How to Make Kombucha

Kombucha

Kombucha (kom-BOO-cha) is a modern Power Food that is traditionally a handmade Chinese tea that is cultured for up to 30 days. During this time, magic happens! Essential nutrients including active enzymes, probiotics, amino acids, antioxidants and polyphenols appear, that are all great for your health.  A wonderfully restorative beverage to support your digestive system, immunity and happy hormones all at once! All you have to do is simply enjoy!

Power Food: Kombucha

Prep Time: 15 min. | Cook Time: 0 min. | Total Time: 8-13+ days wait  | Serves: 16 | Serving Size: 1 cup (8 oz.)  |  Makes: ~1 gallon (16 cups)

Free From: Gluten, Dairy, Soy

Ingredients:

  • 16 cups water, filtered
  • 8 bags *tea or 2 Tbsp. of loose tea
  • 1 cup sugar, organic (I know not to worry as most of this is used up during the fermentation process) or honey, raw; or even stevia
  • 2 cups kombucha tea, plain (from your last batch or store-bought)
  • 1 **scoby disc per fermentation jar or make your own (link)
  • Infusions of Choice: 1-2 cups fruit, chopped; 2-3 cups fruit juice, unsweetened; 1-2 Tbsp. flavoured tea (like Earl Grey); ¼ cup honey, raw; 2-4 Tbsp. fresh herbs or spices (ginger works well)

Equipment:

  • Large stock pot
  • Fermentation Jar: 1-gallon glass jar or two 2-quart glass jars
  • Tea Towel (tightly woven fabric to prevent flies from enjoying your kombucha!) & Elastic: to cover the jar
  • Storage Bottles: 6-16 oz. glass bottles with lids
  • Small funnel

 

Directions:

  1. Tea: Bring the water to a boil in a large stockpot on high heat. Remove from heat and add in the tea bags and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Let tea steep for 15 minutes and then discard the tea bags. Let cool, which takes about an hour (you can place the pot in an ice bath to speed up the process).
  2. Fermentation: Once the tea is cooled, pour it into the fermenting jar(s) and add the pre-made kombucha (making the liquid acidic, which helps to prevent unfriendly bacterial growth) and **scoby disc(s). Cover with the tea towel and elastic. Keep the jar(s) at room temperature, away from direct sunlight for 7-10 days to allow the fermentation process to take place. After 7 days taste the kombucha daily and when it reaches the right balance of sweetness and tartness to your liking, you are ready to move to the next step. Some people enjoy a stronger flavour by fermenting for up to 30 days. Note- the warmer the environment the less time the fermentation process takes.
  3. Next Batch Prep: Pour out 2 cups of kombucha as the starter for your next batch, if desired. Use the scoby disc right away or store it in a ready-made kombucha in a glass container for use later.
  4. Infusions: Add your infusions of choice (if you are not using any you can skip this step) and let stand at room temperature for an additional one to two days and then strain. You can also add your infusions just before serving.
  5. Bottling: Pour the kombucha into the storage bottles using the funnel. For maximum carbonation or “bubbles” let the sealed bottles stand at room temperature for an additional 1-3 days. For the quick version place in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then enjoy! Kombucha last for about one month in the refrigerator.

 

P.S. Although this may look intimidating, after you have done this initially it’s really easy to make! For the “fast pass” you can also purchase ready-made kombucha at your local health food store.

*Health Buzz: Kombucha:

  • *Tea Options: You can use black tea, green tea, oolong, herbal or a mix works well, keeping some black tea in the combination at all times. Avoid using earl grey or flavoured teas with some oils.
  • **Scoby (“symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”): I know you’re wondering what is this?! Well it’s a jelly-like layer of cellulose that develops at the top of the kombucha that acts like a starter to this process, thanks to its kombucha rich forming bacteria and yeast. You can pick this up at your health food store, on-line or make your own (see below). Most often a scoby disk can be found in a vacuumed-sealed pouch.
  • Metal Pots: For best results limit the time the kombucha sits in a metal pot (especially aluminum), as it tends to take on a metal taste and reduces the life of the scoby if left too long.
  • Batch Size: If you’re anything like me you like to be efficient with your time, so you’ll often find me making double or triple batches! To increase or decrease the amount of kombucha you make just keep the ratio of the ingredients the same. For each gallon batch use 1 cup of sugar, 8 bags or 2 Tbsp. of tea and 2 cups “starter tea”. One scoby will ferment any size batch, although larger batches will take longer.
  • Kombucha Pause: If you are taking a break from making kombucha, simply store the scoby in a fresh batch of the tea base with “starter tea” in the refrigerator. Change the tea for a fresh batch every 4 to 6 weeks.

 

Troubleshooting Kombucha:

  • **Scoby: During the fermentation process the scoby (“mother”) may float to the top, bottom or side. A new cream-coloured layer of scoby (“baby”) will start forming. The new scoby (“baby”) may attach to the old or be separated and you may see brown stringy bits floating beneath the scoby which are all signs of healthy fermentation. If your scoby develops holes, bumps, dried patches, darker brown patches, or clear jelly-like patches, it is still good to use. Usually these are just signs of changes in the environment of your kitchen versus a concern with the scoby. Every few batches peel off the new “baby” or bottom layer of the scoby and store in a little pre-made kombucha. This can be used to start a new batch of kombucha or given to a friend to start their own. It will remain “active” for approximately 2 weeks when stored at room temperature. The “mother” scoby can continue to be used in new batches for approximately a month after its first use.
  • Kombucha: Kombucha normally begins with a neutral aroma and then moves to a more vinegary aroma as the fermentation progresses. If it smells cheesy, rotten or otherwise unpleasant, it is a sign that the process has not worked properly. If there is no mold (black or green) on the scoby, just discard the liquid and begin the process again from step one onward. If there are signs of mold on the scoby or you are unsure discard everything and begin with completely new ingredients.
  • Caution: Most people can enjoy the benefits of drinking kombucha without any ill effect. It is important to use sterile equipment and high quality ingredients when making homemade kombucha to avoid contamination. A small percentage of people especially those with already compromised digestion or immunity have experienced digestive concerns or allergies with kombucha thus begin with small amounts and assess. Note: There is a small amount of alcohol ( less than 1%) that is formed during the fermentation process.

 

Nutritional Facts: Calories 30 | Total Fat 0 g | Saturated Fat 0 g | Monounsaturated Fat 0 g | Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g  | Cholesterol  0  mg | Sodium 10 mg |  Potassium 22 mg |  Total Carbohydrate 7 g | Dietary Fiber 0 g | Protein 0 g |  Sugar  2 g | *Folate 14.5%  | *Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 10% |  Lactobacillus Bacterium ½  billion cfu and S. Boulardii ½ billion cfu  |  Antioxidants & Organic Acids (EGCG 50 mg ; Glucuronic Acid 5 mg; L (+) Lactic Acid 14.5 mg; Acetic Acid 15 mg)

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


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