Kombucha brewing as a hobby: Cool Down with Homemade Kombucha Tea
As the weather starts to turn warm, lots of people start making sun tea to wet their whistle and cool down. Well how about trying your hand at kombucha? No, it's not a Mercian dance; it's a drink and a mighty powerful one at that.
Kombucha is a naturally fermented beverage made from tea, sugar and a symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria (scoby). You've properly seen or maybe even tried a few of the store bought brands before and this might seem to be a something new; but did you know kombucha has been around for centuries?! Ancient Chinese literature from the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.E.) describes kombucha as "the tea of immorality" and "the elixir of life." Kombucha is said to have widespread healing and cleansing abilities that affect the whole body. Many practitioners of Chinese medicine recommend drinking 4 oz or more every day.
The kombucha microorganisms generate a broad spectrum of enzymes, organic acids, beneficial bacteria, and vitamins; such as the essential B vitamins during the fermentation procedure. Research suggests that kombucha improves immunity against cancer, prevents cardiovascular disease, stimulates and soothes the immune system, reduces inflammation, improves liver function, and regulates digestive function.
Producing your kombucha is super simple, very inexpensive and better than anything you've ever purchased since you control what goes into it constantly assuring a high-quality brew. If you know someone brewing kombucha, inquire to get a scoby and follow the instructions below to make your homegrown batch.
How To Kombucha brewing as a hobby
Start with clean hands, a stainless steel pot, wooden spoon and a wide mouth glass Mason jar or wide mouth glass gallon pitcher. Clean all the above with vinegar, NOT soap.
In a stainless steel pot, boil a gallon of water
Add 4-6 tea bags (black, white, or green, regular or decaf) and let steep about 20 minutes.
I have experimented with a lot of different teas and also have made some delicious brews just using ginger, fresh mint, and cinnamon sticks as alternatives to tea bags. Experiment and have fun!
Stir in one cup of raw cane sugar
Use the purest most unprocessed sugar you can buy. I have used agave nectar or coconut nectar to keep my brews raw. Even though it's not exactly what the classical recipe calls for, they both worked beautifully.
Bring tea to room temperature
Add starter tea and scoby (symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria) to gallon glass jar. Cover the jar with a cotton cloth (cheesecloth, tea towel) fastened with a rubber band to keep out fruit flies and bacteria. A coffee ?lter works well for a top too.
Store your jar in a warm, dry area out of direct sunlight
Your kombucha is prepared when it tastes delicious for you or when there is a new scoby on high - that can take anywhere from 7-14 days depending on the climate. It can take longer in colder weather.
Pour off the liquid and transfer to clean glass bottles and seal to make it fizzy
Store your prepared kombucha in the fridge or it will keep on fermenting and will end up tasting like vinegar. You can now make another batch, or keep your scoby in a glass jar with some of the liquid in the fridge, until ready to boil.
Do not ever use plastic bags or jars as the little organisms on your brew will eat the plastic and therefore you also will be drinking plastic.
Helpful Tips: For a less sweet brew; cut the sweetener by quarters until you discover what tastes best to you. The new scoby looks like a membrane when it starts to grow. It's your indicator that your brew is almost done. Mold is rare but dangerous. If you see blue or black spots on top of your batch, throw it out - that is mold.