One would think that someone, such as myself, who has for years been making herbal tinctures, fermenting vegetables and fruits, making yogurt etc. would also be into making and consuming kombucha. Sure, I knew a little bit about it but hadn’t given it a second look when I saw it in the stores. Finally, last week, I got around to tasting kombucha for the first time. I like it. Faye tried it and doesn’t care for it at all.
Kombucha is an effervescent, vinegary, slightly sweet beverage made from sweetened tea which has been fermented by a combination of various yeasts and bacteria. Of course, I was determined to make my own and immediately ordered some SCOBY, a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria & Yeast. The SCOBY came packaged in over a cup of starter tea, sufficient to make one gallon of kombucha. Since I would be using two 2 quart jars in two separate batches I was glad the SCOBY came in two pieces.
For the first batch I used all black tea, and for the second a combination of black and green teas. I used 1/2 cup of sugar for each half gallon. Most of the sugar will have been eaten by the yeasts by the time the kombucha is finished, so this is not a high sugar beverage.
After the tea had steeped for awhile and the black tea had made its contribution I removed the bundle of tea and let the tea cool completely to room temperature. Then I added half of the starter tea, poured it all into the 2 quart jar and slid in the SCOBY.
SCOBY is a truly strange substance. It is a slippery gelatinous mass that grows another layer each time it is used. The new layer will grow to the sides of the jar sealing the liquid below it from the outside air.
I covered the top of the fermenting jars with coffee filters to keep the fruit flies out and placed the jars in a different location than the cabbage I am fermenting to avoid cross contamination of the very different bacterias for the different types of ferments.
I will start sampling the kombucha after about a week. When it suits my taste I’ll bottle and cap it and leave it out for a few more days to build up effervescence before refrigerating.