Food Pharmacy, Recipes

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Making Our Own Kombucha: the Preparation Phase (step 1)

We drink kombucha all the time, at a bar or after a workout pass and have contemplated for awhile about attempting to make our own.

Perhaps it was cheering by Soki Choi (a soon to be guest writer here on the blog and expert on kimchi and kombucha) or a push after reading about Coca-Cola’s new endeavours, but either way, we were finally able to scrounge up enough self-confidence to get started. 

Our goal is to be able to end up with a few bottles of homemade kombucha before the new year. Normally, it shouldn’t take such a long time but to be on the safe side we are getting a head start. Who knows, maybe our first try fails? If at first you don’t succeed, then try try again!

To make your own kombucha you’ll need:

– a SCOBY + starter liquid
– water
– black, green or white tea (tea leaves or tea bags, without additives which can kill the bacteria)
– sugar
– a large glass jar (3-4 quarts), a piece of cloth and a rubber band
– a few bottles and labels

Simply explained, SCOBY is a bacterial culture that stimulates bacterial growth in kombucha. If you have ever looked down in an ongoing kombucha brew, you may have seen a whitewashed, spongy mushroom with a bubbly liquid. That would be the gelatinous tea-sponge called SCOBY. It’s the SCOBY in combination with the starter fluid that is responsible for the fermentation process when making homemade kombucha,.

The easiest way to get started, by far, is to get SCOBY and a little starter fluid from a friend who is already up and running. With each brewing, new SCOBY offspring are created, which can either be handed out to nice friends or be the starter for your next batch. If you don’t know someone who makes their own kombucha, you can buy SCOBY online. Be sure to always order a fresh mushroom (not dried or frozen) and make sure it comes in at least 2 dl of very acidic starting liquid.

You can also make your own SCOBY from a bottle of unpasteurized and unfiltered kombucha that you mix with tea and sugar. It takes a bit longer (another 3-4 weeks), but because we think it sounds fun, it’s exactly what we’ll be doing. If you too would like to try and make your own SCOBY, the instructions will be on the blog tomorrow. 

About a month from now we’ll start the actual brewing. So your homework until then is to get ready everything you need for your first very own kombucha. Follow the list above and it should all work out. Together with kombucha expert Soki Choi we’ll provide a more detailed recipe and an idiot-proof step-by-step guide. To be continued!

Worried about the sugar? 
You don’t have to be because the sugar is just there as food to your SCOBY. Without sugar, the bacterial culture can’t survive! The sugar is consumed by the yeast during the fermentation process and the drink becomes more acidic the longer it gets fermented. Use organic cane sugar and do not stray from the recipe. Too little sugar and the fermentation process won’t start as it should. 

After New Years, we’ll even publish a summary of the entire kombucha guide here on the blog. There you will be able to learn how to make your own kombucha – from start to finish.

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