THE HEALTHIEST RECIPE FOR DIY KOMBUCHA
SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria & Yeast
NOTE: DO NOT BE ALARMED BY THE COLOR OR CONDITION OF YOUR SCOBY. COLOR CAN CHANGE BASED ON WHAT TEA WAS USED TO CULTIVATE YOUR SCOBY; YOU MAY SEE BROWN HAIR LIKE STRINGS AS THIS IS VERY NORMAL.
Sanitation: It is important to practice careful sanitation when making Kombucha. Clean and sanitize anything that comes into contact with your SCOBY and Kombucha with either a cold water bleach (10 parts water to 1 part bleach) solution then hot water rinse or acid sanitizer like Star San, a non-caustic, non-rinse food grade sanitizer.
Sugar and tea to water ratio: Use 1 cup (236.5ml) of white sugar to 1 gallon (3.78l) of water. Use 5 tsp.(24.6ml) of black(preferred) or green tea or 5 tea bags for one gallon(3.78l) of water. Optional: add 5 tsp.(24.6ml) or 5 tea bags of an herbal tea for flavor is desired. Note: Do not use Earl Grey or teas with essential oils to make your Kombucha. Earl Grey tea can damage or harm the SCOBY, making it unable to produce your Kombucha.
Your first batch may take more days (7-10) to fully ferment due to the SCOBY's temporary dormancy during travel, so be patient. The SCOBY will grow to the width of the jar (at the surface) and the next batch will ferment in the actual 7-10 days. You can use most food storage plastic or glass to make your Kombucha in, but avoid aluminum. There are two methods to make the tea prior to adding your SCOBY:
Quick Steep and Long Steep
Long Steep method: if you have more time and want to extract more of the tea flavor, use the long steep method. After you add the tea to the boiled water with sugar, allow the water to cool down to room temperature naturally (may take 10-12 hours). After which time you can add strain using our (funnel/strainer) out the tea and add your SCOBY and start the Kombucha fermenting.
Quick Steep: Bring 1/2 gallon(1.89l) of water and 1 cup(236.5ml) white* sugar to boil, turn off heat, stir in tea, steep for at least one hour to extract the maximum flavor and tannins from the tea. Then, strain using our (funnel/strainer) out the tea, add a a little ice and/or cold water and add your SCOBY to begin fermentation.
The room temperature should be between 65-75F(18-24c). Warner temps up to 90f are ok and will really speed up the fermentation time. Cover with cloth using rubber band to secure cloth around your glass jar or plastic vessel. If you want the Kombucha to ferment faster, especially if the room is cool (during winter months) use our Heater Belt to apply more heat. Allow to ferment at room temperature for 7-10 days, sometimes longer with first batch. Using a clean spoon, taste your Kombucha for residual sweetness every day until you prefer the flavor. Take a pH test and when the pH is between 3.0 and 3.5 your Kombucha is ready to bottle and drink. If you prefer a somewhat less acidic Kombucha, bottle at just under 4.0 pH. Pull SCOBY off Kombucha and store SCOBY in a glass jar covered with either freshly made cooled tea/sugar/water or a small amount of already fermented Kombucha. You don't want your Kombucha to become too acidic. Seven days seems to be the magic time period for fermentation yet as your SCOBY matures, it can ferment a gallon of Kombucha in 3-5 days.
Bottling: When bottling, add a little non-sweetened fruit juice concentrate after fermentation is complete to give it the flavor you want a fruit flavor. Or add a little sweetened fruit juice concentrate to get the fizzies in your Kombucha. Or add a very small of one of our extracts for flavor. Ginger is our most popular post fermentation flavors. Store your finished Kombucha in a glass bottle with a tight or if you want some natural carbonation add ½-1 teaspoon of white sugar prior to bottling. There is still Kombucha bacteria in the liquid and you may see a new SCOBY baby forming at the top. Upon drinking your Kombucha from a bottle, you may or may not want to discard the little SCOBY baby, though some like to swallow it, since it contains healthy bacteria and yeast.
Note: Over time your SCOBY will become thick & layered and absorb more of the liquid. Use the top of the SCOBY to make future batches, giving away, storing or discarding the lower SCOBY layers. Your SCOBY should not be thicker than ½ inch or 2 cm. Thicker SCOBYS will absorb more liquid, thus yielding less for you. Store your SCOBY(S) at normal room temperature, adding (about every 3-4 weeks) a small amount of freshly made tea/sugar/water to maintain health of SCOBY.
Discard SCOBY if white or black colonies of mold appear.
Use only white sugar. Do not use artificial or brown sugar.
For a vanilla flavor, slit and scrape a fresh vanilla bean and place scrapings and entire bean into the sugar for at least two weeks.
Enjoy your gluten free Kombucha!
-Steve Shapson, The CheeseMaker