Space alien has landed! Well, at least the one that is disc shaped and floats in tea. If you love kombucha why not make it and save a lot of money? What is Kombucha? It is a fermented sweetened tea.
Really, yummy once you drink it a couple of times. Most Kombucha has a natural fizziness. I wanted to start some and since I don’t know anyone that has a SCOBY I ordered one from Amazon. Isn’t it wonderful to have Amazon around? Oh, you are wondering what a SCOBY is? It means -Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast.
Now, isn’t that an appetizing description? It creates Kombucha.
You can create your own SCOBY but I was looking forward to getting the Kombucha started faster so ordering it was easy and inexpensive. It came in a little plastic package with a bit of liquid and there was the disc shaped SCOBY. It is usually 3 inches in diameter or larger.
Next you need to have a starter. I had to search around a bit to find out what a starter was for Kombucha even the directions that came with the SCOBY said to use “starter” but did not say what the”starter” was. Well, it is either some fresh plain Kombucha or distilled white vinegar. Very important to use distilled white vinegar and not apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar etc. Why not just use bottle of ginger lemonade kombucha for the starter?
Then all your kombucha will be weak ginger lemonade tasting and maybe you want to create some other flavors. Also, very important to use non-chlorinated, pure water.
Start out with a plain tea, black or green is suggested. Why not flavored? Flavored tea tends to have oils in the flavor and this will delay or stop the SCOBY growth.
I have learned that initial Kombucha fermentation process takes 7-20 days approximately. The longer you let it ferment the more acidic it will become. We let our first batch ferment for 7 days.
Day 7 there was a second SCOBY that had formed. We used a bit of Kombucha as a starter for the next batch and since we now had two SCOBY’s we could start two new batches! Hurray! Then comes the fun after the initial fermentation. You can drink it at this point or you can put Kombucha in some Grolsch type bottle(s) for the second fermentation period. This is where the real fun begins, you can create your own flavors, just think of it! One flavor for each bottle! I couldn’t wait! And these bottles will make your kombucha naturally fizzy because they seal it and carbon dioxide builds up.
The second fermentation you can start drinking in 3-4 days or wait a bit more if you are a patient person. The second fermentation does not require little SCOBY’s. For our first go around I chose lemon ginger and apple spice. I cut up half an organic apple, cut up 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick and half of clove. Next time I would add a bit more spice. For the lemon ginger I used 1-inch piece of ginger sliced it a few times and added juice of one lemon with approximately 1 tablespoon of sugar. And sure enough lickety-split within two days there were little bubbles in the jars.
We tasted at three days and smiled at the progress. On day number six we toasted and sipped our yummy Kombucha!
Come along, start some Kombucha with me and we can keep track of the progress ok? Enjoy!
How to Start Kombucha
Step by step guide on how to create your own homemade Kombucha.
- 4 teabags plain black, green or white tea use 2 teabags if making 1 quart
- 1/2 cup white sugar use 1/4 cup for 1 quart batch
- 3-7 cups pure non-chlorinated water
- 1 cup white distilled vinegar or kombucha starter use 1/2 cup for 1 quart batch; must be plain white vinegar
- 1 Active SCOBY
- 1-2 Quart glass jar
1. Steep the teabags in a small amount of hot pure non-chlorinated water, (water does not have to be boiling)
2. Dissolve the sugar in the hot tea water, stir to dissolve.
3. Remove teabags, pour tea into 1- 2 quart clean canning jar, add additional water, check water temperature with food thermometer; it should be 65-85 degrees. If it is too hot or too cold the SCOBY may die.
4. Add SCOBY to jar using a wooden spoon, once the temperature is correct.
Cover top of jar with clean cloth and use rubber band or string to keep cloth on jar.
6. Keep the Kombucha ferment out of direct sunlight.
7. Ferment 7-30 days. I fermented mine 7 days, by the 7th day there was another SCOBY that had formed in the jar.
8. Taste the Kombucha ferment starting day 7 and daily to find out how it is tasting. Fermenting longer will make it become more tart and acidic. NOTE: taste it by taking out some liquid with a wooden spoon not a metal spoon.
9. Once you determine Kombucha is ready, use 1 cup of Kombucha liquid to start another fresh batch or use white distilled vinegar as the starter and repeat the directions.
10. Enjoy your Kombucha (and refrigerate). To add additional flavors please refer to the 2nd ferment process (takes an additional 2-10 days). Yay!
It is important that tea be plain, different types of tea will change the flavor of kombucha. If you use flavored tea these will frequently have oils in the flavorings and this can stop the growth of the SCOBY.
You may think there is mold, but it is just the SCOBY growing, the SCOBY may have tendrils in the tea, this is normal.
2 quart jar is the best don’t try for a gallon size the first two-three fermentation cycles.
Metal should not come in contact with the SCOBY, stainless steel is ok, but regular metal would quickly get corroded due to the acidity of the kombucha.
Taste kombucha by taking out some liquid with a wooden spoon not a metal spoon.
Items used in this recipe:
2 quart canning jars -great size for making first few batches of Kombucha
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