Saturday, January 2, 2016

Brewing Your Own Kombucha

This blog is simply the instructions to brew kombucha. I've helped a couple people with this, and due to the amount of extra scobys I have, I am likely going to help more. So below are the basics for brewing about a gallon of kombucha.

Here's a couple tips to ensure that your kombucha doesn't get contaminated.

  1. Only handle the scoby with your bare hands or latex gloves. There is debate that metal touching the scoby can harm the health of the scoby. When handing your scoby with your bare hands, clean your hands well, but do not use anti-bacterial soap and residue on your hands can kill the bacteria of the scoby. I like to use a sugar scrub to clean my hands and I handle my scoby with my bare hands.
  2. Keep your kombucha jar clean. Either sterilize it by cleaning it in your dishwasher with very hot water, put it in the oven at 225 degrees for 25 minutes, or clean it with vinegar, which is what I do.

First fermentation process

Minimum Ingredients
  • 1-2 cups starter tea and a scoby
  • 4 green tea bags (enough to make 4 cups)
  • a gallon of filtered water
  • 1 cup of sugar
Other Supplies
  • 1 gallon wide mouthed glass jar
  • cheesecloth large enough to cover the mouth of the jar (you can also use any tightly woven cloth)
  • rubber band
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil either in a pot or tea kettle. Once the water begins to boil remove it from heat and steep the 4 bags of green tea for 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove the tea bags and add the sugar to the tea. Stir the tea until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the sweet tea to the gallon jar. Fill the balance of the jar with filtered water so that it is about 2" below the rim of the mouth of the jar. 

Once the temperature of the tea in the jar is 85 F or less, add the starter tea and scoby. If the water you added to the hot tea came out of the refrigerator, then the temperature will be fine to add the starter tea and scoby right a way.

Cover the jar with the cheesecloth and secure it around the lid with the rubber band, and store your kombucha in a warm place between the temperatures of 70 and 80F. The perfect temperature is somewhere around 75-77.

Green tea and black tea kombucha
In one to two weeks, depending upon your personal taste, you'll be ready to bottle your kombucha. You should test the taste of the kombucha no later than 7 days to assess whether it has lost its sweetness enough. If it is too sweet, taste it daily until the sweetness has subsided enough for your taste. You can taste it by taking a straw with your finger over one end, and putting it down the side of the scoby. Release your finger, place it over the end again, then take the straw out and taste the kombucha in the straw. 

Once it is no longer so sweet and acceptable to your taste, you go onto the next step of the brewing process, which is bottling and what is often referred to as the second fermenting process.

Second Fermentation Process

Remove your scoby and pace it in a bowl. Add one or two cups of the kombucha into the bowl for your next batch starter tea.

Strain your kombucha and funnel it into bottles, or jars. You can use almost anything that is clean and has a tight cap/lid. I prefer the bottles with swing tops. They create a tight barrier which helps with the fizziness.
Add fruit, ginger, or drink without flavoring. I really like a few slices of ginger and fruit. Whatever you add, you don't need more than 10% of the bottle for your flavoring. 

Place your bottled kombucha on a shelf somewhere for 2 to 4 days, depending upon the level of fizziness you prefer. Again, if it is kept in a location that stays 70-80F, then you will have more fizziness than if it is colder. 

Move your kombucha to the refrigerator and drink when you want. Once it's in the fridg, it stays good for some time. The length of time will depend upon the tightness of the seal of your bottles. 

That pretty much does it. Enjoy your kombucha and the good health that comes along with it. 

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