Started making Kombucha last year, and I think I have just about nailed it. Had many trials get tipped down the sink,or just drunk with an upturned nose, but the issues are ironed!
If you don’t now much about Kombucha, read about it here.
You need to have SCOBY (Symbiotic Bacteria OF Bacteria and Yeast) to start with. The SCOBY ferments in a sugary tea, and you drink the liquid for some probiotic goodness, as well as a unique tasting soda-like drink.
1 cup sugar
1 Tbl spoon loose leaf
- Add sugar, tea and just enough water cover, and bring to the boil
- Top up immediately with cold tap water, so it should be about lukewarm
- Strain into a wide glass jar with some air space at the top (about 5 cm)
- Add SCOBY and a few tablespoon of residual liquid
- Cover with a tea towel, and rubber band and let it brew for about 4 days
Sometimes a SCOBY will form on top, sometimes your original SCOBY will just get thicker. Sometimes only a very thin SCOBY will form. It doesn’t matter, be guided by the taste after 4 days. The SCOBY gets stronger and stronger and behaves differently over time. It also depends on the acidity of your residual liquid (see notes below).
- Dip in a tablespoon and taste it. A bit tart? Leave it a day longer. Quite a bit tart? Perfect!
- Pour into drinking bottles (that have a sealed lid), and add some fruit for flavouring and sweetening (I’ve been using mixed berries, apples, ginger, blended up a bit).
- Let it sit for a day or two to get some fizz going, and then refrigerate. And drink!
A few notes:
You can’t go too far wrong. If it looks like mould, it probably isn’t. Mould won’t grow in the acidic environment that you SCOBY lives in. Mould is furry, and grows up and out of the container, trying to get access to air. The little black bits that might appear are just some yeasts that are feeding on leftover tea. They’re fine.
After pouring your drink into the bottles, you should be left with one or two SCOBY’s sitting in an inch or so of liquid. You can make another batch straight away, or you can keep your SCOBY sitting on the bench (not in the fridge) for ages before you use it again. Leaving it out actually increases the strength of the SCOBY as the bacteria adapts to the increasingly acidic liquid. The other SCOBY? Give it to a friend, feed it to the chooks/compost, or just chuck it in the bin. You’ll have a new one next week.
I’ll add photos to here soon.