Kombucha is an ancient drink, probably invented by a combination of luck, fortunate accident, and humans ignorance (laziness?). Coming from ancient China, Caucasian mountains regions or current Eastern Europe, this fermented black tea drink, with its flavor complexity, refreshing, slight fizz and a number of claimed health benefits is the incomparable winner against other sodas.
Basic recipe calls for 4 ingredients, 3 of which I am sure are already at your place – water, tea and plain sugar. An old jar or even a plastic bucket after yoghurt or skyr can serve as the fermentation vessel. Clean hands, utensils and intensions will yield in a great product in about a week time!
The last ingredient, for many the break-it-or-make-it one in starting your own kombucha journey, is the boogie-man called SCOBY.
SCOBY is a starter built of a colony of various yeasts and bacterias. Normally you need to get it from someone else, less often buy it from an online store (which for me is a sacrilegious practice) . But here’s the fun part – the most important part of your SCOBY bag is not the jelly itself – IT’S THE LIQUID! Packed with the same active yeasts and bacterias, starter liquid combines with the sugary decoction to start working on it and transforming into kombucha itself. This is also why often you will read that for making your own kombucha you should buy an unpasteurized kombucha from a store. That’s right! SCOBY will grow by itself and with every next batch get a new, thicker layer that soon will serve for your flavor experiments or sharing with the others.
Without much more explanation, here’s what you will need:
- 750 ml of dechlorinated water
- 1 tablespoon of black tea leaves
- 3 sachets with black tea
- 1/2cup (120 grams) of sugar
- 100ml of liquid starter
- 1L jar
- A fine strainer
- A whisk or big metal spoon
Bring water to boil
Add sugar and tea
Cool down and strain
Add SCOBY and liquid starter
Wait 7-10 day
- Bring water to boil, let sit for 15 minutes (chlorine will evaporate)
- Leave water overnight on the kitchen counter (chlorine will evaporate)
- Bring water to boil again
- Add sugar and whisk until it dissolves
- Add black tea
- Let it sit for 10-15 minutes
- In the meantime wash the jar well and dry with a clean towel
- Strain the sweetened tea straight to the jar
- Let it cool down for about 1 and a half hour or until the tea has room temperature (the jar is not hot outside)
- Add the starter/kombucha (and the SCOBY if you have it)
Cover the jar with a clean towel and a rubber band
Start tasting after 5 days. Your kombucha will should be ready by now. It will be slightly sour but still a bit sweet. It will continue to ferment and become more and more acidic. According to your own preferences, put kombucha in the bottles at a specific time. Remember that very sweet kombucha will continue fermenting and carbonating in the bottles. Put it in the fridge and let the flavors settle for 1-2 days.
Try it out! And come back for more..