How to home-brew Kombucha tea
by Nikhil Yadav
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is actually made from tea. Brewed green or black tea, along with sugar, bacteria, and yeast are fermented to create Kombucha. Herbs and fruits can also be added for a second fermentation step and to give it a flavor of your choice. Famously known as the “Tea of Immortality”, originated in 220 BC in China. During the Tsin Dynasty. Owing to its gastrointestinal health benefits, taste and energizing properties, people who drink Kombucha regularly, swear by it.
How to brew Kombucha at home?
Follow the simple steps below to become a Kombucha brewmaster yourself. Everything has been covered, from the two fermentation stages to flavor your drink.
Before we embark, here are some general Dos and Don’ts:
- Avoid using metal and plastic containers for the brewing and storing processes, they may react with the SCOBY, spoiling the drink. Glass, ceramic, high-grade stainless steel are good options as a container for brewing Kombucha
- Cleanliness is the key while brewing Kombucha. Any form of the contamination may ruin the batch completely. You may sanitize all the equipment with vinegar and hot water
- Warmer temperatures help quicken the fermentation process
- No other mold should be growing on the SCOBY or in the tea, throw away the entire batch and start afresh.
What you’ll need: 4 liters of water, 220gms of sugar, 25 to 30 gms black tea, 2 glass jars, muslin cloth (to cover the mouth of the jar), rubber-bands, unpasteurized raw Kombucha (starter tea).
Once you have your hands on a SCOBY, it’s time to start with the first fermentation stage.
A quick tip: Use a wide-mouthed container to make it easier to add and remove the SCOBY.
- Bring water to boil in a clean container
- Into the boiling water dissolve sugar and add black tea to make a sweetened tea
- Allow the tea cool down till room temperature
- Pour the sweetened tea into a glass jar and add 250-300ml of Kombucha starter tea to it
- Gently place the SCOBY into the jar
- Cover the jar with a piece of fabric and secure it with a rubber-band
- Place this jar someplace dark and still, for one to four weeks
- After one week, gently take a sip of the tea using a paper straw. It should be mildly sweet and vinegary. As the fermentation process continues, it should become less sugary and more vinegary
- Depending on the temperature and the SCOBY, the primary fermentation should take from one to four weeks. Once you’re satisfied with the taste, move the tea to a fresh glass jar
- Reserve two cups of this tea to use as starter tea for the next batch
A quick tip: Once the SCOBY is about an inch thick, you may peel off a few layers to create a second SCOBY and also share it with others!
What you’ll need: Flavourings of choice (herbs, fruits or flower petals), fermentation bottles.
Welcome to the final step of the Kombucha brewing process. This is where the real magic happens. It’s now time to bottle the Kombucha and customize it, exactly the way you like it.
- Add your choice of flavor to the bottles
- Strain the tea from the first fermentation through the sieve and funnel it into bottles, to the top. When the tea is transferred into bottles, it enters a second fermentation and becomes less sweet.
- Seal the bottles tightly with a lid and let it ferment in dark, at room temperature, for three to ten days
- Strain out the flavoring substances if required, and store the Kombucha in a fridge
Some more quick tips:
- Here are a few ingredients to experiment with, Ginger, Mango, Rose petals, Orange, Saffron, Lime, Cherry, Chia seeds.
- The fuller your bottles are, the more carbonated they will become
- Open the lids to release some pressure(every 36 hours), to avoid the bottles from exploding due to excess pressure
Take a Sip!
Crack open a bottle of your home-made Kombucha, if you hear a pop, upon opening the bottle, you have yourself a winner. You may also notice some strands on the top, that are baby SCOBYs which develop in Kombucha – proving that the drink is alive.
Enjoy your Kombucha!
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