A fermented tea once referenced as the “elixir of life”— with detoxifying properties aiding in digestion, energizing the mind, and mythically claimed to reverse symptoms of cancer. A daily consumer may experience lower cholesterol, aid in weight loss, reduction in hot flashes, and overall sense of well-being. Without proper records to track back the origins of this miracle beverage— we can only choose to believe in two-thousand-year old fables that speak of exhausted warriors rejuvenating themselves with a concoction of similar description to kombucha.
Today— it’s possible that you might’ve heard of this new trending beverage highly praised among the health and fitness community. Curious of this craze, I searched out Stephen Lee’s, Kombucha Revolution, and unraveled an entire world of brewing & fermenting. Before you get too excited about home brewing, please be aware that it takes time & commitment— lots of it. A total of at least 2-3 weeks, to be exact. If you’re growing your own SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast OR the-thing-that-makes-‘bucha), then you’ll need to reserve at least a month for that process alone before you can continue a lifelong journey of benefits. The upside? Minimal active handling— 99% of this time will be spent waiting. After two months of patience, my SCOBY is now ready for its very first batch of ‘bucha an
d I’m more than happy to share this experience with you.
Below— will be photos, steps, and instruction to making kombucha. (Remember: the quality of your product will be reflective upon the quality of the ingredients you use.) There are four simple steps, all with equal importance in its own contribution: brewing, first ferment (open-air), bottling, & second ferment (air-tight). It’s important to be patient and remind yourself that you’re working with living organisms. You can’t rush the process. Give the bacteria enough time to make magic with the tea. Avoid cross contamination with clean hands & station. If you haven’t gotten your hands on a SCOBY yet, you can either order one online or learn to make your own.
A sweet + acidic probiotic tea naturally carbonated through a slow fermentation process with a SCOBY, symbiotic colony of bacteria + yeast. Kombucha, also known as the “elixir of life”— have beneficial properties aiding in digestion and energizing the mind. A daily consumer may also experience lower cholesterol, aid in weight loss, reduction in hot flashes, and overall sense of well-being.
With proper care, a SCOBY can last you a lifetime and more. Just be sure to brew a new batch once in a while and keep it well covered by a porous material. *Remember, it needs to breathe.
1- gallon glass jar
6-8 quart stainless steel pot & lid
colander or mesh strainer
clean cotton cloth
disposable gloves (optional)
airtight glass bottles (preferably flip-tops)
14 cups purified water
16-20 bags black tea
1 cup evaporated cane sugar
1 cup starter tea (optional: bottled kombucha)
1 SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria & yeast)
HEAT 6 cups of water to 212°F (until it boils) over medium heat in your stainless steel pot. Once it starts to boil, remove from heat.
ADD tea bags into pot with tongs— stirring and mixing into the water. Cover the pot with the lid and allow tea to steep for 4 minutes.
REMOVE tea bags from pot and strain using tongs and colander. Add sugar to brewed tea and mix until completely dissolved.
POUR tea into glass jar using funnel & best judgment. A large batter bowl would be extremely helpful for this task. (I used a small 2-cup measuring cup & patience to scoop and pour tea into the jar)
ADD remaining 8 cups of water to tea. Stir and allow to cool down to room temperature (72°- 78°F). Any temperature warmer may be harmful to the living culture.
CAREFULLY LAY your SCOBY onto surface of tea with rinsed hands or gloves (if preferred) and reserved starter tea. It should float to the surface or be at least 1 inch below the rim of your jar. If it sinks, don’t worry. It’ll be okay.
COVER & SEAL the jar with a clean cotton cloth and rubber bands to hold in place. Stretch fabric by pulling down on edges in a circular rotation and tighten.
FERMENT your tea at room temperature (72°-78°F) undisturbed for approximately 7 days or until there is a perfect balance between sweet and acid. A closet, closed room, or shaded corner works best for fermenting. Do not store in direct sunlight to avoid UV rays.
TASTE your kombucha by using a straw to remove a sample into a cup. How does it taste/smell? Allow it to sit a couple days longer if it’s too sweet. If the flavor has transformed into a slightly acidic (but still sweet) beverage, you’re on the right track. It should smell a little like vinegar and there should be bits of bubbles (CO2 production). Your SCOBY should also have a new layer grown on top. These are all sure signs of a healthy batch of kombucha. You’re ready to bottle.
REMOVE your SCOBY and carefully place onto a plate/bowl with 1 cup of reserved liquid from your new batch. This is to start a new batch of ‘bucha!
FILTER liquid into airtight glass bottles using funnel lined with cheesecloth. Leave approximately 1-2? margin to the top. If you leave too much open space (O2), your kombucha will not build enough CO2 to produce the desired amount of carbonation in our end product.
FERMENT liquid for another 1-2 weeks in the same location as it did during the first ferment. The warmer the environment, the faster your CO2 buildup will be (which may lead to unexpected explosions). Check your kombucha once a week or so to measure effervescence (fizz) until you reach a desired taste. You should also notice another flavor transformation during this phase. Take note that the longer your kombucha ferments, the higher the alcohol content will be.
ENJOY your kombucha after its reached your desired flavor and carbonation. Make sure to refrigerate your bottles of ‘bucha after the second ferment to prevent continual transformation.
Cuisine: HEALTH |Recipe Type: PROBIOTC
You can customize this beverage to your liking by adding fresh fruit, syrups, aromatics, or herbs to your bottle during the second fermentation.