For as long as I can remember, my friends have lovingly teased me for being a hippie. Well, I’m sure this post will put them over the edge. While I certainly don’t categorize myself as one, I will be the first to admit that I’m a big fan of self-sufficiency. In a world where everything we could possibly want and need is at our fingertips, I find self-sufficiency that much more rewarding.
To my own surprise, I did not become a diehard kombucha fan until recently. While I’d known about it and occasionally sipped on it for years, it wasn’t until a few months back that I began to crave it on the daily. One day, I was buying a couple bottles at Whole Foods when the cashier clued me in on just how easy and cost-effective it is to make your own. We quickly became SCOBY friends, and she hooked me up with a SCOBY of my own.
Now that I’ve made my own, I’ll admit that while the process is quite simple, it requires a boatload of patience. One batch takes about a week and a half to ferment, but it is so worth it! I plan on making batches continuously so that I am never without my precious booch.
Aside from kombucha’s uniquely strange, yet satisfying taste, it’s super good for you. Long story short, it’s an immune- and energy-boosting elixir that detoxifies the liver, prevents and treats arthritis, aids in digestion, and improves gut health. Plus, despite being an avid h2o drinker, it’s sometimes nice to sip on something flavored. Speaking of which, the options are endless when it comes to flavoring kombucha, which makes prepping your own that much more exciting.
Delving into this process would have been extremely intimidating had I not received pointers from my trusty Whole Foods cashier and one of my new kitchen books, Kombucha Revolution. While their advice was invaluable, the goal of this post is to combine what I’ve learned in a concise and straightforward way. If you have any questions or an idea for a flavor that I can make for future posts, I’d love for you to leave a comment! In the meantime, happy brewing. :)
Note: Although I used green tea, black tea and oolong tea work great as well. Similarly, while I used papaya purée, any fruit purée will do. Also, your secondary fermentation period may vary considerably depending on the type of fruit purée that is used. Be sure to taste-test your kombucha for desired carbonation level before transferring to the fridge. For instance, papaya takes about 48 hours, whereas mango takes about 96.
What you’ll need:
- 14 cups filtered water
- 20 green tea bags
- 1 cup pure cane sugar
- 2 cups unflavored kombucha (I used GT’s Original)
- 2 tbsp. raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 1 SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast)
- 1/2 a papaya
- 1 one-gallon glass jar with plastic lid
- 6 glass bottles with plastic caps
- A funnel with strainer attachment
What you’ll do:
- In a large pot, bring 6 cups of filtered water to a boil; once boiling, turn the heat off and steep the tea bags, covering the pot with a lid, for approximately 5 minutes; discard the tea bags
- Stir the sugar into the tea until dissolved; then, stir in the remaining 8 cups of filtered water
- Once the tea mixture has reached room temperature (this is crucial, as temperatures above room temperature will kill your SCOBY), stir in the starter kombucha and apple cider vinegar
- Pour the mixture into the jar, being sure to leave about 1 inch of air; place the SCOBY on top and secure the lid; store in a warm, dark place and allow to ferment for one week
- Prep your papaya by scooping out the seeds and discarding; scoop out the flesh and add to a blender; blend until smooth and, using a funnel without the strainer attachment, divide the papaya puree among the six bottles
- Using a funnel with the strainer attachment, add approximately 2 cups of kombucha to each bottle and cap, being sure to leave about 1 inch of air; store in a warm, dark place for at least 48 hours (see note above)
- Immerse the SCOBY in 2 cups of kombucha and set aside for your next batch; this will serve as the starter kombucha
- Transfer your kombucha to the fridge and allow to refrigerate for at least 6 hours; then, you’re ready to crack open a bottle and enjoy your homemade booch!