5-Step Kombucha Recipe
Makes about 2 ½ quarts
This recipe combines the brewing techniques of Nourishing Traditions
by Sally Fallon-Morell and Kombucha Phenomenon by Betsy Pryor. These methods ensure the most health-promoting properties in the finished drink. If you drink kombucha as part of the treatment of a health condition you should always brew according to a recipe that relies upon these techniques.
The space where you brew kombucha can be kept as cool as 65 degrees F or as warm as 75 degrees F. To hasten the fermentation in cooler conditions add up to 2 cups of finished kombucha to the brew. Above 75 degrees F the fermentation accelerates and the tea can easily become too tart, tasting of vinegar within only a few short days. Always remember to use non-reactive kitchen utensils washed with non-toxic dish soap (rather than detergent).
3 quarts clean water (well, spring, or filtered)
1 cup evaporated cane sugar
4 tea bags organic, black tea or 2 tablespoons loose-leaf, organic, black tea in a large muslin tea bag or other tea strainer
½ cup finished kombucha or ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 kombucha mushroom (s.c.o.b.y.)
Step 1: Brew Sweetened Tea
Bring one quart of the water to a boil. Remove from the heat. Pour the water into a one-gallon heat safe glass bowl or wide-mouth jar. Add the sugar and the tea. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Cover and steep the tea for as little as 15 minutes, or until cool. Remove the tea bag. Add the remaining 2 quarts of water.
Step 2: Acidify and Culture the Tea
Add ½ cup kombucha from a previous batch or ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (this acidifies the tea and prevents contamination from other microorganisms). Place the mushroom, dark-side down, in the liquid.
Step 3: A Cover, a Label, and a Place
If you are using a bowl, cross several strips of masking tape over the top (to keep the cover from falling into the liquid). Cover with a tightly-woven cloth or paper towel. Secure the cover tightly with a string or rubber band. Fasten a label to the jar with the date it was made. Store in a warm (about 70 degrees F), well-ventilated place, away from fruit bowls, compost bins, and houseplants, and out of direct sunlight.
Step 4: Fermentation Time
Depending upon the room temperature, the kombucha will be ready after 6-12 days. Kombucha is ready to drink when the liquid looks relatively translucent and a ‘baby’ kombucha mushroom has formed above the mother. Most people prefer kombucha slightly sweet to pleasingly tart. After about one week taste it daily. When the flavor suits your taste, bottle the tea.
Step 5: Bottle and Chill
To bottle kombucha, remove the mother and the baby mushroom from the brew. Use a non-reactive funnel and glass jars or bottles with tightly fitting lids (or flip-top bottles). Fill the jars to the top, leaving only ¼-inch of headspace. Place a sheet of wax paper underneath the lid. (The paper prevents the acidic kombucha from corroding the lid.) Store in the refrigerator.
To restore effervescence to chilled kombucha, remove from the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Strain the tea just before serving. Keep one or both of the s.c.o.b.y.s to make additional batches of kombucha. Extra s.c.o.b.y.s can be composted along with other kitchen waste.