Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My first try at Kombucha Tea

 I love my midwife! She gave me her  homemade kombucha tea to drink during my pregnancy and it was awesome. The best I ever had. I knew I wanted to make my own. I asked her about it and she said it was surprisingly easy. All I had to do was get a scoby from her and start brewing. A scoby is a culture. It is bacteria and it looks like a mushroom. I am not entirely sure what it is but it is not the same as fermenting pickles or the probiotics in yogurt. It is supposed to be good for eliminating systemic candidas. 

First you need a gallon glass jar. Clean with vinegar and rinse it real well.

then you are going to make sweet tea. I used 2 family size bags of green tea and 2 family size bags of regular lipton tea (I have since found that I like to add 2 more tea bags for flavor). I boiled up the water in my tea kettle and steeped the tea bags right in the kettle. I put a cup of sugar in the jar and poured the hot tea over it. I  mixed it up real well then added cold water almost to the top.

Here is the scoby that she gave me. It is in a cup of starter liquid. she just poured a cup of her tea in there with the scoby.

Here is the tea I brewed. I added the cold water. I tested it to make sure it was cool before adding the scoby. You don't want to kill the culture.

Here it is. Tea, sugar, scoby, and starter.

Put a towel over the top and use a rubber band to secure it. We want the air to get in there, but we don't want bugs in it.

Up close view of the scoby floating on top. I marked the date in case I forgot when I put it in there. Then I put in in a bottom cupboard. It is dark there but not too cold. The warmer it is, the faster it ferments.

After a week I took it out and tried it. I took a straw and stuck it down beside the scoby to the tea underneath, then put my finger over the top to get a taste. It was still sweet with the beginnings of tartness going on. That is what I wanted. In the warmer weather I find it only takes 5 days and in cooler it takes 8. You just have to taste it and see when it gets to what you like.

I decided I wanted to do a second fermentation. I didn't have any juice. Juice is better. Whole fruit makes stringy things in the brew. I used some berries though. I mashed them up real well and added a little more sugar. About a tablespoon. If you don't want to do a second fermentation, then just pour all the tea (except a cup for the next batch) into a pitcher and add some juice for flavor if you want. Glass is best for this tea. I have read that it can leach the bad stuff out of metal and plastic. It shouldn't matter too much with the refrigerated stuff though.

I am putting them in little jars for ease of drinking. Make sure you save the scoby and a cup of the liquid off the bottom in a bowl. You will need this to make another batch.

I put my pureed fruit in the bottom. I tried to spread what little I had out evenly among the jars but whatever. A little variation in taste is nice.

See the bubbles! It already has some carbonation going on.

Yumm. Raspberries.

I filled them up to leave little room for air. For this part you don't want air. I put them in a warm cupboard for 2 more days to encourage the second ferment. Then I will take them out and put them in the fridge to get nice and cold for drinking. Then I took a cup of liquid from the original tea and the scoby and did it all over again. The next brew, I should be able to peel the baby scoby off the top and give thee mother away or store it and keep on brewing.

 Here is my jar with the towel rubber banded on top. It has a permanent place down there. 

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