Kombucha – Learning to make your own brew

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A healthy kombucha culture with scoby. First ferments require a scoby but you can make it from scratch with a little work.

Is Kombucha just a phase? Or is there something about it that we all should look into? What are the health benefits? Are we better off purchasing it or making it ourselves?

You see many buying it at the local health store or grocery store. It can be pricey but it is so good. And it is healthy beyond belief. If you are health conscious, this is probably the drink to get, hands down.

But making this concoction at home takes a little knowledge and a little preparation. And I hope to share what I know about brewing this great drink.

Kombucha is full of probiotics. It promotes good gut health and good health. A healthy microbiome is key to much of our total body health and it is key to helping us fight invading infections. Kombucha helps to maintain and sometime even restore the healthy bacteria in our gut and microbiome.

Kombucha also helps with alkalizing our system. An acidic system promotes inflammation, infection and sometimes even cancer growth. The average body Ph should be just slightly over 7 (slightly alkaline) and Kombucha, like apple cider vinegar, can help alkalize and maintain alkalinity within your GI tract.

If I feel a mouth thrush coming on, I quickly run for my kombucha. It just seems to stop it yeast infections in its spot. The discomfort reverses and the yeast infection gets no where. And I don’t ever think of it again.

I have been culturing kombucha off and on for the last 7 years and I have nothing but raving reviews of the benefits. As I started up yet another culture over the last few weeks, I felt I needed to share the basics on how to make it and how to make it well.

I have had a few failures over the years that have forced me to start again. I don’t consider myself an expert but I will share what I know. And I will share my basic recipe complete with explainations.

My recipe is in two parts. The first ferment and the second ferment.

Here is my Recipe:

Kombucha – 1 litre – Basic Recipe (Increase or decrease as needed)

Step OneInitial Ferment

  • 1 litre purified water
  • 3.5 TBSP sugar
  • 2 teabags (black tea)
  • 1 bottle of fresh kombucha (live culture) if starting from scratch or 1 cup of starter & Scoby from previous week’s culture.

Bring water to boil. Remove from heat, Stir in Sugar, Add teabags. Steep until room temperature.

If Starting from Scratch

  • Add tea mixture and bottle of fresh kombucha into a container large enough to hold entire mixture (do not use metal containers or utensils)
  • Cover with cloth. Secure with elastic

It is recommended that when starting from scratch, you use less tea mixture than the bottled kombucha as starter. This is to stabilize the Ph and prevent initial failures. Often kombucha fails initially because there is not enough starter to stabilize the Ph in the mixture. Otherwise mold can grow.

If using starter from previous week

  • Add tea mixture and starter & Scoby into a container large enough to hold entire mixture (do not use metal containers). One half to a whole cup of starter is sufficient.
  • Cover with cloth or coffee filter. Secure with elastic

Ferment for 7 to 10 days in a dark cupboard or room.

Kombucha second ferment with fruit. Notice that bubbling action – self carbonating process. The lid of this jar is actually pushing out and when this jar cracked to drink, there was initially a good foaming up.

Note: If starting from scratch using the fresh bottle of Kombucha, you may not have much of a scoby for at least 3 to 4 weeks. Just bring the starter over each week as outlined in step 2. Kombucha may also be sweeter to taste until the culture is running well.

Step Two – Second Ferment

(This part is important to clean up the kombucha and to give it more flavor)

After 7 to 10 days;

  • Add some fruit to the bottom of some small jars or bottles.
  • Transfer kombucha from step one’s culture into these jars and bottles giving 1 inch clearance from the top of the jar. Try not to stir the original culture too much so you can leave as much sediment behind for the starter to restart a fresh batch in step one. Leave about 1 cup behind for starter.
  • Cover the new jars for up to 24 hours with a cloth and secure with an elastic.
  • After 24 hours, place a proper lid on the jars and bottles, tighten and allow to self carbonate over the next 24 to 48 hours. Chill and serve once carbonated.

Take left over starter and proceed to start a new batch with step one.

You can serve the second ferment after they have self-carbonated. Mix it with juice or whatever you want. My stepfather even mixed it with ice cream – Yuk! But he loved it!

I have even used it as a starter for sour dough. A whole other blog to write about. But however you consume your kombucha, you will love it.

Home cultures do tend to be a little stronger than store bought bottles. They do contain a small amount of alcohol from the ferment. But most containe less than 1% and often less than 0.5%.

Enjoy.