|Kombucha haters should click away now.|
|Just another poor misunderstood scoby.|
Scobies are weird. They have disgusting names (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast AKA a biological mat), weird textures, and alien looks, and yet they have magic power. I would trade my favorite nephew for a good kombucha.
|Neither sunshine, a cute pooch, pretty dahlias, or Pyrex fridgies can dress up the freaky scoby.|
|Look at the bubbles!!|
Makes 1 gallon
I'm insanely sensitive to caffeine and sugar, so this recipe makes a 'booch that tastes great, but doesn't keep me up at night. If you don't have any empty gallon pickle jars laying around, I've found them scouting around recycling bins. Home Goods ::cough:: also has large glass jars that work well.
What You Need (1st fermentation):
1 gallon distilled water
6 bags organic green tea
2 bags organic black tea
1 1/2 cups unbleached granulated sugar
1 clean gallon glass jar
One wee scoby
2 cups kombucha
cloth napkin or clean tshirt
What You Need (2nd fermentation):
6 flip top bottles
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
bite sized fruit/herbs
What You Do:
Put 3/4 of the water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the tea bags, decrease the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags with a clean spoon and squeeze out any tea back into the pot.
While the tea is simmering, put the sugar into the glass jar. Add the tea and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the remaining remaining water and cover so no fruit flies buzz in. Let the tea cool until it is less than 88 degrees F (this may take several hours). Once the tea has cooled, add the wee scoby and the kombucha.
Cover the jar with the clean fabric and secure with a rubber band (it's important for the kombucha to breathe and also to be protected from pests and bugs). Let the tea rest undisturbed for about a week (the warmer the environment the faster it will culture). I've only been brewing in the summer, and mine usually takes about 11 days to get where I like it. With a clean spoon, taste the tea after about a week. When it's ready for the next step (2nd fermentation), it should be slightly sour, sometimes even a little bubbly, and just a bit sweet.
The second fermentation is the most important step to making top notch kombucha. Flip top bottles are a must, since they trap the carbon dioxide created from the yeast feeding on the sugars in the tea (i tried using an air lock and a gallon jug, and the brew was not very bubbly).
Stir the tea and using the funnel, distribute it evenly among the flip top bottles. Be sure there is just enough room in each bottle for a few tablespoons of juice, a few pieces of fresh fruit, a sprinkle of ginger, and herbs (if desired).
How you flavor the tea is up to you, but I like to add ginger, fresh basil, lemon or lime juice, and some fruit to mine. Once you've added flavorings to each bottle (there should be about 1/4-1/2" of space at the top), clamp it down and let it rest on the counter near the sink. Burp the bottles daily (over the sink) until they're fizzy and delicious--in warm weather this takes about 3 days on the counter. Refrigerate and enjoy (strain out any seasonings, or leave them in the bottom of your glass).
I've really enjoyed flavoring with citrus, ginger, basil, rhubarb, strawberries, peaches, and watermelon. Right now I've got some blueberry-lime-ginger going, and the next batch I plan to experiment with herbal tea as flavorings along with fresh fruit (I'm thinking hibiscus and also chamomile/lavender).
P.S. If you wanna keep brewing kombucha, save your scoby and 2 cups of kombucha from each brew, and use it for the next. The scoby will get thicker after each batch. You can peel off the new scobies and use them for double batching, compost them, or give them away.
P.P.S. Be smart. If your scoby looks moldy, or weirder than a scoby should look, toss it away and start over. The internet has lots of forums and information for trouble-shooting.