Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My First Batch of Kombucha

Last summer I made fermented dill pickles and Beet Kvass, my first two ferments. I was very happy with both of those. Since then I had been hoping to start making my own Kombucha too! Well, recently my friend was able to share some of her SCOBY's (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) with me. This makes a fermented tea full of probiotics and enzymes. She started me off with a batch already made, which I spilled most of on the way home and had to start all over, it all worked out! Just glad my car isn't stinky!
The bottles there are on their second ferment with grape juice, my favorite kombucha flavor! The big jar has my SCOBY and a new batch of sweet tea ready to ferment. I fermented the big jar about 7 days and the second ferment with juice in smaller bottles and jars I did for about 3 days.

Here are my 2 SCOBY's. One smaller one that my friend shared and the larger one is from my big jar, the baby. It makes a new baby every 2 batches or so. So I can share with my friends! My mom already wants to give this a try.
All my kids love the grape Kombucha, I am glad I now can make it so I can feel free to share. I didn't feel very free to share when I was paying $3-4 a 16 oz bottle! I know, not nice.  My DH on the other hand hates it. Maybe I will find a recipe he will enjoy sometime. It definitely has a tart, maybe sweet and sour taste, sometimes strong depending on the flavor. But I like the bubbly that the second ferment gives it.

Here are the directions I followed from various sources and friends:
Made 2 gallons of tea (I have a BIG jar), I used a mixture of Yerbe Mate, black, and rooibos teas. Boiled the water up on the stove (I bought purified drinking water), added 1 cup of sugar per gallon and then steeped the bags in it for 15 minutes. Once it was completely cooled I put the SCOBY and 1 cup of reserved plain kombucha into the big jar with the tea. Then I covered with a light towel and put a elastic band on it and put it in the closet for 7 days. Then I removed the SCOBY and put it in a glass bowl with 1 cup of the kombucha and I mixed the remaining kombucha with a bottle of organic 100% grape juice and put it in bottles or jars with tight fitting lids and put it again in the closet for 3 days until bubbly or to my taste. I had to unscrew once a day or so to make sure the bottle did not bust from the pressure. Then I started a new batch with the SCOBY and reserved kombucha. 
note: I never used metal or plastic utensils or containers, only glass and wooden spoons. Except for the stainless steel pot I used to make the tea, but the SCOBY never touched that.