The first time I ever tried kombucha was when I was in Portland in Oregon with my lovely friend Aileen – amazing lady, training to be a doctor and has a heart of gold! Fermented tea to me at that time (almost 4 years ago) did not sound like a good thing – but I was pleasantly surprised and Kombucha has now become one of my most favourite drinks, and one I often crave.
Kombucha is packed full of good probiotic bacteria and is made by fermenting a SCOBY in various types of tea. A SCOBY is an acronym for a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast – sounds delish, right?! Kombucha is very low in sugar and if you’ve recently been on antibiotics or your gut is just feeling a little lacking, drinking kombucha is a great way to boost your digestive system and up that good bacteria in your gut. I have a few favourite brands that I have often bought including Kombucha King and Good Buzz Brewing Co Booch but recently I gave making it myself a shot!
The recipe below is not one I made up but it’s an easy one that I have been using.
A SCOBY living in some kombucha
4-5 tea bags – black, green, I’ll list other flavours below that you can use but avoid tea that is high in essential oils
1/2 a cup of sugar – this is mostly eaten up by the SCOBY
1800ml – 2 litres of water
A 2 litre vessel – glass is best
Brew about 200ml of tea of your choice – I used english breakfast tea for the batch shown in the photos below. After about 10 minutes remove the tea bags and add the sugar into the tea and mix until dissolved. Use plastic to mix the sugar and tea as Kombucha does not like metal!
When the sugar has dissolved, pour into the 2 litre vessel and add water to fill it to about 3/4 of the way full. Add the SCOBY with about a cup of the kombucha it’s living in, then fill the vessel up to the top.
SCOBY floating on the top of fermenting kombucha
Cover the kombucha with a light piece of material such as muslin or a tea towel so that the brewing kombucha can breathe, then pop a rubber band around the top. Put the vessel into a dark warm place, between 15 and 25 degrees is best, and leave for 5-8 days. I brewed my most recent batch for 7 days and it is great! When it’s ready it will be lightly fizzy and a little vinegary in taste.
When the batch is ready, pour into glass jars, seal them and then pop them into a cool dark place for a couple more days – they will become more fizzy and will continue to ferment.
Store the SCOBY in a glass jar with enough of the kombucha to cover it and keep it in the fridge until you next want to brew a batch of booch!
You can pretty much have an ongoing booch brew going on if you’re keen – I have a dark corner in my lounge that is now housing my brewing kombucha and it’s so nice being able to crack open a bottle whenever instead of breaking my bank account on booch. Honestly, I would be waaaay richer if I didn’t buy chia seeds, Kombucha and cashew nuts. It’s a hard life being healthy 🙂
Once you’ve bottled your Kombucha and it has had an extra few days fermenting, you can keep it in the fridge but it does well kept in a cool environment – not fridge cool – as the bacteria is more active.
Here are some teas that are suitable to use when making kombucha: aniseed, raspberry, valerian root, chicory root, dandelion, elderflower and berries, fennel, hibiscus flower, nettle leaf, redbush, yerba mate, english breakfast/black teas. You’ll find your favs though and you can have some creative licence with what you brew depending on your taste preference.
The following teas are not suitable: peppermint, chamomile and ginger and as mentioned above, teas that are high in essential oils.