ALLLLL RIGHHHT Y’ALLLL…
Well its the moment a few of you have been waiting for since I posted about my first round of Kombucha making.. now at first I thought I was just going to share my Lavender Kombucha Recipe but really there is not much to it, its more about the basics of Brewing…
So after lots of thought and consideration on how to do this I figured I would kind of make a
“dummies guide to brewing booch”
In no way do I think you guys are dummies! BUT I know before I got started I was like EXTREMELY freaked out about getting into this, the horrific placenta looking thing, the fact its a living bacteria, what if I got my whole family sick!?
So trust me if you have doubts or have been really back and forth on giving this a try – fear not. I was there too.
So this is how its gunna work:
First I will give you the tools you need and what to avoid.
Then I will give you a play – by – play HOW TO on brewing. Your easy guided steps.
And finally I will give you my personal “FFOQ’s” or frequently freaking out questions, to let you know whats normal and what isn’t!
And off we gooooo….
WHAT YA NEED :
A large glass Jar – big enough to hold all the booch thats brewing (no metal on it!)
A pot – what ever you use on the stove
PURE tea (black or green – cannot be a flavoured tea!)
Coffee Filter or Paper Towel
Scoby – the nasty looking thing, you can either buy them or get from a friend by splitting theirs.
Cheese Cloth – for straining
Small plastic funnel (for pouring the Kombucha into bottles)
What ever fruit or flavouring you want for the second ferment.
Glass bottles to store Kombucha for second ferment and drinking. (You can find my personal favourite bottles HERE. They make the best POP!)
The rest is just simple things you have in your kitchen such as cutlery, measuring cups, etc.
HOW TO BREW UNFLAVOURED KOMBUCHA:
[NOTE: I am NOT a professional, I am just a somewhat crunchy mama who likes her some booch, with a husband who didn’t want to spend too much money on said booch, and who has a book and a best friend to guide me in the journey! If this does not go well for you or somehow my instructions are not followed to the best of your ability, I am not held responsible! Brew at your own risk..I know I sure did!]
- 16 cups of Water (some say purified – I say screw it and boil it.) into stove Pot.
- Boil water for 10 min.
- Brew Tea – Throw in black or green tea bags to your desired darkness or taste. I use two black, two green cause its what I have done and what I like.
- Dissolve 1 CUP Granulated sugar into the hot tea. (you can use other sweetners apparently but I haven’t so sugar it is! This is what the Scoby alien feeds on.)
- Remove from stove and let cool to room temp.
- Pour into big jug – it must be glass with no metal present, as metal or anything with led present does something bad apparently to it. So I am told. So I do not use any.
- Place Scoby (which has been resting in a cup or so of the last brew to keep it nasty, can stay in said bowl up to 6 weeks) lightly on top, be careful! Its ALIVE! and then gently pour last brew remains on top.
- Place the paper towel or coffee filter over jar, and seal it with an elastic. This helps to protect it and let it breathe. Place the Jar in a dark, warm spot, and brew length is personal preference – mine is 7-9 days, the longer ya brew, the more sweetness goes down and more vinegary it can become. THIS IS YOUR FIRST FERMENTATION.
- Before bottling, place Scoby back into (now cleaned) bowl and add a cup or so of this brew, cover and wait for new brew.
- Bottle your brew to about an inch from the lid, if you use the bottles I did, there is a little line to go up to. I like to pour into a spouted bowl with cheese cloth over top to catch any extra jellyfish babies or yeast. YUCK. Some people drink those, I am not hardcore.
- Once bottled this is the point where you can add any flavouring (see bottom of post for my favourite). Then close the tops and stick in a dark warm place to SECOND FERMENT.
- REMEMBER TO “BURP” or open the lid everyday on glass bottles. With the sweetness of second fermenting the carbonation really gets going and could explode the glass if not “BURPED” everyday. For reals. Kombucha bomb.
- Some may choose not to second ferment, there is carbonation from the first ferment and its fine to pop that directly in the fridge if you just like it plain. I like more sweetness and carbonation so I second ferment.
- Second ferment can be anywhere from 5-11 days – it is all personal preference – I like to do 9!
[I have a Kombucha Friend, she is my best friend actually and the person who guided me through the process and handled all of my FFOQ’s. I literally would call or text with these questions, freaking the heck out, so if you don’t have a friend like this, hopefully these will help!]
How can I tell the difference between good and bad bacteria?
What I have been told is to look for black, green or white fuzzy spore like mould growing – that is a big no no – thats a throw out your batch and Scoby! It shouldn’t happen but if things aren’t cleaned properly before starting there can be a base for the bad bacteria to grow.
What if my scoby sinks?
This has literally happened to me every time! Its always at first and as the ferment happens it rises, i just have chalked it up to the carbonation. Don’t worry if it sinks!
It smells like feet – is that ok?
This is what Kombucha smells like. It does not taste like this though!
My scoby is darker/lighter then yours!? Why!?
Nothing is wrong with your scoby! based on which tea you use to brew and how light or dark of a brew will turn your scoby different shades!
It tastes like vinegar! What went wrong?
The longer you do your ferments and more sugar you have the more vinegary the taste!
What are the health benefits of drinking kombucha?
So many! Their main benefits are that its anti-inflammatory and great for your gut health!
How much are you supposed to drink a day?
They say about a glass a day is good, but a little less or a little more is ok. Its all in moderation! Be sure to take a break every once and awhile because it is a health beneficial and even healthy things need to be done in moderation, you can actually develop a health crisis by having too much of the good bacteria so just take it all in stride. Like I said, moderation.
Can I drink Kombucha while pregnant or breastfeeding?
There IS an extremely low alcohol level that presents itself in Kombucha, so personally I would never endorse it during pregnancy or breastfeeding. I have heard for seasoned drinkers it can be ok, but I personally wouldn’t.
Can Kids drink Kombucha?
My kids hate anything carbonated but with it watered down I think it can be a great additive to a kids health, but in small amounts. It helps with their gut health too which is good but tiny bodies would probably do better with smaller amounts.
If you have any more questions then this – Read a book on it or have a friend who knows whats scientifically up. If you disagree or do this professionally or you are just a boocha snob and disagree with my brewing skills and suggestions, I’m sure its not perfect and feel free to BREW over your thoughts in your own mind 😉
All photos by Julie Christine Photography