Making kombucha

 

culture amy

Brewing kombucha can be as easy as making sweet tea!

Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been used as a health elixir for over 2,000 years

SCOBY

  • Stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast
  • Varies in size and texture
  • Featured above is a picture of our SCOBY with the appropriate color
  • Culturesforhealth.com provides great pictures of healthy and unhealthy SCOBYs
  • A healthy SCOBY may be smooth, lumpy, or even have holes in it and still produce quality kombucha and viable SCOBY babies
  • If your SCOBY is black, has white mold, is multicolored, fuzzy, or dry it is best to discard and start over

There are four ingredients needed to make kombucha

  • Filtered water
    • Kombucha culture is sensitive to water contaminants
  • Organic Cane Sugar
    • Sugar feeds the yeast
  • Organic Tea
    • Nitrogen in the tea leaves feed the bacteria
    • Avoid using tea with added flavors or oils as it interferes with the process
    • Herbal tea is not recommended
    • Oolong, black, and green teas are ideal
  • Starter tea or vinegar
    • An acidic liquid is needed to brew kombucha
    • Kombucha tea from a previous batch this is ideal but if none is available you may substitute white vinegar
    • Store bought unflavored kombucha may be used but make sure that the brand you buy has not been pasteurized

 

Directions

  1. Heat water on the stove, 160 to 180 degrees F
  2. Add loose leaf tea or tea bags, let steep with lid for about 15 min
  3. Add sugar, stir to dissolve
  4. Let entire mixture cool down overnight
  5. Pour your cooled sweet tea to your fermentation vessel*, only when mixture is completely cooled. Too high of temperatures can kill your SCOBY. Your SCOBY may sink at first, do not worry about this. Once it is settles it will eventually float to the top.
  6. The SCOBY needs oxygen as kombucha is aerobically fermented. Cover the top of your vessel with cheese cloth or a light cloth and secure, ideally with a large rubber band. Fruit flies will be attracted to the sweet tea. If the cheese cloth is not secure they will find a way in.
  7. Finally, let your mixture sit in a place where it will not be disturbed for a few weeks. The length of fermentation is affected by temperature and is sensitive to smoke. We have found that it is best to keep your SCOBY away from the kitchen while fermenting as smoke from cooking can cause stress.
  8. Your kombucha will be ready in 7-30 days depending on the temperature (prefers 78-88 °F). In the winter we use seedling starter mats to provide consistent heat for the culture. Brewing time can be longer in the colder weather. A simple way to know when your kombucha is ready is to use pH strips. Exposing the pH strip to the kombucha reveals the pH in less than 10 seconds. The kombucha is ready when it reaches a pH of 3.2 or lower. It also depends on the flavor—it should taste a bit tart and fruity but not nearly as sweet as when you started as the sugar is consumed by the SCOBY during the process.

*Many prefer glass fermentation vessels. Mason jars work great. Vessels need to have a wide mouth because the SCOBY will spread at the top of the vessel. If the mouth of the vessel is too narrow, it will be difficult to remove the SCOBY without damaging when your kombucha is ready to drink.

Our favorite reference website for brewing kombucha: culturesforhealth.com

 

Bottling the old batch and removing the old culture and its baby culture first:

Brewing kombucha and adding new baby SCOBY: