How to Make Your Own Kombucha
By Lauren Howland, Planet Green
Kombucha is a fermented drink that, for centuries, has continuously helped keep the human body healthy and strong. The delicious and easy-to-make concoction is used as a detoxifying agent for the body and claims to increases energy, sharpen eyesight, aid joint recovery, improve skin, aid digestion, and even expedites cancer recovery.
If you’re looking for a fun and interesting way to improve your health for the summer season, set aside some time to try a new do-it-yourself-project that will have your friends thinking you are now a talented tea maker.
The Necessary Ingredients:
1 kombucha culture (this can be bought online or at a local health food store. The culture will restore itself with every batch you make, so it’s a one-time buy.)
2 liters of water
3 or 4 tea bags/teaspoons of loose tea (Black works best but green or white can be used)
160 grams of white sugar
2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
The Necessary Equipment:
1 three liter glass Pyrex bowl (or something close to 3 liters)
1 tea towel for covering the bowl (this can be found at a local tea shop or health food store)
1 rubber band to secure the tea towel
1 measuring cup
Some bottles for storing the finished drink (old glass bottles are fine)
PRE-STEP: Make sure everything is clean.
You’re dealing with a live culture of bacteria so you don’t want to mix it with any other substances that could be on your equipment from before.
STEP 1: Make your tea
Make a teapot of boiling water and leave the tea in for about 15-20 minutes. Take out the tea bags and add all the sugar, stirring until it dissolves. Add cold water to bring the tea up to 2 liters. Make sure you use cold water as hot water can kill the culture.
STEP 2: Make your brew!
In the class bowl pour the 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar (you can also use 200 Ml of Kombucha if you have any; they sell it at many groceries stores and a popular brands is GT’s.) Pour the cool tea into the bowl. Add the Kombucha culture. It will float or sink—this is not important. If one side is darker, put that side facing down.
STEP 3: Fermenting time.
After the tea and culture are in the bowl, place the tea towel over the top and secure it with your rubber band. This keeps contamination from touching the mixture. Put the bowl in a warm place (70 degrees works best so if you have a radiator that’s perfect). Let it sit.
STEP 4: Taste Testing
The fermentation process typically takes 5-14 days depending on the temperature of the place in which you stored it. After 2-3 days you will notice a think layer of foam forming on the surface. This is the membrane of your new Kombucha culture (if you like science experiments, you’ll probably get a kick out of this). Start tasting the brew after 5 days. Just dip a spoon in and be careful not to disturb the culture too much. If you like it on sweet side, your batch will be ready typically in less than a week. If you like it sour it will take longer.
Step 5: Bottling
With clean hands lift the culture out and place it on a plate (you can immediately start making a second batch with this if you like). Strain your Kombucha into a jug and leave behind 200 Ml for your next batch. Fill your bottles and try it out. For best results, like brewing beer, it’s best to wait a month or so to let the sugar completely ferment. This will give the Kombucha a better taste and add more carbonation. The bottles of Kombucha will sometimes make little cultures within themselves. These are totally normal to drink and happen naturally. They tend to stay right at the top of the bottle so just take a spoon and remove them if you feel so inclined.
Image: Mgarten / Creative Commons