Kombucha is a fermented probiotic tea that is also carbonated. Kombucha starts off as sugary tea and is fermented over a 2-3 week process until you are left with a fizzy probiotic beverage. A probiotic is good for your gut health and aids in digestion. Kombucha requires 2 fermentation processes.
The 1st ferment is with a SCOBY and is for 7-11 days with air flow to the ferment. A SCOBY is a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria & Yeast, and when it is added to the sugary tea concoction the fermentation process begins. Once you are satisfied with the 1st fermentation, you remove the SCOBY and begin the 2nd fermentation process.
The 2nd ferment is done with fruit or herbs in a sealed air tight container and usually takes 3-5 days. During the 2nd ferment you must "burp" it to let the CO2 out. The CO2 buildup is what makes the Kombucha fizz, so burping it allows excess CO2 out so the bottle won't fizz out and overflow, or worse, a pressureized Kombucha Geyser.
Bach to the SOCBY--
A SCOBY is a jelly like disk built up of multiple layers. They can be gifted from fellow brewers, bought, or grown. In fact I have seen them on Etsy and Amazon, however getting one from a friend that also brews would be best. You can also grow your own SCOBY, but I was unsuccessful my first time, but that doesn't mean you will be! Give it a shot and let me know how it goes. There are plenty of recipes on Pinterest if you are interested. The SCOBY will grow with every batch so you will end up with more than 1.
When you get too many you can compost them, make a variety of treats, use them as fertilizer and more. I haven't tried any of these yet, but when I do I will make another post. Again Pinterest is a good starting point for inspiration on how to recycle your SCOBY's.
SCOBY's are stored in a jar with 2-3 cups of kombucha, which is referred to as a SCOBY Hotel. So once the first fermentation process is done you remove the SCOBY and place it in the Hotel until you are ready to ferment your next batch. I purchased PLAIN non flavored kombucha from the health food store to start my SCOBY Hotel. Every time I am starting a 1st ferment I take 1 cup from the SCOBY Hotel and add it to serve as a "starter". Once the 1st ferment is done, I take 1 cup from it and add it back to the SCOBY Hotel to serve as the starter for next time.
~Now for the 1st fermentation~
*Ensure all your materials are sanitized, you can do this with Strong Kangen 2.5 or boiling water. Sanitize your jar, tongs, straw, and hands.
*Ensure you have a glass jar for the fermentation to take place in, plastic or other material will not do, it must be glass.
You will need:
1 Gallon glass jar (or any jar representing your desired kombucha yield, must be glass)
1 SCOBY Hotel (SCOBY jar with kombucha to store it in)
1 c. Boiling Water
1 Rubber Band
1 Set of Tongs
1 c. Starter
2 c. Sugar
8 Tea Bags
13 c. Water
1. Sanitize your jar, tongs, straw, and hands
2. Pour the 13 cups of water into the jar, and place all 8 tea bags in and let it steep for 20 minutes. (if you are NOT using Kangen Water you will need to heat the 13 cups of water)
3. Pour the boiling water into the 2 cups of sugar
3. Use the straw to stir the sugar into the water, it must all dissolve
4. Allow the sugar water to cool to room temp
5. Remove the tea bags and pour in the sugar water
5. Add the SCOBY to the sugary tea mixture
6. Take 1 cup from the SCOBY hotel and add it to the sugary tea mixture
7. Cover with a clothe and rubber band
8. Store in a dark dry place for 7-11 days
~Now for the 2nd fermentation~
*ensure all bottles, funnel, measuring cup and tongs are sanitized with Strong Kangen 2.5 Water or with boiling water.
You will need:
Enough flip top vessels to hold a gallon of Kombucha
1 Set of Tongs
1 SCOBY Hotel
1. Remove SCOBY from the 1st ferment and put the SCOBY back in the Hotel
2. Sanitize your flip top bottles or jars with Strong Kangen 2.5 Water or boiling water and allow them to dry
3. Cut fruit or herbs into small pieces and fill the bottles or jars to your liking
4. Use a funnel to pour the 1st ferment over the fruit into the bottles and secure lids
5. Label the 2nd ferment jars or bottles with the flavor and date.
6. Open each bottle once a day to "burp" it // let out the CO2
7. Once the flavor and carbonation is to your liking, strain the fruit out
8. Pour over ice to enjoy
*1st ferment should last 11 days
*2nd ferment should be at least 3 days
*the more sugar the fruit has, the better the results
*avoid using dried fruit
*don't refrigerate the finished product, it takes away the fizz
*to store, remove fruit and put back into flip top bottle, keep in dark dry place
*have a variety of flip top bottles and jars, jars allow for larger fruit to be placed in for the 2nd ferment. Bottles are sometimes hard to get the fruit out of once the fermenting is done. I have 6 16oz bottles and 1 33oz bottle pictured.