Kombucha without the fuss
I only tried kombucha for the first time 3 months ago and I was not impressed. However, when I took into consideration how much carbonated water I drank, the cost of all that carbonated water and the fact the carbonated beverages aren’t great for you, I figured I should give kombucha another try. The health benefits of kombucha are quite significant plus I figured making it on my own might be fun! (If you’re curious as to why kombucha is so good for you keep an eye open for my upcoming post: “What’s the deal with Kombucha?”)
I had asked one of my friends to give me a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) at least 4 months before I had even tried it when when I heard that kombucha was a healthy thing to drink. I had actually never tried kombucha but figured if it was healthy I should make my own (rather than fork out the $8-9 for a bottle of the stuff). However, the SCOBY sat in my fridge for 6 months before I considered pulling it out and making some kombucha. Every time I looked online I was spooked that I would screw it up….and I also thought the SCOBY looked like a shriveled up organ which definitely made me feel even more disinclined to make something with it.
Anyway, I decided to approach it like I approach baking…with a “come-what-may” attitude. I figured I would make it as “sloppily” as possible because if I failed I could blame it on my sloppiness! (Genius!) I bought a 1.5L jar from Dollarama, washed it, threw 2 black 2 bags in, about 1/2 cup of sugar and filled it with boiled water from my kettle. I let it cool, removed the tea bags, threw the SCOBY in, covered it with a linen napkin and hoped for the best.
Day 4 came round and I noticed this clear jelly thing on top (which is the new SCOBY growing) and I decided (very nervously) to taste it. I stuck in a metal spoon (yes, I know you’re told to use a non-metal spoon but I figured that I would not follow anyone’s instructions). It was pleasantly sweet and slightly acidic. Probably still good (but again, remember that I had only ever tasted kombucha once before and I didn’t like it). My roommate told me to leave it for another few days to ferment a bit more and so I left it for another 3 days.
Day 7 came around and I removed the SCOBY (with clean hands) and poured the liquid (actually, I strained my first batch because the floaty things looked so nasty! – ONLY LATER LEARNED IS THAT THOSE FLOATY THINGS ARE THE HEALTHY STRANDS OF BACTERIA!! FAIL, RACHEL!) into a jar with a sealable lid (so it would carbonate). I left it for another 3 days and then put it in the fridge. I immediately started another batch of kombucha with my favourite tea (decaf vanilla chai) hoping that I would like my first batch so much that I’d want more! Given the fact that it takes over a week to brew a single batch I figured better to have kombucha (if I liked it) than have to wait again!.
I drank my first cup of homemade kombucha and was fairly impressed. I didn’t love the stuff but it was better than my first every taste of kombucha 3 months ago. The more I drank of it the more I liked it! Today I pride myself on the fact that I actually drink the floaties and I don’t even grimace!
Interested in brewing your own Kombucha? Here’s my recipe!
- 1 SCOBY
- 1- 1.7L glass jar
- 1 linen napkin (or cheesecloth)
- 1.5L boiled water
- 2-4 teabags (preferably organic black or green tea)
- some kombucha or 1-2tbsp white vinegar
- 1/2-3/4 cup white sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
Mix boiled water, sugar and teabags in clean jar. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool add in your SCOBY (if you add when it’s hot it will kill the SCOBY). Cover with cheesecloth and let it sit in a warm place (room-temperature is fine) for up to 30 days. The longer it sits and the warmer the temperature the more quickly it will ferment. I recommend tasting it 5 days after brewing it to see if you like the taste of fermentation. If not, brew for longer and taste every few days until you like the taste. At this point you can remove the SCOBY and refrigerate. Remember to keep your SCOBY in a little bit of the new kombucha you made to keep it “fresh” or just start a new batch!
If you want your kombucha to be carbonated you will remove the SCOBY (when you like the taste) and pour into a sealed glass jar. You can keep that kombucha at room temperature for 3-5 days (longer if you want) which will allow it to build up pressure. Release the pressure every day or 2 so the bottle won’t burst. Once you get it to the amount of fermentation you like refrigerate and enjoy!