Kombucha is a wonderful drink to aide in replenishing probiotics. It's also a great substitute for soda and alcohol if you don't want to drink. There are many other claimed health benefits that some people swear by. I honestly do it for the reasons I just mentioned. Pictured below is my daughter and my favorite flavor, hibiscus.
Making kombucha is easy once you have a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) You can find plenty available for sale at Amazon. I have had the best luck for the past years making large batches of the brew. I like to use a porcelain dispenser with a spout. You can also do this in 2 quart ball jars, but I think it's more work and they are clear. The SCOBY, sometimes referred to as the mother and sometimes mistaken for a mushroom, is really creepy to look at. Sure, it's a great conversation starter if you have it on display at home but it's also a bit freaky. When I leave it to brew, I place a kitchen towel on top to cover the open lip with a rubber band . I don't want anything or anyone to get into it. Mine stays in the pantry.
Here's how I make it:
Ingredients for one batch:
1 Porcelain Water Crock Dispenser or 1 (2 qt) ball jar.
1 (2qt) ball jar. You will need 2 total if you don't have the porcelain water crock dispenser
4-5 bags tea. I used sencha & matcha but you can use black tea or a combination of the two.
1/2 cup organic sugar
SCOBY and starter liquid if you don't already have one
hibiscus tea if you are doing my exact brew.
1. steep 4-5 bags of tea in a cup of boiling filtered water for 5 minutes. I love a light kombucha. I don't care for the ones made with black tea, but it's a personal preference. I use a sencha & matcha blend that I buy at Costco.
2. Add 1/2 cup organic sugar to a 2 qt ball jar. Once the tea is steeped use a spoon to remove the tea bags and add the tea into the ball jar with the sugar. Shake it until the sugar is fully dissolved. Fill the rest of the ball jar up with room temperature filtered water.
3. If you are brewing for the first time, add your SCOBY and starter liquid. They come together when you buy it but you can always add more unflavored kombucha (store bought if fine) if you don't think you have enough. It will also make it brew quicker. Add the sweet tea from your ball jar to your brewing container. Steep for 7-14 days. I find it brews quicker in the warmer weather. Usually the magic time for a first brew in warmer climates is about 10 days. Start testing at 7. If you can taste the sugar then it's not ready yet.
If it's your first brew, then you will only start with one batch. If you bought a large container to brew then you won't add extra sweet tea until the first brew is ready. If you have at least 1/4 cup of the brewing container with fully brewed kombucha then you can begin brewing larger amounts at a time, just double the sweet tea. You can also just take a glass of kombucha from the spout when you feel like it at that time. If your brew starts to taste too much like vinegar, dump out a bunch. Keep the SCOBY in there and start the brew again. I have only seen this happen once, but if it gets moldy throw the whole thing out and start over. You will know that it's terribly wrong. Feel free to google that if you don't believe me.
Hibiscus Kombucha- Pictured below
I steep 4 bags of hibiscus tea in a small amount of plain kombucha for about 10 minutes to make a concentrated base. Add the base to a larger container of plain kombucha and mix. It's also wonderful with 1/8 cup of ginger juice added to the hibiscus tea.