How to make kombucha
Still working on your resolutions for this year? You aren’t the only one. If improving your gut health was one of them, then kombucha could be the answer you’re looking for.
Your intestinal microbiota will be rejoicing at the sound of homemade kombucha and the secrets of becoming a Brew Master. Making your own kombucha is super simple, requires a little patience (perfection takes time!), but is very rewarding.
Some of our favourite flavours are lemon and ginger, apple and cinnamon and triple berry.
New to brewing? We’ve got your back with a handy step by step process below, starting with acquiring your own SCOBY.
Step One: Get your own SCOBY
The easiest way to start your kombucha journey is to use a ready-made SCOBY. This stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast and is an ingredient used in the fermentation of kombucha. Ask a fellow brewer for a SCOBY or pop over to Green Living Australia in Underwood for your very own SCOBY that’s ready to go.
- 14 cups (4 L) filtered water
- One cup (200 g) white sugar
- 8 bags black (or 2 Tbsp loose leaf)
- 2 cups (470 mL) starter kombucha (either from a previous batch or unflavoured store bought kombucha)
- One or 2 SCOBYs (depending on how many containers you’re using, one per container)
- A large glass or ceramic container (two jars holding at least 2 L each, or one jug holding at least 4 L)
- Tightly woven cloth (coffee filters, paper towels, napkins, cheese cloth)
- Rubber bands
Step 2: First fermentation
1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Remove from heat and stir in the tea and sugar (approx. 6-10mins) until the sugar is dissolved and the tea is brewed.
2. Remove the tea and let the mixture cool to room temperature (a few hours). Don’t risk killing your SCOBY in hot water.
3. Pour the sweetened tea into your jar(s), then pour in your starter liquid (this liquid comes with the SCOBY). If you’re using two jars, pour half of the starter kombucha into each.
4. Gently place the SCOBY into the jar(s) then cover the jar(s) with a few layers of the tightly woven cloth and secure with a rubber band. This is in place of a lid.
5. Place the jar(s) in a dark place that stays warm throughout the day (room temperature 21 – 28 C). Allow to ferment for 6 to 20 days.
6. Start tasting the tea around day 6 by gently drawing out some of the tea with a paper straw (using your finger to hold the tea in the straw, don’t use your mouth). It should be mildly sweet and slightly vinegary.
7. The warmer the air temperature, the faster the kombucha will ferment. The longer the tea ferments, the more sugar molecules will be eaten up and the less sweet it will be
8. Reserve 2 cups from this batch to use as starter kombucha for your next batch (just leave it in the jar with SCOBY). The rest can move into the second and final fermentation.
Step 3: second fermentation, flavouring and carbonating
- Strain the kombucha and funnel into bottles, leaving about 1.5 inches (4cm) at the top.
- Add your chosen sweetener and seal tightly with lid as before. You can put in whatever flavour you like (eg 2 teaspoons of honey; 2 slices of orange; few drops of vanilla essence; or a squeeze of lemon and some ginger).
- Let ferment somewhere dark and at room temperature for 3 to 10 days (sometimes longer in cooler temperatures).
- Once the desired level of carbonation is reached, strain out the fruit before serving (optional). Place in fridge to slow the carbonation process and serve.
Note: your jars can explode if the pressure becomes too high! ‘Burp’ them by opening each to release some pressure, then place them in the refrigerator to slow the fermentation.
If you also want to try your hand at fermenting veggies, then head over and see Valerie Pearson at the Cooking Stage at the Logan Eco Action Festival on 5 June, 2022.