Its brew day…
I brew my Kombucha about every 2 weeks. I have been making it for about 3 years. I learned from my friends, the online world, and a fabulous book “The Big Book of Kombucha”. There are so many ways to brew. I have tried multiple ways. It can be quite manageable and it is so much cheaper than buying Kombucha regularly. Brew time is different for everyone. It depends on the maturity of your culture, the temperature of your house or where you keep your brew, what you use to feed the culture… etc.
I try to keep my brew process as simple as possible. Kombucha is brewed using water, tea, sugar, and a mother culture or scoby. My husband Matt named my scoby “Scoby Bryant” years ago (get it? Scoby…. Kobe….). It stuck, it makes me smile.
Ingredients: (first ferment)
1 gallon water ( I read it should be distilled, I boil mine, steep the tea in it and go for it, I have never had a problem)
1 cup of sugar (any sugar works)
5 tea bags or 1/4 cup of loose leaf tea (I change the tea I use between green and black)
Scoby and 1 cup of fermented liquid
Ingredients: (second ferment options)
Sweet herbal tea
1 wide mouth gallon jar ( I have 2 and it makes my process simpler and easier)
Flour sack towel
Wooden Kombucha only spoon
Various bottles with ability to seal and handle pressure
I can’t stress this enough, things must be clean clean clean. I do a lot of sanitizing, washing things with really hot water. If your brew or scoby get contaminated you can get mold, fungus, and fruit flies.
Boil water. Boil 1 gallon water and steep tea or tea bags in the water, I do this in my gallon jar. While the water is still hot, add the sugar and stir to dissolve completely. I have a wooden spoon that I only use for Kombucha. Its good to keep things separated. Also I have heard its not good to use metal with Kombucha. Glass or ceramic for your fermenting containers. Avoid metal when you can. You are creating a hot sweat tea. Allow tea to steep at least 5-10 minutes and remove tea bags. While the tea is steeping if you have a brew that is ready for its second ferment this is a good time to sterilize your jars and set them out. Once the tea mixture has cooled you can add the scoby and the 1 cup of fermented liquid. If you add this when the tea mixture is too hot you can kill your scoby. Cut a piece of flour sack towel in a square and secure using a rubberband over the mouth of the jar. Get creative if you are using a different type of container: t-shirt, bandana, full cloth towel. The culture needs some air but you have to keep pests out.
Allow your brew to ferment in a dark space at room temp for 7-21 days, however long it takes. I taste mine about every week to see if it is ready. This is the hardest part. Some people like their booch sweeter so they ferment less time. I like mine more sour and vinegary so I ferment longer. If your house is warm it will take less time. I keep my house at a sweltering 62 degrees. Saves money and I don’t have to brew as often. Layers! My dad taught me that. Also, did you know keeping a cooler house decreases your risk of getting sick in the winter? Bacteria thrive in 70+ degree climates. Fun facts. Back to booch.
When its time for your second ferment you should have tasted your brew and be able to smell a sweet vinegary smell. The second ferment is just as easy as the first unless you want it to be more complicated. There are so many options of how you can flavor booch: syrups, juices, fresh fruit, preserves, sweet teas, you name it. I love using syrups- huckleberry is my favorite. Juices are easy peasy- I use organic fresh or from concentrate, usually I use lemonade. I have made booch using chopped fresh fruit to flavor but I get inconsistent results. Best options for fruit are berries. I have used multiple types of preserves but often find better results if I make the preserves (ginger blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, raspberry, pear cardamom) Its your world! I also love to brew herbal tea, add more sugar to that and use it to flavor. This is my favorite part, I love coming up with the flavors. So far my favorite way is infused herb lemonade. If you are adding things that don’t dissolve you do need to strain eventually. The second ferment does need sugar, either from the juice, syrup, preserves, fruit or added tea. You wont get the carbonation without the sugar. By the time you drink the booch, the sugar content should be almost none.
You are ready for your second ferment! Remove the scoby from your brew and set it aside with a cup of liquid. Line up your clean jars, use a funnel with a small strainer and transfer liquid to the the jars. Add your juice or whatever you are using to flavor. Seal the jars tightly, rinse any sugary tea from the sides. Place at room temperature for 3 days. After 3 days strain if you need to and reseal- do not leave the spent fruit in the jar. Reseal tightly and place in the refrigerator. Kombucha will keep in the fridge for a month or two.