Kombucha Chronicles: Something is Brewing

Now that you are all set with your very own home-grown scoby, it’s time to start brewing kombucha tea. This first step is to brew some regular sweet tea and then ferment it.

What you need

  • water
  • 1 gallon glass jar*, very clean
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 8 bags of black tea
  • 2 cups of mother-brewing liquid (or store-bought kombucha)
  • 1 scoby
  • a tea towel and elastic

*I bought this one from amazon.ca because it has a spigot at the bottom for easy pouring.

What you do

  1. Measure out a bit less than a gallon by filling your jar to about 80% with water. Pour the water in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir in the sugar, then drop in the tea bags.
  3. After about 10 minutes (longer for stronger tea), remove the tea bags and allow the tea to completely cool.
  4. Sir in the kombucha liquid, then pour the whole thing into your jar.
  5. With a clean hand, slide in the scoby so she floats at the top of the jar (it’s okay if she tilts or sinks a little).
  6. Cover with a cloth and seal with the rubber band. Store in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight where it will not get jostled.
  7. Wait (watch how your little mother grows!) and start tasting your tea after 7 days. The tea will go from sweet to tart as it ferments, so find a balance that pleases you.
  8. Pour out your kombucha into a clean glass pitcher. Reserve 2 cups of the liquid to start your next batch
  9. With clean hands, remove the mother and park her on a clean plate. If she is getting very thick, you can remove a bottom layer.
  10. To start the next batch of kombucha, clean out your fermenting jar and go back to step 1.

first ferment.jpg

The next step in making your first batch of tea is to add flavouring. The good news is that this second fermentation only takes a few days.

What you need

  • seal-able glass or plastic vessels
  • flavouring*

*There are really no wrong answers here. Flavour the tea with whatever fruits and/or herbs you have on hand or fancy at the time. I had some pineapple in the fridge and some mint in the garden. It sounded like a good summertime combo. I’m calling it the piña komjito. TM

What you do

  1. Cut up the fruit very finely, something between a dice and a mince. The larger the surface area, the more yummy flavour will steep into the tea. 
  2. Add about 2 cups of flavouring to the gallon of tea and seal. 
  3. If using glass bottles or jars, it’s a good idea to contain them in a cooler or other bin. If too much carbonation happens too quickly, there is a chance the glass will shatter.
  4. Wait 1 to 3 days for the flavour to infuse.

second ferment.jpg

Only one more step to go! In a few days you will be drinking your delicious home made kombucha. The third and final step is to carbonate the tea.

What you need

  • seal-able glass or plastic drinking vessels
  • a strainer

What you do

  1. Strain your kombucha to separate it from the flavouring agents.
  2. Pour into bottles (these can be the same one you used for the second ferment -just washed out- or smaller serving sized containers) and seal.
  3. Again, if using glass, place in a cooler to contain possible explosions.
  4. Wait 1 to 3 days to build up carbonation.
  5. A baby scoby may form on the surface (just like when we made our own mother!). Just scoop out and discard.

third ferment

That’s it! The kombucha is ready to drink. Keep the bottles in the fridge (to stop further fermentation) and consume within a month.

pina komjito

flourish.svg

So far Liam and I are loving having our own almost-limitless source of kombucha; although we are restricting ourselves to half a bottle a day each. We haven’t been buying any from the store as ours is just as good, much less expensive, and (surprisingly) simple to make! For the next batch I will play around for a few different flavours so that we have some variety at home too.

I hope you enjoyed following along while I chronicled my kombucha journey. If you are not inspired to get your own symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast working for you at home, maybe you’re at least more likely to give a store-bough bottle a try. I guarantee your tummies and your taste buds will thank you. Happy brewing!

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