Brew your own Kombucha

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Kombucha has been around for a long time, over a thousand years. Lately it’s been having a revival as fermented foods and drinks are believed to be gut healing super foods. Science still has to prove the health benefits but I’m already a devotee! I personally love the flavours and realness of fermented foods like kombucha, sourdough and cheese. This is why I think you should drink Kombucha! - It tastes amazing! And it’s a good enough reason for me to enjoy it. The flavours are funky and complex, it’s absolutely a grown up drink and it’s lovely to pair with food, just like wine and craft beer. Kombucha is becoming a more common sight on menus in restaurants and bars lately and it’s delicious to mix in cocktails. Try a Gin and Kombucha cocktail if you have the chance, it’s a stellar combination.

Before you start brewing you’ll need to get your hands on a SCOBY, ("symbiotic 'colony' of bacteria and yeast"), ask around if you can get one from a friend, otherwise buy it one online. The SCOBY resembles a jellyfish, and you might feel intimated by its slimy appearance at first, but with each batch of heavenly kombucha you’ll learn to love it, nurture and keep it alive for years, it will be shed a new SCOBY with every new fermentation that you can keep or give away to a friend.

Ok, let’s brew some:

THE BASICS
You need:
time: It takes about 2 - 4 weeks to make a batch. It's real slow food. The fermentation does most of the work.

A SCOBY

Ingredients

First fermentation
1
3.3 litre water
230 ml white sugar
8 tea bags (4 black tea bag and 4 green tea bags)
2 cups starter kombucha, unpasteurized, store-bought or home brewed from an earlier batch.

Second fermentation
additional flavoring, fruit, teas and spices etc. See suggestions below

Equipment
big jar (4 litre), sterilized
cloth & rubber band or string
a funnel
a sieve
bottles and lids

HOW TO:

The tea: Boil the water. Add sugar and let it dissolve. Leave the tea bags in the water until it's cooled. Remove the teabags and add starter tea. Pour the tea mixture into a large jar and carefully add the SCOBY. Cover the opening of the jar with a cloth. Use a rubber band or string to keep a tight fit.

Let the brew ferment for 2 to 3 weeks ( it goes quicker when the temperature is warmer). Leave the jar in a dark corner in room temperature. Check it now and then, (if it smells very bad, something has gone wrong and you should throw away the batch). After a week you can start tasting the kombucha which will be very sweet at first and then gradually become more sour and vinegary, as well as being more fizzy. When you reach a level of sourness and sweetness that you like, then it's time for the second fermentation. This usually occurs after 2 weeks.

Bottle and carbonate for 2-3 days: Remove the SCOBYS from the batch and gently place them in a smaller jar with 2 cups of the kombucha juice. This will be your starter juice for the next batch. Pour kombucha into bottles using a funnel and a sieve or a straining cloth. Leave 1-2 cm of space at the top for additional flavourings. Add pieces of fruit, herbs, juices or other flavoring that you can think of. Make sure the lids are firmly closed and set the bottles aside for 2-3 days for a second fermentation. The kombucha carbonates during this period. Stop the fermentation process on the second or third day by refridgerating. Leave in the fridge until serving, wait at least 10 hours before drinking. Drink within a month.

 

Sunshine brew

Peach flavoured kombucha
Golden, sweet, and a real flirty summer kombucha.

INGREDIENTS:
1 peach
1 bottle of kombucha ( all measures work)
How to:
Add pieces of peach to a bottle of kombucha when you start the second fermentation.

Green Kaboom!

Mint and lime flavored kombucha
Fresh as toothpaste! But way tastier, a grown up taste according to my mini survey at home.
my favorite out of these flavors. I like special flavors often. Not everyone does.

INGREDIENTS:
1 lime
5-6 leaves of mint
1 bottle of kombucha ( all measures work)
How to:
Add mint leaves and lime pieces to a bottle of kombucha when you start the second fermentation.

Indigo dreams

Blueberry flavored kombucha

INGREDIENTS:
a handful of blueberries, washed and halved
1 bottle of kombucha ( all measures work)
How to:
Add the pieces of blueberries to a bottle of kombucha when you start the second fermentation.

Apple & ginger remedy

Apple and ginger flavored kombucha

INGREDIENTS:
1 apple, cut into pieces, seeds removed
1 tsp of fresh ginger root, finely sliced
1 bottle of kombucha (all measures work)
How to:
Add pieces of apple and ginger to a bottle of kombucha when you start the second fermentation.

Enjoy!

Reading tip: There is an excellent book about "Wild fermentation" by Sandor Ellix Katz, he's  one of the advocates of kombuchas greatness and an expert on wild fermentation, you can buy his book here.

This guide to making your own kombucha used to be on the old blog in the serie Slow Sundays.

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