03. Homemade Kombucha – take 2

When life seems a bit topsy-turvy, why not attempt to make homemade kombucha? I have been wanting to make kombucha for years now. Long before kombucha became a trendy thing in the health food sections of most supermarkets, I worked for a wonderful lady who was quietly making her own kombucha at home. At the time, I didn’t give it much thought as to the process involved or the health benefits, but I did remember helping her to bottle her batches and the oddly tasty drink.

As the years have gone by, I remembered that drink and was quite amazed when it started to become trendy in the health food circles – especially with the ease of store bought brands. The expense though of store bought kombucha is huge! Especially when I remember it being relatively easy to create at home (or so I thought).

Kombucha is a fermented, lightly effervescentsweetened black or green tea drink commonly consumed for its purported health benefits. Sometimes the beverage is called kombucha tea to distinguish it from the culture of bacteria and yeast. Juice, spices, fruit or other flavorings are often added to enhance the taste of the beverage.

Wikipedia

There are plenty of sites with a wealth of information about Kombucha, therefore I am simply going to detail my current experience and my future hopeful successes when it comes to brewing my own kombucha at home.

My first attempt at brewing my own kombucha was an abysmal failure! I had no idea what I was doing and a wonderfully kind friend gave me a starter ‘kit’ containing – a 16 cup (approx.) glass jar, a bottle of store bought kombucha with the ‘mother’ still in it and a huge SCOBY!

SCOBY is the commonly used acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast

Wikipedia

I followed a recipe – thought I did as directed, but in my kombucha naivete – I made some colossal errors – such as “I SHOOK MY KOMBUCHA” and “I USED METAL WHEN BREWING AND CHECKING ON MY KOMBUCHA” .. these errors as well as constantly checking my batch, resulted in the ultimate kombucha sin…

I contaminated my SCOBY!

Unfortunately, during one of my numerous checks, I noticed some greenish white fuzzy spots on the edge of my scoby. I knew it was mold, but tried to convince myself it would simply disappear if I finally left my kombucha alone to ferment quietly undisturbed. Alas, it was not to be. After a two week wait, I was dismayed to discover a scoby completely overcome with these horrible greenish spots and a brew which smelled so bad I literally gagged.

After a big clean-up, and a very long wait, I’ve decided to try again. This time I don’t have the gift of a scoby and so needed to figure out if it was possible to grow my own. Youtube to the rescue and I found a wonderful video – like a food lullaby – from Yori House:

Yori House – a food lullaby about homemade scoby and kombucha

I felt confident in my ability to grow my own scoby and eventually brew my own kombucha, so armed with my bottle of GT’s Synergy Raw Kombucha – Gingerade Flavor as I couldn’t find unflavored options – Yori House knowledge, a 4 liter glass jar and the recipe from my friend, I decided to give it another try.

Kombucha Recipe

DO NOT USE ANY METAL PRODUCTS

  • 16 cups boiling water
  • 5 black tea bags (DO NOT USE DECAF OR FLAVOURED)
  • Steep for 20 minutes and remove bags
  • Stir in 2 cups of sugar (refined or cane or a mixture of 1 cup raw unpasteurized honey + 1 cup sugar)
  • Cool sweetened tea to room temperature
  • Pour 1 to 2 cups RAW kombucha starter (must have active ‘mother’) into 4 liter glass jar (store bought or left over from previous batch)
  • IF YOU HAVE A SCOBY – PLACE IT ON TOP AFTER REMOVING ANY DARK UNDER LAYER – ONLY HANDLE SCOBY AFTER RINSING FINGERS IN VINEGAR!
  • Cover with cotton cloth or coffee filter and secure with elasitic band
  • Let stand at room temperature in a warm dark place

At this point, the timings vary – my recipe says for 5 – 7 days, but I think with this amount and depending on room temperature and how healthy/active your scoby is, it may take much longer to create the taste you are looking for.

Kombucha shouldn’t taste sweet. Even with that amount of sugar added, the scoby uses it up in the fermentation process. It is not a sugary drink. Also, as I am attempting to grow my own scoby, it may take much longer until anything happens. For this batch, I will be checking on it weekly – especially to see if/when a scoby does form on the top of my brew. Fingers crossed it does work this time and I have the patience to leave it alone!

(Raw honey is melting in the glass measuring cup hooked over the side of my large cast iron pot)

The next time I write about my Kombucha I hope to have wonderful news for everyone! I will then include the next stage of the recipe – second fermentation. This is the stage where you can add flavorings and also adjust the carbonation to suit your tastes!

I would love to hear from anyone who has started their own scoby and/or brew their own kombucha.


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2 Comments on “03. Homemade Kombucha – take 2

  1. Pingback: 04. Mahone Bay, Carrot Cake & Kombucha Update – kids on the trek

  2. Pingback: 05. Kombucha – the Next Step – kids on the trek

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