Kombucha

I really love probiotics. I have always had a fascination with fermenting foods! I remember making coconut milk yogurt in my closet throughout University, and leaving my heater on in my room throughout the winter so those healthy bacteria would be happy! My dad also grew hops and fermented beer when I was a kid, so I think it’s genetic.

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The finished product. Two weeks later.

My good friends Erica and Brigit gave me one of their SCOBYS a few years ago, and I am still making Kombucha from that same SCOBY! SCOBY is an acronym for: a symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria. Basically, the SCOBY is what allows the sugars in the Kombucha to ferment, leaving you with a fizzy, probiotic filled, vinegary drink- that is so good for you! It makes my tummy so happy, and it’s a nice treat. When I don’t want to drink alcohol, I often just sip Kombucha!

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This is my jar of SCOBYS. Everytime you make Kombucha, your SCOBY will multiply and produce a “baby”, you will end up with many SCOBYS to give your friends! My SCOBYS are two years old! I keep them in a glass jar, in a small amount of Kombucha liquid, in my pantry. They love it in the warm dark space! My parents have not gotten rid of them, even when i’m away for long periods of time (because they’re scared of them!).

For those that don’t know, Kombucha is a super trendy drink. It’s basically fermented, fizzy, vinegary tea infused with fruit flavouring. You can brew your kombucha to be sweet, or more vinegary. You start by brewing tea, dissolving sugar in the tea, and adding lots of water. After you add the SCOBY to your Kombucha mixture, the bacteria and yeast in the SCOBY eat up all the sugar you added to your mix, and turn the sugar into vinegar. Kombucha typically takes around 10-15 days to make. After you ferment your base mixture, you pour it into large glass bottles and add about a cup of fruit juice or flavouring. Then you start your second ferment, which lasts about three days. The second ferment, in a sealed glass bottle with a cap, makes the drink fizzy.

You can buy SCOBYS on Amazon, health food stores, or just ask someone you know who brews Kombucha for one. The thing about SCOBYS is that they multiply, I have so many right now. In fact, if you need a SCOBY, just call me up!

Some Kombucha recipes are complicated, requiring thermometres, and precision. I’ve gotten pretty dialed with my process, and have decided that it doesn’t have to be hard and complicated! Just remember that you need to provide a happy environment for you SCOBY, this means:

1.) Making sure all your equipment is clean and sterile (all you need is to run your kettle and pour a bit of boiling water over your spoon, and glass fermentation jar).

2.) Make sure you cool your base tea so the heat of the base tea doesn’t kill your SCOBY when you add it.

3.) Have patience and leave your Kombucha fermenting in a warmer, darker environment, like a cupboard.

You will need: black tea, one large glass fermentation container, a SCOBY, sugar, glass bottles with caps, a tea towel, and patience!

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My Kombucha brewing with a tea towel and an elastic band sealing it. You need the Kombucha to be able to breath, but you want it sealed off from fruit flies!
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This is my Kombucha mid brew. The SCOBY is happy, has floated to the top, and the tea and water mixture is busy brewing! I bought my fermentation vessel at the Salvation Army. Make sure to use glass! Bacteria don’t like plastic or metal.

Ingredients:

4 cups water

10 cups water

8 black tea bags 

1 cup sugar

2 cups starter tea

1 SCOBY

Here are the steps broken down:

*it’s important to sterilize all your equipment with boiling water, otherwise bad bacteria can get ahold of your Kombucha and ruin it!

1.) Make your base. Boil 4 cups of water, and place 8 black tea bags in the boiled water. Turn off your element and let the tea sit for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags and add one cup of sugar. This makes a super strong black tea base.

2.) Once your base mixture cools, pour it into a large glass container. Add 10 cups of water.

3.) Many Kombucha recipes call for 2 cups of “starter tea”, this is basically 2 cups of Kombucha to help the fermentation. In my experience, if you don’t have starter tea, you will be fine, you might just need to ferment your kombucha longer.

4.) After you’ve added your 4 cups of sugary black tea, the 10 cups of water, and the two cups of starter tea, add your SCOBY.

5.) Cover your Kombucha with a cloth towel sealed with an elastic band. Put the date you made your Kombucha on a piece of tape. I usually place mine in a warm cupboard for around 2 weeks, but you can let it sit for less time if you want it sweeter, or if it’s really hot out.

6.) After around two weeks (or less, keep sampling your Kombucha for desired taste), your Kombucha will be ready. Pour the Kombucha into glass bottles, 3/4 full, and add any flavour of fruit juice. Sometimes I make ginger syrup by boiling a bunch of ginger, sugar, water and then straining it, and add that to my Kombucha. Orange juice is also great, and my favourite has been to add raspberry lemonade! Allow the Kombucha to ferment for 3 more days, and then put it into the fridge once it gets all fizzy! Now you’re ready to drink your Kombucha. It’s a long process, but it’s worth it!

*The only thing you need to worry about with Kombucha is it getting contaminated. This is what happens when bad bacteria overtake the good bacteria. It can happen if you haven’t sterilized your equipment, you have an unhealthy SCOBY, or if fruit flies invade your Kombucha (it has happened to me before). A healthy SCOBY looks weird, but it shouldn’t look too weird, or have mould growing on it. Yeast strains are normal.

If any of this confuses you, or you have any questions, message me!

 

 

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