A few of you DIYer’s out there have been clamoring for a kombucha recipe, but I’m merely a connoisseur and haven’t been making this living tea myself. As it happens, I live in an eclectic little community, and wouldn’t you know my neighbor Dillon has been making the stuff for years. She swears it’s easy and low maintenance. I present to you her time-tested method.
What you need:
1 gallon sized, wide-mouth glass jar.
3 quarts water –purified, filtered or distilled.
1 ½ cups sugar (white, brown or raw). Don’t use honey because it has living organisms and you don’t want it to interfere with the culture you’re trying to grow.
3 teaspoons or teabags of caffeinated tea (black, green or white).
1 kombucha culture, heretofore known as a pad, because that’s what it looks like. (check craigslist; the pad multiplies and people are always giving extras away).
1 square foot of cheesecloth (to cover the mouth of the jar) and a large rubber band.
What you do:
Make sure your glass jar is very clean. You will be growing a living culture in it and you don’t want other bacteria interfering.
Boil the water in a pan. Take it off the heat, steep the tea (10-20 minutes) and dissolve the sugar. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
Pour the sweet tea into the jar and place the kombucha pad on top.
Cover the jar with cheesecloth held by a rubber band. Do not use thick cloth or a lid – the culture needs to breath!
Leave jar in a cool, dry place for 5-7 days. Watch for a few fizz bubbles. Keep your fingers out of it – you don’t want to introduce other bacteria.
Strain out your kombucha and put it in the fridge. Cloudy strings of culture are natural and safe to drink, but you’ll probably want to strain them out.
Leave the pad in the jar with enough kombucha to cover it. Start a new batch within a few days or your pad will die!
The kombucha pad is eating and metabolizing the sugar, so your finished product will not actually contain much sugar.
The longer you leave the jar, the more vinegary it will become. 5-day kombucha will be sweeter, but not as strong, as 9-day kombucha.
After about 2 weeks, the pad will run out of sugar and starve, so don’t wait too long!
Your kombucha pad is alive. After a batch or two, you’ll notice it has multiplied. You can peel the pads apart and start two batches, or give one to a friend! (Use a Ziploc bag with some kombucha liquid in it to keep the pad alive).
Dillon’s expert tips:
If you leave the baby connected to the mother pad, your next batch will brew quicker.
The kombucha will brew more quickly in warm temperature, and more slowly when its cool.
You can add fruit or ginger juice after its finished to give your brew different flavors.
Dillion’s favorite brewing tea is Celestial Seasonings Morning Thunder (sorry, it’s not organic!)
For the burgeoning entrepreneur, there is a growing demand for local, homemade kombucha. This is a great cottage industry and you could be at the forefront. Kombucha lovers like me will appreciate it!
Have fun and let me know how it goes.