Kombucha 101: What It Is and How to Make It

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I don’t know about you but I love a nice, cold, refreshing drink in the afternoons. And no, it does not need to be alcoholic. I have a love affair with kombucha that started a few years ago but really kicked back up a few months ago. I must say that I have tried almost all the local kombuchas sold at farmers’ markets and at grocery stores and I’ve learned what I like and what I don’t like – slightly tangy, not so sweet!

A glass of kombucha (Kombucha 101: What It Is and How to Make It Kristina Fiorentino Contributor Miami Mom Collective)

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented iced tea. It is made using 3 ingredients–sugar, tea, and a scoby. SCOBY is an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast” and is very similar to the mother used to make vinegar. When combined together, the scoby eats up the sugar in the tea and leaves behind a fizzy, slightly sweet iced tea (when chilled). It is full of probiotics and allegedly has many health benefits. It is a non-alcoholic beverage although some may have traces of alcohol since it is fermented so just be wary of that with the kids.

What do you need?

  • 3 1/2 quarts water
  • .5-1 cup sugar (regular granulated sugar works best)
  • 8 bags black tea, white tea, green tea, or a mix
  • 2 cups starter tea from the last batch of kombucha or store-bought kombucha
  • 1 scoby
  • 1 glass gallon jar

How do you make it?

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Make the tea base: Bring your water to a boil. Stir in the sugar. Drop in the tea and allow it to steep until your water is warm to cool. You can always add in a few ice cubes.
2. Add the starter tea: Once the tea is cool, remove the tea bags. Stir in the starter tea. 
3. Transfer to your glass gallon jar and add the scoby: Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon glass jar and gently add in the scoby. Cover the jar with a few layers of cheesecloth or paper towels and wrap a rubber band around it.
4. Ferment for 7 to 10 days: Keep the jar out on a countertop where it is not getting direct sunlight. Check the kombucha and the scoby once every few days after day 4 as taste varies from person to person and even batch to batch.

BOTTLING

1. Remove the scoby and pour the fermented kombucha into bottles using a small funnel, along with any juice, herbs, or fruit you may want to use as flavoring. 
2. Store the bottled kombucha at room temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate. Refrigerate to stop fermentation. Your kombucha is good for about 1 month.
3. Either make a new batch of kombucha or store your scoby in some of the original starter tea on your countertop until you are ready to do it again.

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