Kombucha - what it is and how to make it

Have you ever heard of fermented tea? We are talking about the so-called kombucha. It brings a lot of benefits to your body. Try making it at home, it's fun.

What is kombucha

Kombucha, but pronounced "kombucha". It is a centuries-old fermented tea drink. In short, kombucha is the result of introducing a yeast and bacterial colony known as SCOBY - Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast - into sweetened tea.

Created by fermenting sweetened black or green tea, it is rich and beneficial in probiotics and also contains antioxidants that kill harmful bacteria in the body and can help fight many diseases.

What is kombucha and how is it made? Image source: Canva.com

What tea to choose

Choosing tea is one of the important parts of making your own kombucha. There are a few general rules to follow.

Thetea you use must be Camellia sinensis. What does that mean? Camellia sinensis is the botanical name of the evergreen tea plant.

White, green, black andoolong tea, these can all be used to make kombucha. However, it is a good idea to rotate the teas, as each tea brings something different to the body.

You can mix these teas to create your own unique combinations. It's similar to coffee, each one will taste different. It's up to you what you make.

A note on sugar

You can also use brown sugar to make kombucha, but it will greatly affect the end result and fermentation time. For us, it's best tostick with regular white crystal sugar because of its consistency.

However, you don't have to worry about sugar at all. Theyeast feeds on the sugar during fermentation, so at the final stage, not much sugar remains.

Scoby - a billion little yeasts

Scoby is a living, breathing colony made of billions of tiny yeast and bacterial cells. It looks rubbery and is shaped like a disc that hovers over the sweet tea.

There are usually small dangling particles hanging from the scoby, leave these there and don't separate them.

The activity of your scoby will depend on the ambient temperature. The warmer it is, the faster fermentation occurs and you will get your kombucha done faster. Fermentation can take as little as 5 days or as long as 14 days.

If you prefer a sweeter drink, pull the scoby sooner. If you prefer a sourer one with a hint of vinegar, leave the scoby in the tea longer. The key is to taste and taste until you find what you like.

Over the weeks and months that you make kombucha, your scoby will steadily grow thicker and thicker in layers. Occasionally you will need to remove its layers from the bottom (the side that comes in contact with the tea). You can discard these layers or give them to friends who want to start their own kombucha.

How to get a scoby

You have plenty of options for getting your scoby. First, ask around among your friends to see if they happen to make kombucha. If they do, get a basic scoby from them.

You can buy scoby at health food stores or online. There are various Facebook groups, so check them out.

Scoby is incredibly durable. If you accidentally add things like fruit juice, the wrong tea, or too much or too little sugar, your scoby will be fine.It would only be a mess if it happened repeatedly.

How to prepare kombucha

Ingredients for 5 litres of kombucha

  • 5 teaspoons of loose tea
  • 425 grams of white crystal sugar
  • 5 litres of water (preferably filtered)
  • Scoby - the main mother kombucha or 3 - 5 daughter ones
  • 0.5 litres of ready-made kombucha drink (either bought or already your own) - this is 10% of the volume of the tea base
  • a cloth to cover the kombucha, a rubber band to hold it in place

Kombucha must not come into contact with metal! So use plastic, glass or wooden utensils.

Kombucha step by step

1. Before making kombucha,sterilizeeverything properly and clean the containers with hot water. This will ensure that fermentation only occurs with the microorganisms you want.

2. Bring 5litres of water to the boil. Remove and add 5teaspoons of your chosen tea. Steep the tea according to the instructions on the package ( about 7 - 10 min). Strain the tea and pour into a boiled container. Add 425 grams of sugar and mix well.

3. Now you need to wait for the tea to cool down to a temperature of around 35 degrees. Extreme heat could kill the scoby.

4. To the cooled tea, add 0.5 liters of the finished drink from the last kombucha or the liquid you purchased. And finally that mysterious thing that looks like a disc, yes that's right it's a scoby.

5. Cover the containerwith cheesecloth and a rubber band so that the kombucha can breathe, but also so that no dirt or insects can get in.

