Kombucha is a staple in our home. We drink it plain, we drink it flavored. No matter how you like it, you can make kombucha at home easily and affordably.
Everything about kombucha is unbelievable. When I tell folks I drink kombucha, they respond with, “What’s kombucha?”
When I tell them that you need to start with a mushroom, they ask, “You ferment a mushroom?”
And then when I try to explain that it’s not a true mushroom, that the start is actually called a SCOBY, they respond with, “Now, you’ve lost me!”
I was first introduced to kombucha with the tale that this miraculous drink prevented the residents of a certain Ukrainian village from becoming ill from radiation exposure following an accident at a Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986. One source described the incident as the “most disastrous single nuclear event in history.” Chernobyl is now a ghost town.
How true this claim is, I have no idea. But the thought that a drink I could make in my own kitchen could possess such health supporting properties intrigued me enough that I had to give it a go. And it was a hit, at least with me.
The Family and Kombucha
I love kombucha. With that first sip, I thought, “Hmm. Tastes kind of like champagne.” It has a slight effervescence that will replace your desire for carbonated beverages. I could drink it instead of water.
My family, not so much. Then a son returned from the mission field to find that tell-tale bowl on the counter. He was ecstatic. In fact, I couldn’t make it fast enough to keep him and me in supply. You see, he was introduced to this amazing thirst-quenching drink at the mission where he worked and it helped him to stay hydrated in the tropical climate.
I’m sure by now you want to know how to make kombucha. Well, hold on to your hat, because I’m going to tell you.
How to Make Kombucha
To make kombucha you need a SCOBY (also called a mushroom or mother). It is the start that will begin the fermentation process. SCOBY is an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. (Maybe I’ll explain that in another post.) You can get a SCOBY from a kombucha-loving friend, or order it from a distributor.
You will also need:
• Three quarts of water
• Four to five black tea bags
• One to one and a half cups of white sugar
• Six ounces of kombucha as a starter
• A large clear glass bowl that will hold a gallon or a gallon jar
• Thin tea towel or piece of muslin
• Bring the water to a boil.
• Add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved.
• Remove your pot from the heat and add four to five black tea bags.
• Let them steep for 10 minutes.
• Remove the tea bags and let the tea cool for about 20 minutes.
• Pour tea into a clear glass container.
• Once the tea reaches room temperature, add the starter kombucha and place the SCOBY on top to float.
• Cover the bowl or jar with a thin, cotton cloth (You will need to secure it with a rubber band to keep it from blowing off or falling in the bowl.) and allow to sit for seven to 10 days.
• When the kombucha is done, remove the SCOBY and its baby (it will create a new one and they will be attached) and strain the liquid through a muslin-lined funnel or fine-mesh strainer into a glass jar. Save your SCOBY’s to make your next batch.
The Second Ferment
If you look at other places online, you will find folks discussing second ferments. I have done this, and the process can actually improve the flavor of your kombucha. In fact, since I started practicing second ferment, the rest of my family can’t get enough kombucha either.
To second ferment, you place some fresh or dried berries, grated ginger, sliced lemons or limes, or whatever strikes your fancy, in the bottom of a quart jar. Pour the kombucha over the top and apply the lid. Let sit for a few days. (You need to remember to burp the lids a few times a day so that the jar does not explode!) This process infuses the fruit flavor into the kombucha and increases the carbonation in the drink.
So how about you? Have you tried kombucha? Do you make your own? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.
To read more about kombucha, visit the following posts: