Kombucha is a brewed fermented drink that can easily be made at home with the help of a fresh starter otherwise known as a ‘Scoby’ (Symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) or ‘mother’.
According to Ayurveda, the qualities of the Kombucha beverage are similar to vinegar - it is highly acidic and increases Pitta.
Therefore common to popular belief, Kombucha is best consumed in small quantities for the primary purpose of supporting digestion and building heat.
To follow are simple instructions of how to make your first brew, which can be repeated for each new batch and enjoyed over the years to come. Note that individual tastes vary and the longer you leave your Kombucha to ferment the more it will taste like vinegar ! So it is best to test the flavour is too your sweetness liking after about one week, then two weeks of brewing etc.
Dosha balancing tips
A longer brew would benefit Vata and Kapha dosha, whilst a shorter, sweeter brew would be more suited for Pitta.
Add a tablespoon of your Kombucha brew to water and drink 10 minutes before eating to invigorate your digestive juice.
Store bought Kombucha is pasturised to meet shelf stable requirements, so it is truly best to make your own fresh and drink in small portions as required.
Enjoy the process and remember to talk kindly to your Kombucha mama – it makes a difference in the strength and taste of your resulting brew, I am sure of it ;)
What you’ll need
Water – filtered from as many contaminants if possible. Although tap water could be used if this is the only option. Note the perfect starting pH for Kombucha is 4.6 so Alkalinized water is not a good choice and could kill the Scoby.
Organic Tea (Camellia Sinensis) – black, green, oolong, Darjeeling, white etc. Note; the type of tea chosen effects to taste of the tea and the ongoing health of the Scoby. The Kombucha given with these instructions is familiar with organic black tea. Do not use black chai, flavored or Ceylon teas as these contain oils, which are unhelpful for the fermentation process. Note; tea bags are best used to prevent tea leaves from getting missed in the brew and thus potentially moldy !
Sugar – although plane white cane sugar is the easier to digest option for your Scoby to consume and thus produce its vitamins, minerals, probiotics, enzymes and c02, I’ve also fed my Scoby raw sugar and thus far done just fine.
Starter tea – use all the liquid goodness that your Scoby is swimming in when you get it.
Scoby – do not use a Scoby if it has signs of mold (black, green, orange or very white spots) or has turned black, which is a sign it has died.
A vessel to boil the water and prepare the tea/sugar mix within.
Open-mouthed glass jar, the larger the opening the faster the ferment – note; only use glass as other containers can be damaging to the Kombucha, metal for example.
Paper towel, coffee filter or multi-layered tight-weave cheese cloth to cover the jar.
Elastic bands to secure the covering.
Grolsch-style, flip-top Glass bottles.
pH strips (optional) Finished Kombucha should have a pH between 2.0 and 4.5 to be considered acidic enough and safe to drink.
Prepare your water by bringing it to the boil and once boiled removing it from the heat to stir in the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the tea bags, cover and let brew for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove the lid and the tea bags and let the water cool COMPLETELY to room temperature before proceeding.
Once the tea preparation has cooled completely and is no warmer than body temperature (not refrigerator cold either) pour the preparation into your glass brewing jar, being sure to leave enough room to then add the starter tea (which your Scoby has been swimming in) and then (singing happy songs and cooing sweet words) add the Scoby.
Cover the brewing container with your breathable cloth and secure it with an elastic band tightly.
Choose a safe spot devoid of drafts or alternating temperatures (22 – 26 degrees Celsius is ideal) and place your Scoby there to do a wonderful job of producing you a lovely healing, tingly, beverage.
Let ferment from anywhere between 5 and 30 days, testing the taste (and pH if desired) until your preferred strength of flavour is produced. Note; try not to disturb it too often.
Once the desired time has passed, thank your Scoby for her marvellous efforts, remove her with clean hands and put her aside in a glass bowl with 1/8th of the brew you just made (I tend to use up too a 1 cup volume of starter tea to 1 liter).
Prepare your sterilised flip-top bottles by placing the funnel inside with the non-metal mesh strainer over the top and pour the Kombucha tea into the bottles. Notice that there will be lots of floating dark bits in the tea (and this is why we strain it) which are not harmful to drink but can be unpleasant in texture.
Store your sealed bottles in a dark cupboard for a few days then move to refrigerate. Refrigeration will stop the secondary fermentation process and prevent a huge ‘pop’ and over fizz when opening the bottle if leaving it too long in the cupboard ! Note; due to the nature of fermentation an inferior Scoby can begin to form in the brewed bottles if left unopened for a while, strain and discard the ‘floaters’ in the compost if you prefer too.
How to notice if your Mother Scoby has produced baby Scoby’s !
Don’t be alarmed if you come to bottle your precious beverage and there is a thin whitish film on top of your brew, as this could well be a new Scoby ! Either this or your Mother Scoby seems to have thickened and has an extra attachment. It is completely fine to keep them attached (perhaps until the new Scoby is a bit more robust) to make your next brew, alternatively peal the new Scoby away, make it a new brew or store it in a suitable container (remember metal kills Scoby’s) with enough of the starter tea and place it in the refrigerator to ‘hibernate’ a few weeks until you are either ready to use it again or give it to a friend. Compost also loves Scoby’s so give it back to the earth if your Mother Scoby is multiplying too fast for your friends to keep up. Enjoy and share the Kombucha love :)
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Try it and comment with your insights. I love to read you and reply each time.
Love and happy digestive fire,