My Foray into Kombucha Brewing, Part 1

Dec 12th

I quit drinking soda over 5 years ago. Between the studies that came out about the health risks associated with high fructose corn syrup and aspartame and the overbuzzed sugar feeling I shortly felt after drinking soda, my family kicked the soda habit. But I missed something fizzy to go with my occasional grass fed burger. I liked the bubbles more than anything else in soda. I’m not really sure why I first picked up a bottle of kombucha, but after my first taste I knew I had found my shangri la. My husband and I drink about the equivalent of one bottle of kombucha a day. In the morning I like a glass to kick off my day with a dose of probiotics. At night, I’ll drink a kombucha wine spritzer; a glass filled about 1/3 with red wind and the rest kombucha. It helps us drink wine in moderation (the key to realizing the health benefits but not going overboard!) and tastes super yummy. Our habit, though, is starting to rack up a decent sized bill. 1-2 bottles a day at $3 each means we consume about $20-30 a week, or $80-120 a month. That adds up!

So yesterday we decided to take a foray into kombucha making. I can’t wait to taste the results!

Here’s what we used:

  • 1 large vessel (we used a glass beverage dispenser)
  • 1 rubber band or elastic tie
  • 1 clean cloth
  • 4 x bags of black tea
  • 8 x bags of green tea
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 packet of SCOBY (kombucha mother)
  • 2 cups kombucha

Step 1: Brew your tea

To make the sweet tea base for kombucha, I used 4 bags of organic black tea and 8 bags of organic green tea. I tied all the tea bags around a hook and hung it on the side of the pot for easy gathering later. I brought the water to a roiling boil and then turned it off, stirred in the sugar, covered the pot and went to work. It’s really important that you allow the tea to fully cool before you add the SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).

Kombucha-2

Step 2: Add the SCOBY

Remove and compost your tea bags. Pour the sweet tea into your vessel. Add the two cups of kombucha (which makes the mixture acidic and prevents bad bacteria from growing). With very clean hands, gently place the SCOBY into the tea. Our SCOBY start is just a little chunk, so I simply poured the packet with the SCOBY in it into the tea so that I didn’t risk contaminating it.

Kombucha-5 Step 3: Cover and set

Cover the top of your vessel with a clean cloth. Use a rubber band or elastic tie to secure the lid. Make sure your cloth is a dense enough weave to keep out any curious bugs. Place your kombucha brew in a warm place that won’t be disturbed. The instructions I was provided with my SCOBY said to keep it at 78-80. Since it’s winter here in Seattle, the closest it’s going to get to that temperature is around 72-74 in our main room. We’ll see how much that affects the brew time.

Kombucha-7

Step 4: Wait patiently

It takes approximately 1 week for the SCOBY to do it’s job and turn the sweetened tea into the sweet-tart taste I love.

To be continued next week…..