Kombucha is a fermented tea that was very popular when I was young. Like many foods, it went out of fashion, and for many years it was lost, with very few people making it themselves. Now you can purchase commercially made kombucha just about anywhere, even in the major grocery stores. The problem with this is that when something goes mainstream commercial, there is a tendency by the manufacturers to attempt to make it as palatable as possible to the most people it can. In western food culture, this means adding sugar.
There are very good brands available but for me, the best way is to make it yourself. It saves money and saves on packaging. Better for you, better for the planet.
What you will need
You will need a pot to ferment your kombucha in. I use one made by a local potter in the Gold Coast Hinterlands. You can check out their website here: https://durand.com.au/kombucha-jars.html
You will need a SCOBY which stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. You can get one from a friend who is making kombucha, health food stores and you can order online here when in stock: https://www.greenlivingaustralia.com.au/kombucha-scoby
As well as the SCOBY you will need 250ml of kombucha (fermented tea).
You will also need some sweet tea, cooled to room temperature. So here goes my recipe:
Making your tea for your kombucha
- Two litres of filtered or bottled, non-chlorinated water
- Tea of your choice (black, oolong, green or white)
- One half cup sugar
- One SCOBY and the tea it came with (about one cup/250 ml)
- Bring one litre of your water to a boil and using the boiling water and your tea, brew one litre of tea. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the tea leaves or tea bags and then add the remaining one litre of water.
- Add half a cup of sugar to the still-warm tea and dissolve.
- Allow the sweet tea you have made to cool to room temperature then pour it into your Kombucha jar.
- Add the SCOBY and the 200 to 250 ml of tea it came with to your jar and cover it with a tight weave cloth, ensuring it is secured to keep out insects. Fruit flies are attracted to the acid, and you do not want them in your Kombucha.
- Ferment until ready. The time will vary depending on the amount of mother tea, the temperature, etc. It is more important to go by the taste of the tea, making sure it tastes like cider and that much of the sugar has been converted to acid. A two-litre batch should take anywhere between three to seven days to ferment. Start tasting it after three days. Use a straw to taste the tea, so you do not have to disturb the SCOBY if you are not using a pot with a spigot.
- Once fermentation has been completed, and you are happy with the flavour, you are ready to bottle and place it in the fridge, ready for consumption. You can now add flavours to your kombucha and do a second fermentation on the kitchen counter, in the bottle for 2 -3 days. I like to add organic dried fruit to mine. Apricot, mango, cranberry and blueberry are my favourites.
You can do so much with plain kombucha. Adding dried fruit is just one way to add flavour. Try adding a little fruit juice; using herbal teas mixed in with your regular tea, adding spices.
You can also second ferment in individual contains to get smaller, take with you batches. I use flip-top containers I can take in the car with me when I am travelling to do events.
Let your creativity guide you. Have fun.