Kombucha is a healthy probiotic beverage that is both refreshing and easy to make!
Kombucha is a fermented, probiotic, naturally carbonated tea, combining sweetened tea with a “mushroom” consisting of active cultures of yeast and bacteria. This mushroom is better known as a SCOBY or Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. You can purchase a kombucha kit, obtain a SCOBY from a friend or grow your own SCOBY. (See How to Grow Your Own SCOBY.)
This method is the Batch Brew Method. You may prefer the Continuous Brew Method. If I had enough counter space I would keep the brew going. (See Continuous Brew Kombucha.)
*What type of tea and what type of sugar?
Any refined organic white sugar will work. Unlike water kefir which thrives on the minerals contained in unrefined sugar, kombucha does better with refined sugar. All fermented foods need a substrate, and white sugar works great for kombucha. As for tea? Black or green tea work well, but herbal teas can hinder the process. I like Pure Puer Tea.
If you cannot tolerate caffeine choose a high quality decaffeinated tea.
How do I know it’s done?
The ideal pH for kombucha is approximately 2.6 to optimize the gluconic and acetic acids present in kombucha. I use pH strips to know for certain.
The brew on the left has been going for 10 days. The brew on the right for 4 days. The longer brew is approaching a 2.6 pH.
How will I know if something is wrong?
If you notice mold growing on the SCOBY or the brew smells “off” trust your instincts and toss it.
What if the kombucha gets too sour?
No worries! There are plenty of uses for sour kombucha. See 10 Uses for Sour Kombucha.
How do I store my extra SCOBYs?
If you want to take a break or keep your extras, simply place them in a glass jar or bowl and pour some of your reserved kombucha over the SCOBY(s). They will keep fine in a cool dark spot in your kitchen.
Kombucha is not a cure-all or fix-it for chronic health issues. Those with histamine or yeast issues may have difficulty with kombucha. For most, however, kombucha offers a nice probiotic boost to the immune system and a delicious alternative to conventional soda!