Kickass Kombucha

Ruth had been intrigued with the possibility of making our own kombucha for along time when she saw an ad on a community FB page by someone in our village offering to trade a scoby for a large pack of paper towels! Needless to say, we had to try it. Of course, you can make your own scoby too, if you want.  After looking for a recipe that was easy to follow, we tried this one.

Here’s how we rated it:

Look: (5.0 / 5)
Smell: (4.0 / 5)
Taste: (5.0 / 5)
Ease of Prep: (4.0 / 5)
Friends & Family: (4.0 / 5)
Average: (4.4 / 5)

KickAss Kombucha by Live Eat Learn

TO MAKE YOUR OWN SCOBY

Ingredients:

7 cups (1.6 L) clean water
½ cup (100 g) white sugar
4 bags black tea (or 1 Tbsp loose tea)
1 cup (235 mL) unpasteurized, unflavored store-bought kombucha
A large glass or ceramic jar (I used two ½ gallon (1.8 L) glass jars to make two SCOBYs using this recipe, but anything holding at least ½ gallon will do)
Tightly woven cloth (coffee filters, paper towels, napkins, ultra fine cheesecloth)
Rubberbands

Directions;

  1. Bring water to a boil in a clean pot. Remove from heat and dissolve sugar into it.
  2. Add the tea and allow to steep while water cools to room temperature (a few hours). Only when water is at room temperature (test by drawing out some water with a straw), is it ready to work with!
  3. Pour the sweetened tea into your jar(s), then pour store-bought kombucha in (if you’re using two jars, pour ½ of the storebought kombucha into each), making sure to include any little gunkies that may be at the bottom. These are good!
  4. Cover with a few layers of the tightly woven cloth (keeps out bugs and debris) and secure with a rubber band.
  5. Set somewhere dark, still, and room temperature (70-75 degrees F, 21-24 C), like a cupboard, for 1 to 4 weeks, until a ¼ inch (½ cm) SCOBY has formed.
  6. Keep SCOBY in its original tea until you’re ready to brew your first batch. The SCOBY should live and grow for years if treated with love. The tea you used to make the SCOBY, however, is very vinegary and should be tossed. Don’t use this tea as the starter to your first fermentation!

TO MAKE KOMBUCHA (the first fermentation)

Ingredients:

14 cups (3.5 quarts, 3.3 L) clean water
1 cup (200 g) white sugar
8 bags black or green tea (or 2 Tbsp loose leaf)
2 cups (470 mL) unflavored starter tea (either from a previous batch or unpasteurized, unflavored store-bought kombucha)
1 or 2 SCOBYs (depending on how many containers you’re using, 1 per container)
A large glass or ceramic jar (two jars holding at least ½ gallon (1.9 L) each, or one jug holding at least 1 gallon (3.7 L))
Tightly woven cloth (coffee filters, paper towels, napkins, ultra fine cheesecloth)
Rubberbands

Directions:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a clean pot. Remove from heat and dissolve sugar into it.
  2. Add the tea and allow to steep while water cools to room temperature (a few hours). Only when water is at room temperature. Again, MUST be room temperature. Don’t risk killing your SCOBY in hot water.
  3. With hands AS CLEAN AS A SURGEON’S (really clean), gently remove your SCOBY from the tea and place on an equally as clean plate. You can rinse out the jar if you want (without soap), but it’s not necessary.
  4. Pour the sweetened tea into your jar(s), then pour in starter kombucha (if you’re using two jars, pour ½ of the starter kombucha into each).
  5. Gently place SCOBY into jar then cover with a few layers of the tightly woven cloth and secure with a rubber band.
  6. Set the jar(s) somewhere dark, still, and room temperature (70-75 degrees F, 21-24 C) for anywhere from 6 to 10 days. Begin tasting the tea at about 6 days by gently drawing out some of the tea with a straw. It should be mildly sweet and slightly vinegary.  The warmer the air temperature, the faster the kombucha will ferment. The longer the tea ferments, the more sugar molecules will be eaten up, the less sweet it will be.
  7. Reserve 2 cups from this batch to use as starter kombucha for your next batch (just leave it in the jar with SCOBY(s) and make your new batch within a few days. The rest can move into the second and final fermentation.

TO MAKE YOUR KOMBUCHA FIZZY (the second fermentation)

Ingredients:

Homemade kombucha from the first fermentation
Sweetener (fruit, honey, or sugar). Here are a few ideas per 1 cup kombucha:
1 to 2 Tbsp mashed fruit or fruit juice
A slice of orange
1 to 2 tsp honey
a piece of peppermint candy
a piece of candied ginger
A few fermenting bottles (bottles meant for fermentation have an airtight seal, which will prevent carbonation from escaping. If you don’t have these, canning jars will do an alright job, though they aren’t truly airtight.)

Directions:

  1. Strain kombucha and funnel into bottles, leaving about 1 1/2 inches as the top (3.8 cm).
  2. Add your chosen sweetener and seal tightly with lid.
  3. Let ferment somewhere dark and room temperature for 3 to 10 days.
  4. If desired, strain out fruit before serving. Place in fridge to slow the carbonation process.

SUMMARY:
First, it is VERY IMPORTANT to review and follow this recipe as posted on the author’s website! She provides a ton of tips and tricks to ensure your success and to help you understand the process. After you complete the process the first time, it becomes pretty quick and easy.  The one thing we learned from the lady who gave us the scoby was that the top of your refrigerator can be an excellent location for your first fermentation. We love to flavour our kombucha with organic concord grape or black cherry juice and it tastes just as good as what we have bought at the store! If you try this recipe, be sure to comment and let us know how your’s turned out.

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