Tuesday, November 17, 2015
About a year and half ago I started making Kombucha out of sheer cheapness. We wanted the health benefits but not the expense. It sells for $3.79 a 16oz. bottle at Whole Foods, and we were going through a bottle every two days, and once I got a look at how this was impacting our monthly grocery bill, I knew that I had to take drastic action. Drastic in that I found a website that sells kombucha materials and it's pretty easy to find and follow instructions on how to brew it. Actually, it couldn't be easier. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that anti-bacterial cleaners can kill your scoby, since your scoby is basically a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. You DO NOT want to kill the scoby!
I have tweaked recipes and this is how I make kombucha at home:
I use a 1 gallon glass jar (always use only earthenware or glass) . The glass jars I use were former pickle jars that I bought at Costco. We ate the pickles and then I had the jars! You don't need the lids.
Large cooking pot
7 Black Pekoe teabags - sometimes I make a batch using Earl Grey, but this is a more expensive tea, so typically I use just the pekoe
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 gallon of water - the water can be from the tap, but it's a better kombucha if you use bottled spring water
1 Pint of either reserved kombucha from a previous batch, or a bottle of store bought kombucha
1 Quart of fruit (optional, and blueberries and black raspberries are by far the best tasting in this)
Place all of the teabags in half a gallon of water and bring to a boil uncovered. Once the brew is boiling, turn off the heat and stir in the sugar, making sure that it dissolves completely. Let steep twenty minutes and then remove the teabags, allowing the brew to further cool to room temperature. In the jar with the scoby should be the reserved kombuch from a previous batch or the store bought kombucha if this is your first batch. Once the tea-sugar brew has cooled to room temperature, pour into the jar, topping off the jar with the reserved half gallon of water. Place the cheesecloth over the mouth, securing with the large rubberband. For best results I set the jar in room with a constant temperature (not much fluctuation) that is not too cold (I use a shelf in a spare bedroom, but a closet would be fine as well), out of direct sunlight.
I have two jars going at once which allows each to sit for about 28 days before it gets bottled since I bottle about every 14 days. This rotations works good for us as we always have some kombucha in the fridge.
Each batch yields approximately 6 - 16 ounce bottles. Remember to reserve 16 oz for the next batch, and to always, ALWAYS bottle the kombucha in glass bottles.