A very good friend of mine was giving away her kombucha mother because she was leaving town. I never made kombucha, but I heard it is pretty easy to make and it’s probiotic and yummy drink. I started my first batch on August 1. For a a couple of days, it seemed making no difference. On the 4th day, I saw a think film formed on the top and it smelled sweet and tart through the cotton cloth cover. Today, on the 7th day, I drank it through a straw to test it. It tasted sweet, tart, and yummy. I decided to bottle it. My friend gave me a thick mother, which was almost 2 pieces. I put all of them in it and added bit more apple cider vinegar to make 1 cup starter juice, which was actually bit too much of apple cider vinegar. I found that out later. So, this first batch came out strong, almost like apple cider vinegar itself, but tasted good. I just had to cut it with water to drink. The second batch took 10 days and still came out milder than the first batch. I still liked both versions. It’s easy and fun to brew kombucha and costs you a fraction of the price buying ready made in a store.
Now I have plenty of starter and juice. I put a few fresh ginger slices in one bottle and lemon peel in one bottle, and a few slices of fresh peach in another for flavor, not that straight plain kombucha needs to be flavored. I leave them outside of refrigeration for a couple of days for flavor to sink in. So far, peach is the winner flavor! Surprisingly ginger slices didn’t add much of flavor versus a few slices of a fresh peach added a wonderful sweet peachy flavor.
3 quart of filtered water
1 cup evaporated cane sugar
6 tea bags or 6 heaping teaspoon full of loose tea leaves (1 or any combination of black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea. I use 2 tsp black teas and 4 tsp green tea leaves)
1 cup kombucha (if you don’t have it enough, substitute with apple cider vinegar, but use it 1/2 amount of kombucha)
1 gallon glass jar
1 big pot to boil water
1 cotton cloth or cheese cloth to cover the mouth of the jar
1 strong rubber band
paper tea bags or a large tea ball strainer if using loose teas
- Wash the jar and your hands well with soap and warm water.
- Boil 3 quarts of water. Dissolve sugar in it, and brew a strong tea. Leave teas in the hot water at least 20 minutes. I tend to leave them in over 1 hour. You can leave them in until the tea cools down to almost room temperature. Make sure to cover to avoid flies jumping in the sweet tea.
- Strain the tea. Squeeze tea leaves out to get most nutrients. Pour the tea in the 1 gallon jar.
- When the tea is almost room temperature, add SCOBY and 1 cup of kombucha with a clean hand. The tea shouldn’t be hot since extreme heat kills SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Warm to touch is okay. Burning hot is not.
- Cover the mouth of the jar with a cotton cloth. Secure it with a rubber band.
- Keep it in a warm place without direct sunlight for at least 1 week. After 1 week, taste it by using a straw. If it tasted good for you, it’s time to bottle. At this time, you can add flavors like a few slices of a fresh peach. If you flavor it, leave the kombucha out of refrigeration for 2 more days, then put them in a refrigerator.
*SCOBY keeps months in refrigeration. They sleep until you are ready to brew a new batch again.
* If you see bright red or blue foaming in your kombucha, molds got into it. Throw it away. I brew 3 times so far and this has not happened to me yet. White, off-white, brown are all good colors.
*People say SCOBY will float to the top of the kombucha. This never happened to my batches. My SCOBY float somewhere in the middle and stay there, even a new layer is developing at the top.