When I’m sharing with friends, I make them try it before telling how it’s made or what it is. My suggestion to you is the same.
First and foremost, if you’re one of those people, pause and click here and go try our Lawrence local brew. THEN, pleasantly delighted, you’ll definitely want to read the rest of my post and brew your own. On the rare chance you don’t like it, then you would just have simply supported the local economy – Cheers!
But most likely you’re either my friend and I’ve made you try it or you’r a random stranger searching the interwebs to find a kombucha recipe because you tried it and loved it.
So here we are. Let me go on with explaining what kombucha really is.
Kombucha. Once known as an “Immortal health Elixir” by the ancient Chinese, this drink has finally made it into the hands of us westerns.
Despite that it’s been around for nearly 2000 years, the travelers of the west likely resisted or had a hard time stomaching how it’s made. This drink has been fermented by symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeast a SCOBY or “mother”. Sounds scary? Maybe. Especially if you aren’t familiar with fermented foods and the word just reminds you of something rotting.
To help ease your apprehension, let me tell you that fermentation is a great thing!
Various microorganisms gain energy as certain items of food sit in the right temperature and fermentation occurs. Fermentation is used to make various food products such as leavened bread, vinegar, beer, wine, etc. (See, don’t be scared, you like those.)
The specific food item is determined by what microorganism is carrying on the process and in which substance the fermentation occurs.
Simply put, the microorganisms in kombucha are yeast and other bacteria (SCOBY) and the substance is tea and raw sugar.
The SCOBY forms like a mushroom and floats at the top of the tea. While I have enjoyed watching my “scobe” grow and mother my kombucha, my husband cringes at the thought of something with bacteria or floaties in it, nonetheless, he enjoys its natural fizz and tang!
Even if this BUCH (what Riley and I now call this fabulous drink) didn’t taste great (but it does…), I believe many would be adopting it and drinking it regularly because of other benefits.
Many studies I’ve read have said that kombucha has health benefits such as:
- joint care,
- aids digestion and gut health,
- and is immune boosting.
Enough benefits to get you wanting to skip to the recipe? It does me!
What You’ll Need for Kombucha
Kombucha is made from sweet tea, so first you need true tea, I mean, it should be from the camellia sinensis. I use loose-leaf black tea, however, you may use teas such as oolong, green tea or pu erh.
You need organic, unrefined, sugar. Don’t you stop reading here! The sugar is not for you, rather it is used to feed the microorganisms in the kombucha. Most of it will be eaten up by the things and barely any will remain.
You’ll then need a mother SCOBY this is the flat pancake looking mushroom, kombucha is most familiarized by. You can either purchase this online, get from a friend, or lastly just let your sweet tea combined with a bottle of store bought organic, raw kombucha (no added flavors) and let sit until it forms it’s own.
A continuous brew dispenser. I have a gallon glass jar. I recommend not getting one with either plastic or metal contact because this may inhibit the help of your kombucha culture. You’ll need either a cheesecloth or I use coffee filters to cover the top of the jar secured by a rubber band.
4 to 6 tablespoons loose-leaf black tea
13 cups filtered water
1 cup organic unrefined sugar (I use coconut sugar)
1 kombucha mother a.k.a SCOBY
1 cup kombucha tea from previous batch (optional)
Bring 3 cups of water plus sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Stir continuously until the sugar is dissolved. Take off the burner and add loose-leaf tea.
Let tea steep for 30 minutes.
Strain tea and add sweet tea to gallon jar. Fill the glass jar with the rest of the 10 cups filtered water. Make sure the sweet tea is room temperature then add the kombucha mother. Cover the top of the jar with a coffee filter or cheesecloth with a rubber band and let sit on your counter top for about a week.
After a week, draw off up to 25% of the kombucha, bottle it, and replace it with an equivalent amount of sweet tea. After the initial week of fermentation, you can draw off kombucha as frequently as you like – usually 1 to 3 times a week – as long as you replace it with an equivalent amount of tea.
To bottle the kombucha, pour your kombucha into a flip-top bottle, adding up to 1/4 cup sweet tea or fruit juice to the bottle. Close the bottle and allow it to ferment a further 2 to 3 days. You may want to “burp” the bottle once or twice a day to elevate pressure. To do this simply remove and replace the lid. This keeps the bottle from building up too much pressure and exploding. Not cool.
Then transfer to the fridge and consume when you like.
See above, “What you’ll need for Kombucha.”