In our home we love kombucha. It surprised me that my three-year-old would love it as much as me.
In the store a small bottle will run you about $4, and making it at home costs only pennies. The tricky part is you will need a SCOBY for the fermenting process. A SCOBY is a pancake looking thing made up of yeast and bacteria. Sounds kinda gross, but you’ll just need to get over that.
Each batch of kombucha will yield you with another SCOBY. Sometimes they are referred to as a mother and a baby.
If you have a friend who brews the stuff, they’ll gladly give you one. If not you can grow your own. I’ve done both.
To grow your own SCOBY, boil two litres of water add a couple black tea bags and stir in 1/2 cup of white sugar. Let cool to room temperature and add two bottles of unflavoured kombucha from the store. Cover with cheesecloth or a tea towel and secure with an elastic. Let it sit in a warm dark place (like a closet) for about one month. When you have a SCOBY about 1 cm thick you are ready to brew.
Once you have a SCOBY (an acronym for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) you are ready for your first brew.
A SCOBY is a living creature and be sure to treat it with care
1. Boil four litres of water.
2. Add two or three black tea bags. Note this must be plain tea with nothing added. Flavours including Earl Grey will kill your SCOBY.
3. Stir in one cup of white sugar. This is the only time we even use white sugar in my house. Don’t worry though it’s not for your body, the SCOBY eats it. You can experiment with other sweeteners if you want. Don’t use raw honey because it’s antibacterial properties will kill your SCOBY.
4. Remove the tea bags and let the sugar tea mixture sit covered until it’s reached room temperature.
5. Pour in about 1 cup of kombucha and add the SCOBY to the top of your jar. Cover with a cloth and secure with an elastic. Put in a warm dark place and wait about two weeks.
In warmer months the fermentation will occur faster.
6. When it’s ready you’ll have a fizzy delicious beverage.
You can store it in pop-top beer bottles or jars in the fridge.
If you want get really fancy you can add fruit juice to a finished brew. When you remove the SCOBY add some juice, maybe 500 ml to 4 litres. Cover and let sit at room temperature for two more days. Then move to the fridge. My favourite blend is apple.