looking, I know

11. Flavoring! You can drink the kombucha plain or flavored. I’ve tried both options and ended up liking the juice better. The key with juice is to make sure it doesn’t have a bunch of added sugar. I found this brand at Whole Foods and have really like it both because of taste and ingredients:

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So, to flavor your kombucha, start with adding about 10% juice:

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The remaining 90% is the kombucha. It’s that easy. 

Bottle, refrigerate, enjoy and repeat!

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