This article “DIY Kombucha” was written by our very own Mary Ann Petersen, Eugene native and Licensed Acupuncturist at Absolute Wellness Center. It was originally published in 2016 by the Eugene Register-Guard.
What’s so arduous about making kombucha? Nothing. But, mystery surrounds this historic beverage that’s brimming on the cabinets of grocery shops, bars and restaurants. Making it your self is surprisingly easy and wickedly good.
I resisted making it for years. I worried it would be messy, difficult, and unsightly to drink. None of this was true!
Kombucha is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar and bacteria. The supply of the bacteria is from a starter culture, generally known as a SCOBY, which stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. You could say it’s the magic of the beverage because the SCOBY is the main transformation agent for fermentation. This little gooey marvel processes sugar and tea into kombucha. It resembles a jellyfish because it floats peacefully in its brewing vessel.
You can purchase your starter SCOBY at a grocery shop or on-line. I received my first one at Market of Choice. It’s a part of a package, which, in addition to the SCOBY, consists of, sugar, tea and instructions.
The SCOBY is usually referred to as the “mother,” because it reproduces itself. When your brew is completed you’ll have two SCOBYs. The second begins as a surface haze that thickens and forms into the “baby.” Some find the entire SCOBY factor off-putting as they seem like slippery, semi-alive creatures. Do not be afraid, and send good thoughts to this colony of bacteria and yeast.
Kombucha is a worldwide phenomenon — for example, the Germans name it heldenpilz, “heroic mold.” The French call it champignon de longue vie, “fungus of long life.” Russians name it cajnyj grib, “tea mushroom.” Kombucha, regardless as to what it is called somewhere, is a dense supply of probiotics.
When and where did kombucha burst onto the scene? Somewhere in the Far East as early as the third century B.C. An alchemist caring for the emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, made an elixir referred to as “the drink of immortality.” By the tenth century, Samurai warriors gulped it down before battle, to prepare for battle.
This is a no-nonsense recipe for making kombucha at home.
As kombucha makers, our primary focus is to cultivate the best environment for the SCOBY to flourish and bring forth an exquisite brew.
Be clear, exact, and attentive to every batch.
Making A Batch:
Fill a pan with four cups of water and 1 cup of sugar.
Bring water to boil. Use a whisk or wooden spoon to stir the sugar and mix. As soon as it’s boiling, take the pot off burner.
Add roughly eight teabags. It’s also possible to add loose leaf tea in a container (a stainless-steel tea ball, or a cloth bag).
An excellent high quality loose-leaf tea will taste smoother; I find it easier to guzzle because it has no bitter aftertaste. Some black tea bags do have a bitter aftertaste.
Chances are you’ll use black, green or white tea. My favorite black teas currently are organic Bombay Breakfast (Allann Bros), Eugene Breakfast (J-Tea) or bulk Darjeeling (Market of Choice). Darjeeling is my favorite.
Steep tea for 10 minutes. Stir it gently 2 or three times during the steeping part.
Pour this concentrated tea combination into a clear glass gallon container. Add cold water to fill it close to the top. Allow room for the SCOBY and 1 cup or so of water. The water needs to feel cool. If not cool, wait to add the SCOBY, as it won’t survive hot water.
It is OK to use your hands for this, simply keep them washed and clean. Every aspect of making kombucha needs to be clean.
When you’re positive the combination is cool enough, add the SCOBY and a cup or two of its brine. It should begin the batch with a few of its personal juices.
Lastly, use a cloth like a bandanna or a dish towel, and cover the top, securing with a rubber band. This enables it to breath, and protects it from issues like fruit flies.
Note down the tea used, and the date, next to the container. (Post-It Notes work great.)
Simply put, kombucha takes water, tea, sugar and a SCOBY. Additionally time and a room-temperature shelf. This means a comfortably heated room for people.
Throughout fermentation, sugars and different compounds are being consumed by the SCOBY and producing superfood, which incorporates polyphenols, antioxidants, B nutritional vitamins, vitamin C, natural enzymes, amino acids and natural acids.
Let it sit for 10 to 12 days. Sweeter kombucha is 7 to 10 days. A stronger extra vinegary batch is eighteen to 25 days.
You can get fancier, but this is a good start. Separate the SCOBY (there might be two) together with 1-2 cups of the brew. You’ll be able to flip this into your next batch.
Pour the kombucha into bottles. I suggest using a funnel for that. There are many containers to select from. I like bottles with a swing top that snaps tightly shut.
As soon as bottled, put your brew within the fridge.
After you take away the SCOBY, the kombucha is able to drink and scrumptious as is.
Nevertheless, you’ll be able to go for a secondary fermentation. For example, add blueberry, raspberry, peach, pomegranate or grape. Add ¼ or ½ cup of juice or puree before bottling.
As soon as added to your bottled brew, let it stand, capped, for forty eight hours, non-refrigerated. The extra sugar will add pop, fizz and taste. After forty eight hours of secondary fermentation, put the bottles in the fridge. This ends the fermentation course.
In case you run out of functions on your SCOBY, merely thank it and gently guide it to your compost pile.
Mary Ann Petersen, LAc practices at Absolute Wellness Center in Eugene, OR as part of a multi-disciplinary practice offering sports medicine, chiropractic medicine, naturopathic medicine, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, and massage. To learn more, give us a call at 541-484-5777.