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The Easy Guide To Kombucha Brewing

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Love Kombucha, the fizzy, slightly tart fermented tea-drink, but spending a fortune buying it in health food shops? Don't worry, it's easy and lots of fun to make your own. You can purchase your PiM Kombucha-kit or eGuide by contacting us.

Kombucha ingredients:

  • Organic black tea
  • White sugar (250 grams per 4 liters of tea)
  • Filtered water
  • Scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)
  • 100-200 MLS Starter tea (Kombucha from previous batch)

How to grow your scoby fast:

Place it in a medium-sized jar (pasta-sauce sized: 600 ml), add a cup of cool down black tea with 3-4 tbs sugar, cover with a cloth and rubber-band, let it sit for 1-2 weeks. The scoby will grow significantly and be ready for brewing in bigger jars that holds 3-5 liters of tea.

Equipment:

Brewing jar: I prefer to brew my Kombucha in large, solid glass-jars. You can also use ceramic jars. Avoid metal and plastic, as Kombucha is very acidic and will eat away at these, releasing chemicals and heavy metals into your tea. You also need: 

  • Funnel
  • Bottles with stopper-lids,
  • Ladle, large glass-bowl, steel mesh-strainer (for when you bottle the booch).

Instructions:

1. My glass-jar holds ca 4 liters. Firstly I add 1 cup (ca 250 grams) of white sugar. White sugar will create less sediments and residue than brown sugar as its cleaner. The sugar will feed the yeast and bacteria, so don’t skimp on it. As your scoby grows bigger, you can use less sugar, but in the beginning you need enough to feed your live cultures properly. The longer you ferment your tea, the less sugar you’ll have left. If you continue to not use enough sugar, the yeast will struggle to thrive, and you will find your Kombucha to be less fizzy.

2. Then I add my tea-bags. I prefer to brew mine with organic black tea, but you can play around with both black, red, green or white tea; as long as the tea is made of actual tea-leaves. Avoid teas with essential oils. As long as you feed the scoby some real tea, it will be happy. Never use anything with peppermint or honey, as these are antibacterial and will ruin your culture. For 4 liters of brew I use 6-8 bags of tea.

3. Once the sugar and tea-bags are in, I add boiling, filtered water (the scoby doesn't’t like chlorinated water, hence its best to use filtered water. I filter mine with a Brita-jug). I add enough water to fill 2/3 of the jar.

4. I let the tea-bags soak and the sugar dissolve in the hot water. Stir with a wooden spoon to ensure the sugar is evenly mixed. 30-40 min is normally enough.

5. I remove the tea-bags, and fill up the rest of the jar with filtered, cool water. Make sure to leave room for the scoby and starter-tea.

6. Once the tea is at room-temperature, I carefully pour in the starter-culture (for my 4 liters, I need 1 cup of starter-tea) and the scoby. If the tea is too hot, you will kill the scoby and its live cultures, so its vital to ensure the tea is at room temprature.

7. Then I cover my jar with a breathable muslin-cloth (Chux or paper-towel squares are great for this purpose) and secure it with a rubber-band. This allows the Kombucha to “breathe”, while keeping bugs and fruit-flies out of your tea.

8. Place your jar somewhere dark with air-flow and at room-temperature. I use my pantry. I leave the pantry slightly open overnight to ensure enough air-flow. During the day I open the pantry enough as it is!

9. Forget about your brew for 5-7 days in the warmer months, or 12-20 days in winter. Then it’s time to start sniffing (you should detect a mild vinegary smell by now) and tasting it. Use a teaspoon, carefully push the jelly top-layer aside (this is the new baby-scoby forming- don’t throw it out!) and have a taste. When it tastes slightly sour, normally by day 7-8 (in summer) in my house, I bottle my Kombucha.If your house gets cold in winter (like mine!), it will slow down the fermentation-process. In winter it takes 14 days for my brew to be done, and I don't even bother tasting it until Day 10.

10. Bottle your Kombucha. This is the time to add fruit or berries for second-fermentation. Leave the bottles out on the kitchen-bench for 12-24 hours before putting them in the fridge. Once in the fridge, the fermentation slows right down due to the cold temperature. You can now drink your Kombucha. I like to enjoy a small glass with either my breakfast and lunch.

Enjoy!

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