Making kombucha is a labour of love. But once you start making kombucha, you’ll find that it gives much more than it takes. Every time you make another Kombucha batch, your SCOBY will clone itself and create more SCOBYs. You can use your new SCOBYS to brew wackier flavours of Kombucha, give them away as birthday presents or experiment with SCOBY fashion and face washes. Your choice.
Makes as much or as little as you like.
Black or green tea (3 bags per litre of water or loose tea)
100g sugar per litre.
Freshly filtered water
Some raw kombucha or apple cider vinegar 50-100ml per litre.
Kombucha SCOBY from a friend or purchased online, or grown from some raw kombucha. Growing your own may take about a week.
A large wide-mouth glass jar, about 3 litres
Glass bottles with stoppers
We recommend visiting https://happykombucha.co.uk where you’ll find everything you need.
In a large wide-mouth glass jar, make a strong tea with boiling water, using roughly 3 tea bags per litre, until the jar is half full. Kombucha fermentation is an aerobic process, meaning it needs to be in contact with air, which is why we recommend using a wide-mouth jar.
Now add sugar to the strong tea and stir well until it dissolves. We suggest about 100g of sugar per litre, but it’s best to taste as you go.
Once dissolved, remove the tea bags, and top up the glass jar to just over three-quarters full with cold water.
The infusion should now be warm, which is cool enough for you to add the raw kombucha – about 50–100ml per litre – and the SCOBY. If you don’t have any raw kombucha, use raw apple cider vinegar, but only about 30ml per litre.
The SCOBY will float happily to the top, sink, or sit on its side. All are fine, as long as within a few days a SCOBY has settled or formed on the top of the sweet tea. If no SCOBY forms you will have to start again.
Cover your jar with a piece of muslin and secure with a rubber band. This will keep the fruit flies away and reduce the risk of mould. Leave your kombucha to ferment in a warm, airy but not sun-drenched spot, at about 24–30°C. If it’s cold, your ferment will take many weeks; when warm, between 10 and 14 days.
Insert a straw to the side and underneath the SCOBY every day or other day and taste your kombucha. When it’s just the right level of sweet-sour, remove the SCOBY using your hands and place it in a bowl, immersed in some of the newly made kombucha. This SCOBY and the liquid are now ready to be added to a new batch of freshly made sweetened tea. And so the cycle continues.
Before you bottle, give you kombucha a big stir. This will mix in the yeast which usually sits at the bottom and help to make it fizzy.
You can bottle this plain kombucha, or you can flavour it. If you are keeping it plain, fill bottles to about seven-eighths full, seal and refrigerate, or if you want some fizz, leave out at room temperature in a cardboard box for a few days to carbonate. Once pressurised, refrigerate.
Fill your bottles to about three-quarters full, and then add whatever flavours you like. We recommend ginger. It’s flavour compliments plain kombucha and it contains a lively selection of its own lactic acid bacteria and yeasts. You can also try pomegranate juice, turmeric and ginger, mint and lime. The options are endless.
When you’ve finished flavouring, seal the bottles, and leave them out at room temperature for 2–3 days until pressurised. Refrigerate.
Always label your bottles with the date bottled and its flavour. If you don’t you will soon lose control of your stock and won’t know which to drink first!
In principle, for a good fizz, keep your bottled kombucha for about 2 weeks before opening.
USE SUGAR, REAL SUGAR.
Kombucha is a living drink made with a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), therefore it has to be treated like any living thing. With care. The bacteria and yeast like to be in a warm, acidic environment, and they need two things to flourish and do their magic. Tea and sugar. It needs to be real tea (black or green) and real sugar. No herbal tea, rooibos or other tea alternative works. And the same goes for sugar. The yeast can only survive when you feed it real sugar. The purer, the better. So, don’t feed your SCOBY coconut sugar or stevia because it won’t thrive, in fact it will starve bacteria and yeast.
You’re in rude health when...you’re effervescent. You like big booch and you cannot lie. You’re a mighty booch.