Everyone is talking about Kombucha. Those that aren’t talking about Kombucha are talking about gut health and microbiota. And guess what improves gut health and microbiota? You guessed it; Kombucha!
Now I’ve seen Kombucha in the fridge at the supermarket and although I can’t quite say why, I suspect like anything, the real deal that you make yourself is going to be better for you if you can do it.
Enter my beautiful friend who brought me some of her Kombucha to try. It was amazing! Looked beautiful with Turmeric and Ginger in the bottle, tasted lovely, and it even felt like it was doing me good! (I’m very visual!)
This friend of mine is turning into a bit of a Kombucha master in my mind. She’s made multiple batches and seems to be breeding scobys. Her last batch of Kombucha even became fizzy on it’s second brew. And it tasted amazing!
Keeping in mind that I can kill a sourdough starter with great regularity, I did warn her that it was highly likely that I was going to kill the scoby she was very kindly handing over! She assured me that it is incredibly hard to kill a scoby! They can survive for centuries with very little care!
I killed my scoby.
We’re not sure how. Maybe I was busy in the kitchen when I made the brew up and forgot to add sugar? Maybe I added the scoby to the brew when it was too hot? Maybe when I thought it was too cold in the cupboard and put it on the bench it got too warm? Maybe I used too much of the wrong tea? Who knows… maybe the kids stuck their fingers in it! But it went mouldy and didn’t grow.
Enter scoby number two.
My Kombucha master very kindly gave me a second scoby and supervised the brewing… with strict instructions to allow the brew to cool completely before I added the scoby. Which I very patiently did. Now my Kombucha brew is sitting in the cupboard while I resist the urge to keep pulling it out and checking if it’s growing.
Want to give it a go yourself?
Here are the instructions that I’ve been given by my Kombucha master…
3 litres water
1 cup honey
5 green tea bags
• Bring the water to the boil
• Boil for 5 minutes if not using filtered water
• Turn the heat off, add honey and stir to dissolve
• Add tea bags
• Allow to cool to room temperature
Once tea mixture is at room temperature;
• Sterilise jar (I have used hot water and vinegar to do this and then allowed the jar to become cold before proceeding)
• Remove tea bags, or you can use tea leaves but would need to strain the tea mixture
• Pour tea mixture into the jar
• With clean hands place scoby into the jar with some of the liquid that the scoby was in
• Cover with muslin/cheesecloth or something similar and secure with an elastic band
• Place the kombucha in a warm, dark place – I use the pantry as the door is always open and it needs to have airflow
Is is ready?
It can be helpful to taste the tea mixture before you add the scoby. This will allow you to taste have sweet it is. You will be able to smell the sugars being digested by the scoby and will see another scoby forming on the top of the original one.
Depending on the time of year, (faster in summer and slower in winter), you can taste the kombucha by putting a straw into the liquid and it should taste like a mix of sweet and sour. Sort of like apple cider vinegar but with some sweetness.
• With clean hands remove scoby to a plate with some of the liquid
• Sterilise the bottles
• Using a funnel and cheesecloth, pour the kombucha into the bottles
• Add your preferred flavourings or leave as is
• Seal and leave at room temperature for 1-3 days (depending on temperature, this is only a rough guide) to ferment
• Store in fridge and drink!
This process will form another scoby on top. You can store scobys in a jar with some of the liquid (needs to be covered or it will dry out) to use later or give to friends. Remember you only need one scoby to make kombucha. If the scoby seems thick, you can peel off the top one. Store it in the same place as your fermenting kombucha and every 6 weeks top up with some fresh tea/honey mixture. Without air the scoby will grow very slowly but will stay active for future use. They can also be cut down to fit in a jar.
Of course the key ingredient is a scoby!
I’ve heard you can buy them, but start by asking your friends… it’s highly likely one of them is getting into this fermented awesomeness and will have a baby scoby for you. And no… I’m not giving you the name of my Kombucha master in case I need a third (or fourth) scoby before I get them breeding!
If you’re lucky I may be able to give you a scoby in a few months when I have glowing microbiota and fizzy Kombucha.