Kombucha is something I have been wanting to try as it is reported to be healthy for you and such. I got a chance to attend a class one evening on how it is done, and got a lovely little Kombucha Mother to start my own brewing bonanza.
It is really a super simple thing to do, once you have the ingredients; organic cane sugar, organic black tea, chlorine free water (we are on a well so are good to go) , a Kombucha mother in 2 cups of brew and a one gallon jar. Everything can be found at your local bulk store or grocer except the mother in her mix. You will need a source for that so check out your local farm market, one of your crazy hippy-dippy friends, that homesteading Aunt of your friend from work you are always hearing about…someone has one, you just need to find them. I got mine from the people giving the class, a lovely couple with an organic farm nearby (Heart Beet Organics).
The magic is created starting with 2 cups of boiling water, place 4-6 tea bags to steep for 10 minutes then remove the bags and add 1 cup cane sugar, stirring to dissolve. Add the super sweet tea to the gallon jar, fill half way with cool water and add the mother and 2 cups of the last brew of Kombucha. Fill the gallon jar to within an inch or two from the top, cover with a cloth (coffee filter works fine) and secure with an elastic to keep out fruit flies and your cat (you just never know with cats).
In 7-21 days you have Kombucha. Be mindful that the longer you ferment the more sweetness you lose. Stop it when you like the taste. Mine went 14 days to get to where I like it, not too sour and not too sweet but just right for mamma bear.
Adding flavor is next. Remove the mother and 2 cups of brew for your next batch. Strain the Kombucha into another container and add your fruit or herbs. Let sit for 24-48 hours then strain out the additives and then bottle for another day or two. This creates more carbonation. At this point refrigerate and enjoy!
Note on the bottle to use, it must be a bottle that can withstand the build up of pressure, a Grolsch beer bottle works great. A mason jar will not produce the carbonation you may be looking for. Fill the bottle to an inch of the top, cap and place in the fridge to slow further fermenting. Take care when opening, it will fizz over so have a glass handy or a sink or your mouth, whatever.
You can feed your Scoby with sweet tea and keep until later if you are not wanting a new batch yet. If you have multiple Scoby growths/babies you can make a Scoby hotel. Sounds cute but it is just a holding space to keep the Scoby alive until you need them. As this is my second batch I am not there yet.
Fermenting is addictive. It all started with a “couple” of wine kits, progressed to raw honey mead (awesomeness in a bottle), honey fermented garlic, sauerkraut and now Kombucha. I am very interested in finding a Jun mother Scoby, a ferment made with raw honey and green tea, to add to the collection of healthy, yummy, fun to make treats.
Go forth and ferment, my fellow enthusiasts!