6. Put the kombucha in a dark place in your apartment. Especially somewhere where the temperature is constant.

7. Taste the kombucha every day during fermentation to see how the taste changes.

8. After 5days to two weeks, depending on how you want the resulting kombucha to taste, it is ready to eat.

9. Pour the kombucha through a strainer into jars with a top and store in the refrigerator.

10. Scoby rinse with water and transfer to a new container.

11. The kombucha is ready to eat.

What next?

Surely you want to continue fermenting. You already have your own scoby, so continue again as at the beginning. Always add 10% by volume of the tea base.

If you don't have time to take care of the kombucha or are going away for a long time, keep it in the fridge. The cold will stop the fermentation.

The process of making kombucha. Image source: canva.com

Kombucha from coffee

You can also experience the health and taste benefits of kombucha, evenif you're more of a coffee drinker than a tea drinker! What is it about? Coffee kombucha. The typical sweet and sour taste of the fermented drink kombucha also suits coffee. You will especially appreciate it on summer days as a great coffee drink on ice.

Coffee kombucha has an added advantage - you can make it from used lager. This maximises the use of coffee, which all green-minded coffee drinkers will appreciate. Stockpile the lógr you have left over after making coffee at home in your freezer so you have the base for your coffee kombucha.

What else can be done with coffee grounds?


Which coffee to ferment?

What coffee to use? Well, the kind you drink. If you're going to make kombucha directly without a loger, but with unused ground coffee, you certainly don't need to find special beans. Scoby doesn't care if it's microlot beans from Panama or a blend of beans from Brazil.

In kombucha, all the unique flavors of coffee are changed and overpowered by the acidity of the fermentation. You can process any coffee you have at home this way. But now for therecipe!

Coffee kombucha easy and simple

Ingredients for 2 litres of coffee kombucha

  • 240 g crystal sugar
  • 1.8 g water
  • 700 g of lógr or 200 g of freshly ground coffee
  • 200 g ready-made kombucha drink
  • 1 scoby

Instructions for coffee kombucha

1. Bringthe sugar and a cup (240 ml) of water to aboil, stirring to dissolve all the sugar.

2. Pour the coffee into a suitable container (non-metallic yet able to withstand hot water). Pour in the sugar water and add the remaining water. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Then cover the bottle and refrigerate overnight.

3. The next day strain the coffee through a fine sieve or cloth into a container where the drink will ferment. Top up with 200 g of finished kombucha.

4. Carefully place the scoby in the brine. Cover the neck of the container with a breathable cloth and secure with a rubber band.

5. Let the kombucha ferment in the warm and watch it develop. Check that the scoby on top has not dried out. Between 7- 10 days of fermentation you should be done and if you are happy with the taste of your kombucha, strain, drink, bottle or freeze the kombucha.

Kombucha from Cascara tea

Kombucha Cascara is an experiment that combines a fermented tea drink with dried coffee cherry skins. The result is an exotic drink with perfect taste and all the health benefits.

The drink contains all the benefits our intestines need and will thank us for. It is full of antioxidants, probiotics and low in caffeine.

Kombucha Cascara is perceived as a pleasant yet distinctive drink that combines floral, honey and sweet tobacco flavors, along with traces of lemon and green apple, flavors that are typical of Cascara.

Coffee kombucha easy and simple

Ingredients for 1 litre of Cascara kombucha

  • 1 scoby
  • 3-4 g Cascara
  • 80 g cane sugar
  • Kombucha fermentation vessel

Instructions for making kombucha from Cascara

1. Boil a quantity of Cascara, stir the sugar in the liquid and let cool to around 30°C.

2. Once cool place the scoby on top of the tea and add the infusion it was in.

4. After the scoby has finished cooking to your liking remove the scoby that has grown, place in a container.

3. Cover with a breathable cloth napkin, place in a shaded area with a temperature of approximately 21-24°C and leave to ferment to taste for approximately 7-20 days.

5. Pour the kombucha through a colander into bottles and you can drink it.

TIP: During the fermentation period, the room should be free of smoke or other dust, it can have a big effect on the taste.

Kombucha FAQ

What is Kombucha?

It is a fermented tea. A microorganism called a SCOBY fungus is used to ferment it.

What is coffee Kombucha?

It is based on the classic fermented tea - Kombucha. However, it is also brewed together with coffee

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