i am so grateful that my yoga teacher sarah demystified the kombucha home-brewing process for me and gifted me with my very first scoby. i've kept a continuous brew since november. i drink at least a cup of kombucha every day. my skin is clear, my tummy is calm and i've felt protected from the nasty colds and flus that seem to be devouring everyone else.
i've refined my process and want to share it with you here. once you get into the swing of it, you'll have a continuous supply of kombucha that costs a small percentage of bottled brews (although i still love a bottle now and then).
to start a batch you'll need:
- a one gallon glass jar
- a kombucha mushroom (scoby)
- one cup brewed kombucha
- eight tea bags (use organic black tea, not flavored tea)
- one cup sugar
- boiling water to brew your tea
- cotton, breathable fabric (not cheesecloth) and rubber bands
start with an empty clean glass jar. pour boiling water over your tea bags and let them steep for 10-12 minutes.
add the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until dissolved.
let it cool to room temperature.
once it's cooled, add one cup previously-brewed kombucha and your scoby. pour in filtered water to fill the jar and stir gently, avoiding hitting the scoby with your spoon.
cover the jar with cotton fabric and secure tightly with rubber bands.
place jar in a clean quiet place. it will need peace to work its magic.
leave it for a week (you'll need to experiment with the time, brewing times differ with temperature). if you pass by, say hello and give it some love. it's a living thing.
after a week, you should see a scoby has formed on the top of your brew (above). remove the fabric and slip a straw beneath the scoby to have a taste. if it still tastes sweet, it needs more time. if it tastes too vinegar-y, it's gone too long. it should have a nice balance between sweet and tart...kind of like apple cider.
note: little brown floaty cultures should also be visible. these freaked my out at first because i thought they were mold. mold looks like mold (green or black) and smells like mold. healthy kombucha cultures look kind of stringy and floaty and mucas-y. it sounds gross, but it's all good. if you see or smell mold, throw out your brew.
when your kombucha is ready, bottle it in glass bottles or jars. it may or may not be effervescent.
save your scoby and at least one cup of kombucha for your next batch.
once bottled, your kombucha needs to enjoy a second fermentation.
place the bottles in a quiet dry place for a few days. the effervescence should grow.
you can also add flavors during this second fermentation. i've experimented with ginger, hibiscus and juniper berries. but i really prefer it unflavored.
after a few days of second fermentation. your kombucha is ready to be enjoyed. you may notice new little scobies formed and that's okay.
put your bottles in the fridge at this point.
enjoy at least one cup each day.
for some, it's an acquired taste.
you may experience detox symptoms when you start drinking it regularly. i experienced headaches, malaise and skin breakouts for about ten days. be sure to drink plenty of water to flush out all the gook your kombucha is removing.
(ok, now that i wrote all that, it does not seem "super simple" at all. i guess it just feels easier now that i've done it for a few months.)