Author: Felicity Evans
Book: Probiotic Drinks at Home
In kombucha brewing, the sugars convert into acids, leaving a low-sugar drink. I like to harvest the kombucha when it’s still a little sweet. However, if you want to make a vinegar or a totally sugar-free product, allow it to ferment for several weeks and use the kombucha vinegar in salad dressings.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Fermentation time: 1–5 weeks
Shelf life: Refrigerate for up to 3 months
Makes: About 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups)
1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) filtered water or springwater
4 black tea bags or 1 tablespoon loose-leaf black tea
3 tablespoons raw or white sugar
3 tablespoons kombucha starter culture liquid
1 kombucha Mother, a little smaller than the size of your palm
Bring 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of the filtered water to a simmer. Pour into a teapot or heatproof bowl, add the tea bags or tea leaves and leave to steep for 3–5 minutes. Strain the tea into a heatproof 1.5 litre (52 fl oz/6 cup) wide-mouth glass jar and discard the tea bags or tea leaves. Add the sugar to the jar and stir to dissolve. Pour in the remaining filtered water.
When the liquid has cooled to room temperature, add the kombucha starter culture liquid and Mother. Cover the jar with a piece of muslin (cheesecloth) and secure with an elastic band.
Place the jar out of direct sunlight in a cool spot where it won’t be disturbed. Leave the liquid to ferment for around 4 days in hot weather and 14–20 days in cooler weather.
Gently remove the Mother to re-use or rest (see page 89). Retain 3 tablespoons of the kombucha liquid as the starter culture liquid for your next brew (see page 88).
Mix in any sediment that has settled at the bottom of the jar, or leave it as it is. Put a funnel in the opening of a 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid and put a strainer on top of the funnel. Pour the kombucha into the bottle through the strainer and discard any solids.
Tightly seal the bottle lid and leave the bottle on the bench to build carbonation. This could take anywhere from 2–14 days, depending on the temperature. ‘Burp’ the kombucha daily to release some pressure by opening the lid slightly and then tightening it again.
When the kombucha is as fizzy and sour as you like (this could range from a small spritz to a ferocious fizz), store it in the fridge to slow the fermentation process, and enjoy cold.
Tip: You can make a fabulous hair rinse from kombucha that will leave your hair soft and silky. Allow fermentation to continue to vinegar stage, so that no sugar is left – the kombucha will smell highly acidic. Bottle the kombucha and use it next time you wash your hair.
Kombucha Q&A with Felicity Evans
What is a kombucha starter culture liquid?
It’s just a little bit of the liquid that your original kombucha was fermenting in. It just helps to kick start the next fermentation. When you guy your kombucha SCOBY, it should come with this liquid. If it doesn’t, don't worry about it.
Where can you buy a 'mother’?
You can get a kombucha SCOBY online, places like Ebay even have them! Ask in your neighbour hood, you’ll be surprised how many people have a stash of kombucha brewing in their kitchen!
How should I store the 'mother’?
If you’re want to take a break from making kombucha, you can just make up a sugar water solution (1 cup tea, 1/4 cup sugar all dissolved) and put your kombucha SCOBY into the liquid and leave it on the kitchen bench or the fridge. It will be happy like this for a few months!
How long will they last?
With the right care, forever!
What are the benefits of drinking kombucha?
Some people say it helps them digest better, and it can add good enzymes and probiotics to your gut. But beware! Allot of store bought kombucha is not good quality. I recommend making your own!
Are there some people that shouldn't drink kombucha?
Some people with histamine issues should probably stay away from kombucha, and people with compromised guts should start with a very small amount daily, as it could disturb your gut if your microbiome is disturbed.
When is the best time to drink it?
Anytime! I like having it in the afternoon like 5/6pm!
How much sugar is left once it has finished fermenting?
You can flavour it exactly the way you want it. The longer you ferment the kombucha for, the less sugar it will have. If you only ferment it for a short time, it will be sweeter. I recommend fermenting it until its slightly sweet, slightly sour/tart. Then its delicious and should contain less sugar.
3 reasons why it's better to make your own kombucha?
Its fresh, raw and unpasteurised!
You can flavour it exactly the way you want it.
Its so cheap!
Can you re use the ‘mother’ how long will it last ?
Yes, you can re-use the Mother indefinably and it will keep on fermenting. I have had my kombucha mother for 7 years and she is still going strong, God Bless her!
I hope you enjoy this article,