Now you may be surprised to hear this, but despite how complicated the brewing process of Kombucha may appear it is actually pretty simple and straightforward! Of course just like any new thing that is ventured into there is going to be questions and “I’m not sure”. Hopefully this can shed some light if you are intending on brewing your own batch of Kombucha or just plain curious!
To put it briefly, Kombucha is pretty much just fermented sweet tea that is lightly effervescent and filled with plenty of gut loving probiotics!
So how is it made? Well it starts off with just a few simple ingredients:
- 1 gallon of purified water
- 4 – 6 tea bags
- 1 cup of sugar
- A SCOBY
- Starter liquid (1-2 cups of well-fermented Kombucha)
- Flavoring of your choice (fruit juice, flowers, etc.).
Now for the utensils:
- A tea kettle
- Brewing vessel (at least 1gallon)
- Stirring spoon
- Tight weave cloth and rubber band
- Bottles with tightly closing lids are needed
First the sweet tea needs to be made, it’s pretty much just like making regular tea but on a larger scale. Once the water (about 2 liter) is boiled the tea bags are added and allowed to steep for 7-15 minutes. Then comes the sweetness, sugar is stirred in and allowed to dissolve.
Cool water (about 2 liter) is first added to the brewing vessel to prevent it from heating up followed by the sweet tea! It is important to remember though that the amount of water added to the vessel initially is dependent on the size of your vessel. Additionally, enough room needs to be left at the top of the vessel for the SCOBY reside and an extra 1-2 inches for breathing room. Next, it is important to ensure that the sweet tea and water mixture in the vessel is resting at a body temperature or below – dipping a clean finger into the mixture can be used to check.
The SCOBY followed by starter liquid is added and the vessel is covered with a tight weave cloth and rubber band. The vessel is then placed in a warm and ventilated area (around
24-29°C) away from direct sunlight for about 7-14 days. During this time, the SCOBY may sink to the bottom or rise to the top, however this doesn’t matter as a new culture (known as the baby SCOBY) will start to form on the surface of the liquid. As the days go by, you’ll notice that this layer starts to grow bigger and thicker!
So then, how do you know when Kombucha has been done fermenting? When the time comes to taste, gently insert a straw beneath the SCOBY and take a sip. If it it’s too tart the brewing cycle needs to be reduced next time. If it is too sweet it should be allowed to brew longer until the desired level of taste is reached! The SCOBY is then removed and stored away for further use along with 2 cups of the new starter liquid for the next batch! The Kombucha is then transferred to a bottle with a tight lid where it is ready to be drank after chilling in the fridge or where an optional step of adding fruits and herbs are added to enhance the flavor!
And there you go, that is how Kombucha is made! So by now you can probably tell that even though a lot goes into making a tangy delicious bottle of Kombucha, at its essence, the how-to’s of Kombucha are simple indeed!