Brewing Kombucha for Beginners
So let’s talk some booch. You know, the booch. Our tangy, cultured, bubbly friend of the fermented variety. Yes, I mean Kombucha. Aka, the booch. Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for the nickname, so I’ll settle with proliferating it.
I recently bought a 6 pack of gasket swing top bottles and transferred my 1st batch of Kombucha into their royal blue bellies. A whole lotta love.
The Nitty Gritty History
Since starting the brew I’ve read more on the particulars surrounding this elixir, and the vast quantity of information, down to the most delicate detail, is astounding. The type of water used, the length of fermentation, the amount of oxygen allowed, the color of the spots forming on the scoby, using vinegar as a starter, blah blah blah. I don’t mean to be sacrilegious, but come on, I just want to make some magic, not start a booch brewery.
So for my own beginner’s sake, and everyone else wanting a simple, jargon-free layout of process and benefits, let me K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid…just in case.)
Despite its more recent celebrity status, Kombucha is quite an ancient beverage, said to have originated in the early 200’s BC in Asia. It was referred to as the Tea of Immortality. It is a combination of water, tea, sugar, and a “mushroom,” or scoby, which is an acronym for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (didn’t know that one either). It goes by other funky names as well, my favorite being the Mama.
Through a fermentation process of 7 days – 3 weeks, depending on your taste preferences, Kombucha is born! The mama will self-propagate, allowing for multiple batches, and/or the sharing of Kombucha mama love. The chart below is a great display for understanding the basic health qualities of this lauded elixir.
How to Make Your Own
There are plenty of websites and books available with extended descriptions of how to brew it, troubleshooting, and experimentation. The Cultures for Health is a site providing free ebooks on numerous fermentation projects. The ebook on Kombucha is a treasure trove for both Kombucha beginners and old timers wanting to go deeper.
***Important note to mention before starting is to NOT allow anything metal to come in contact with the scoby because it can damage it.
Now, a sweetly simple recipe for a u-brew, borrowed from StupidEasyPaleo.
8 black tea bags
1 cup sugar
1 gallon of water
1 gallon glass container
1 a breathable cover eg. – an old t-shirt, towel, layered cheese cloth
Boil 64 oz of water (8 cups) in a large pot.
Add tea bags and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Remove the tea bags.
Add sugar and stir well.
Allow the tea to come to room temperature and pour into a clean one-gallon glass container.
Add 64 oz more water to the jar and place the SCOBY (along with any of the extra liquid it came with) into the container.
Cover with folded cheese cloth or a paper towel, and secure with a rubber band.
Allow the homemade kombucha to ferment in a warm, dark place for 7-14 days. This often depends on how warm it is. You may drink the homemade kombucha tea then or to do a second fermentation. This is usually done by separating the kombucha into smaller, tightly sealed bottles. The gasket top bottles are a favorite. The second fermentation is done to personal preference, but many like to do it for another week.
So if you’re new to the booch brewin’ like me, embrace the beginner status and enjoy!
© 2016 Emily