Kombucha – The First Brew
Below is a set of simple instructions to get you started on making a basic unflavoured Kombucha, followed by the general method for adding some flavour and fizz in the secondary fermentation. I will be testing out loads of different flavour recipes and tea types which will each get their own separate posts as I make them.
If you don’t know what Kombucha is, read the “What is Kombucha?” post here.
Where can I get a scoby for kombucha?
I got my first scoby on eBay from a seller with good reviews. If you know anyone brewing kombucha already then you could ask them to keep you a baby scoby, or even separate a layer from their fully grown scoby. Everything else is probably be sourced in your cupboard already. At worst, a trip to the supermarket will have you covered.
Basic Unflavoured Kombucha from Black Tea
(makes 1 litre)
- 1 litre of filtered water
- 3 teabags (organic, black tea)
- 90g of granulated sugar
- 1 scoby culture
- large jug or jar
- cotton covering for the jar
- rubber band
- 2 swing top bottles, 500ml each
- fruit for secondary fermentation (a few berries or slices of fruit)
- Boil the water, then add your teabags and sugar. Let it brew for about ten minutes, then remove the teabags. Stir to make sure all the sugar is dissolved then allow to cool down to room temperature.
- Pour tea mixture into your glass jug or jar.
- Add the scoby (it may sink, float or rest somewhere in between).
- Cover the jar with a cotton covering. This will allow air into the jar for fermentation but will keep out any flies, dust or other contaminants that you don’t want in there. Muslin clothes are generally too loosely woven (fruit flies can get through), so something like an old t-shirt or large coffee filter will work well, secured with a rubber band.
- Leave in a dark place for about a week, then taste. The longer you leave it the stronger the vinegar flavour will become, but it’s all personal preference
- Decant the unflavoured kombucha into your swing-top bottles. I use 500ml swing top bottles, but larger ones are available.
- Pop in your fruit, herbs or spices. A couple of strawberries or raspberries make for a simple first recipe. Or you could try a few slender slices of orange or apple.
- Once the fruit is in, seal the bottles for 2 or 3 days, and leave in a dark place at room temperature.
- After a few days, gently open the bottle. If you hear a hiss, then some fizz has begun to build up. Try a little and if you’re happy with the flavour and level of fizz, put the bottle in the fridge to stop the fermentation. Then enjoy your chilled kombucha whenever you want!
- If no fizz has built up then seal again and leave at room temperature for a few more days. Repeat until you are happy with the fizziness and flavour.
- NOTE: different fruits, herbs, etc. have different levels of natural sugar. Flowers and herbs may not have much sugar in them, so an eight of a teaspoon of sugar could also be added to help the yeast develop some fizz.
What about my Scooby Doo? (Scoby)
When you’re not actively brewing, leave your scobies in a few inches of sugary tea mixture, or even just leave behind some of the brewed kombucha to cover it. They will rest quite happily like this until you are ready to use them again. When I am ready to start another batch I even add in the liquid the scobies have been sitting in, to kick start the next brew.