Brew your own Kombucha

What is kombucha?
Kombucha is fermented tea. It contains a lot of beneficial bacterias that are super good for your gut. It’s an excellent source of probiotics. It tastes a little sweet and you can brew it in a lot of natural flavours.

IMG_7882_polarrWhat is the best kombucha?
There are many different brands and not one brand tastes the same. One of my favourite brands is definitely the Mighty Brew. Available in some health stores and cafes. They have amazing flavours and I really prefer their kombucha over other brands. I also sometimes get LoBros (as it’s available in the supermarket; Sainsbury’s) and Remedy (lots of cafes sell this brand). I find them quite similar in taste. They’re both tasty, but quite sweet. They are a very good alternative when I can’t get my hands on MightyBrew though. But what is even more fun.. is to brew your own kombucha! The taste doesn’t compare to anything, it’s amazing. If you’d like to get into that, here is how I did it. I will tell you how I successfully brewed my own kombucha and what can go wrong.

IMG_4310_polarrBrewing your own kombucha:
To brew your own kombucha, before you can start, you first need to get some essentials. Some are super easy to get, for others you need to do a little research. As soon as you have everything, you can start the process. The first process is called the First Fermentation. This is when the good bacterias start to grow/multiply and it takes 7-10 days, depending on how acidic you want your kombucha. I recommend making it quite acidic, but still drinkable of course. As soon as this process is finished, you can start the Second Fermentation and this is where you add the flavour (fruits that work very well and I recommend for first time brewers: mango (my fave!!) and pineapple) and in this process it will become naturally fizzy. When this process (that takes only a few days) is finished, you can drink it! I will talk you through the whole process.

IMG_4746_polarrWhat do you need to brew your own kombucha?
-Big jar (I recommend 4L).
-Scoby + starter tea. *
-Organic black tea leaves.
-Organic cane sugar.
-(cheese) Cloth + rubber band.
-Funnel.
-Airtight bottles. **
-Fruit for flavouring.

*You can buy scobies and starter tea via the internet, but maybe you know someone who brews kombucha already. For every batch you make, you grow a new scoby. So people who brew kombucha, mostly have a spare one to give away. By brewing your own batch, you grow a new scoby yourself, that you can use for your next batch and so on. 

**I recommend airtight swing-top bottles. 

IMG_2654First Fermentation
(7-10 days):
3,5L of filtered water
3 tbs of tea 
1 cup sugar
2 cups of starter tea
1 scoby

-Boil 4 cups of the water and add the tea and the sugar. Let it steep for about 15 min. Stir it once in a while, to make sure all the sugar has melted. You now made a tea concentrate.
-Put the rest of the water in the big jar and add the tea concentrate.
-Add the starter tea and the scoby.
-Put the cloth over the top of the jar and use a rubber band to keep it into place.
-Put the jar in a warm place (24-29C), out of direct sunlight.
-Try not to move it once you put it away, because this will affect the new scoby that is growing on the surface. 

IMG_9787_polarrSecond Fermentation
(3-4 days):
400 ml blended fruit

-Take the scoby out and put it aside.
-Take 2 cups of starter tea (for next batch).
Stir the kombucha.
-Add about 1/3 cup to every 500 ml bottle.
-Fill up the bottles with the First Fermentation tea.
Wipe to bottles dry and seal them.
-Put the bottles away in room temperature for about 3-4 days.
-Put them in the fridge and as soon as they’re cold they are ready for drinking.

You can technically drink it before putting it in the fridge. But cooling them helps a little bit with the fizz, as that process slows down a lot at colder temperatures. Always beware when opening a bottle though, it can get quite messy and I recommend opening it very carefully and gradually. I learned the hard way!

IMG_6938_polarrWhat is a Scoby hotel?
Because with every batch there is a new scoby formed and you can’t make a new batch for every scoby (unless you have a lot of space maybe!), you end up with scobies you won’t use directly. You can give them away or use them for lots of other things (google for all the things you can do with left over scobies), but it’s very useful to keep them as well. For when you want to spontaneously make a new batch or for when one of your brews goes wrong for whatever reason. It’s helpful to always have some on hand. So having an extra jar with several scobies is super handy. This jar with extra scobies, is called a scoby hotel. If you make sure the scobies are in enough tea, you also always have some very acidic starter tea on hand. Win win!

IMG_4820_polarrWhat can go wrong?
So what happened a few times to me and the reason why I’m currently not brewing any, is that my scoby in my first fermentation got mouldy. This mostly happens when the temperature where the jar is stored isn’t warm enough. I brewed my kombucha at work (as brewing in a van is kinda impossible with no stable temperatures and a lot of movement) and the warmest place at work wasn’t warm enough. So every time I tried brewing with my own scoby and starter tea, it wasn’t strong enough and it failed every time. It made me quite sad actually as I find brewing kombucha so so exciting! I did manage to brew about 6 amazing tasting litres though and it was the best kombucha I ever tasted. I will give it another go in the summer, when the outside temperature is high as well. This will be helpful.

Did you ever try brewing your own kombucha? I would love to hear and see your experiences! You can let me know down below or tag me on Instagram with @freedomevermore. Thank you! X

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