Kombucha starts out as a sugary tea, which is then fermented with the help of a scoby. "SCOBY" is actually an acronym for "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast." It's very close to the mother used to make vinegar.
The scoby bacteria and yeast eat most of the sugar in the tea, transforming the tea into a refreshingly fizzy, slightly sour fermented (but mostly non-alcoholic) beverage that is relatively low in calories and sugar.
The scoby is rubbery and a bit slippery, brown stringy bits hang from it, and it transforms sugary tea into something fizzy and sour. It's a live creature actually!
Step 1: What You Need
• 2 Lt of water
• 140-200 g sugar per Lt (I use brown sugar)
• 10 g black tea, green tea, or a mix
• 200 g starter tea from last batch of kombucha or store-bought kombucha (unpasteurized, neutral-flavored)
• 1 scoby per fermentation jar, homemade or purchased online
Note: To increase or decrease the amount of kombucha you make, maintain the basic ratio of 70/100 g cup of sugar, 5 g of tea per liter. One scoby will ferment any size batch, though larger batches may take longer.
Optional flavoring extras for bottling: ginger juice from fresh grounded ginger root – raspberry juice from fresh berries – or other fruit, spices, fresh juice…
• Stock pot
• 3 Lt glass jar or two 2 1,5 l glass jars
• Clean napkins or tea towels to cover the jar
• A small colander and gauze
• Bottles: Six 16-oz glass bottles with plastic lids, 6 swing-top bottles, or clean soda bottles
• A small funnel
Avoid prolonged contact between the kombucha and metal both during and after brewing.
This can affect the flavor of your kombucha and weaken the scoby over time.
Step 2: Make the Tea Base
Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Drop in the tea and allow it to steep until the water has cooled. Depending on the size of your pot, this will take a few hours.
Step 3: Add the Starter Tea and the Scoby
Gently slide the scoby into the jar with clean hands after you have washed it under running warm water. Stir in the starter tea. (The starter tea makes the liquid acidic, which prevents unfriendly bacteria from taking up residence in the first few days of fermentation).
Step 4: Add the Fresh Tea
Pour the fresh sugared tea into the glass jar (or divide between two 2 jars, in which case you'll need 2 scobys) and cover the mouth of the jar with a tea napkin or paper towels secured with a rubber band.
Step 5: Ferment for 7 to 10 Days
Keep the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and never move it. Ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking the kombucha and the scoby periodically.
It's not unusual for the scoby to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways during fermentation. A new cream-colored layer of scoby should start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days. It usually attaches to the old scoby, but it's ok if they separate. You may also see brown stringy bits floating beneath the scoby, sediment collecting at the bottom, and bubbles collecting around the scoby. This is all normal and signs of healthy fermentation.
After 7 days, begin tasting the kombucha daily by pouring a little out of the jar and into a cup. When it reaches a balance of sweetness and tartness that is pleasant to you, the kombucha is ready to bottle.
Step 6: Remove the Scoby
Before proceeding, prepare and cool another pot of strong tea for your next batch of kombucha, as outlined above. With clean hands, gently lift the scoby out of the kombucha and set it on a clean plate. As you do, check it over and remove the bottom layer if the scoby is getting very thick.
Step 7: Bottle the Finished Kombucha
Measure out your starter tea from this batch of kombucha and set it aside for the next batch. Pour the fermented kombucha into bottles using the small funnel, along with the ginger or raspberry juice (or herbs, fruit, other juice you may want to use as flavouring).
Step 8: Carbonate and Refrigerate the Finished Kombucha
Store the bottled kombucha in the fridge and allow 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate. You can consume your kombucha within a month.
Step 9: Enjoy Your Kombucha
Thanks for reading.
We hope that this guide is helpful.
For more info or any questions please write in the comments.
See you soon!
P.S. Special thanks to Paola!