Kombucha17Well, our newest obsession has been making (and drinking) our own Kombucha. Kombucha is fermented tea. You know, like how Kefir is fermented milk and Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage? Fermenting foods is easy, and then you get so many healthy probiotics in your belly, it’s great.

I’m no expert so I can’t rattle off ALL of the nutrition facts but I know and trust that eating and drinking fermented things is healthy and important in our diets. It helps our bodies. Probiotics aid in digestion. Kombucha has some B & C vitamins, as well as antibiotic properties, similar to those found in kefir, garlic, and vinegar. When preparing it though, one must be careful not to contaminate the tea, scoby, jar, or anything else touching it, or it could mold instead of ferment safely.

Kombucha tastes much like sour soda pop to me. Kind of vinegar-y, lightly sweetened, very fizzy. It’s refreshing in the heat and satisfies a craving for something more interesting than water. We don’t drink soda pop, but sometimes an effervescent, fizzy drink just sounds good. When tea is fermented the sugar and caffeine are “eaten” by the bacteria and only a tiny amount of alcohol is produced, so it’s a healthy drink for most people. It’s hard to capture photos of it that aren’t weird and difficult to identify. And since you use glass jars, it’s hard to take a photo that doesn’t include a reflection of the rest of the kitchen and me. Haha! But I tried my best, as you’ll see below.

The steps for making your own Kombucha are as follows:

1. Boil some water.

2. Get out a clean quart glass jar. Don’t use plastic.

3. Add 1/4 cup white sugar to your jar.

4. Add 2 tea bags; black, green, or white, nothing decaf, and nothing with oils, such as earl grey.

5. Fill with boiling water, leaving 1 inch head space.

6. Cover and allow to cool completely. It’s important to keep this covered so that no flies or ants get in.

7. Add a SCOBY (SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) and 1/4 cup Kombucha from a previous bath OR 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar if you don’t have any Kombucha. If you want to buy a SCOBY, they are sold HERE. But I got mine for free from a neighbor and if you ask around, you can probably find one too, since they multiply.

8. Cover with fabric or paper (coffee filters work) and a rubber band and put in a dark cupboard for 5-14 days.

9. Drink and enjoy!

10. Save the SCOBY and some Kombucha from the batch, to use in making the next batch. I always just make my next batch right away, but you can also refrigerate the scoby in some kombucha to save for later. Your SCOBies will multiply, so eventually you can have many jars going, or give away to friends. I have so many now, that I might start composting some of them.

Some folks do a second fermentation. I do not do this. But the idea is that you can pour your drink into a bottle and cap it and refrigerate for another week and up to a few months and it will get even more fermented and fizzy. You can also add fruit juice to flavor your Kombucha. Buying a bottle of Kombucha at a store will cost you a few dollars, but making it at home will cost you a few cents. Yeah!

Kombucha1Kombucha 2

Kombucha3I usually add some boiling water to the sugar and swish it around to dissolve, then add the remaining water and tea bags. Kombucha4

I'm using the SCOBY and fermented tea from the batch behind this new one, to start this one growing.

I’m using the SCOBY and fermented tea from the batch behind this new one, to start this one growing.

Always use CLEAN hands when touching your SCOBY.

Always use CLEAN hands when touching your SCOBY.

Kombucha7

Green Tea

Green Tea

5 days fermented

5 days fermented

Black and Green Tea mix. A new SCOBY will grow from the old one. Weird stringy growths is normal.

Black and Green Tea mix.
A new SCOBY will grow from the old one. Weird stringy growths are normal.

It's normal for some residue to settle at the bottom. It's all edible, no big deal, just stir before drinking.

White Tea. It’s normal for some residue to settle at the bottom. It’s all edible, no big deal, just stir before drinking. Although in this photo it’s the “mother” SCOBY sitting at the bottom.

Black Tea

Black Tea

5 days

5 days fermented green tea.

8 days. Slight changes in color in SCOBY is fine.

8 days. Black tea.
Slight changes in color in SCOBY is fine. In general it should appear off white in color and feel like rubber or kelp.

10 days. This batch is ready to drink. Bubbles are drifting up like champagne.

10 days. White Tea.
This batch is ready to drink. Bubbles are drifting up like champagne.

Remove the SCOBY before drinking. Serve over ice if desired, or with added fruit juice for flavor. We enjoy ours as is, with nothing else added.

Remove the SCOBY before drinking. Serve over ice if desired, or with added fruit juice for flavor. We enjoy ours as is, with nothing else added.

I watched this VIDEO on You Tube, when I was learning how to make Kombucha. If you are a visual learner and still have questions, I recommend watching this video for the full explanation. Let me know if you try this and what you think of it.