Does anyone here brew Kombucha? Any favorite recipes? How do I get mine bubbly like the stuff they sell at Whole Foods?
Have you ever tried brewing Kombucha vinegar? Kombucha wine?
Kombucha is incredibly easy to make and can be a wonderful addition to your daily routine, especially once you have customized your flavors.
Check out the free recipe here: Kombucha Recipe
Want it Bubbly? Try these tips:
Not familiar with Kombucha? Kombucha Health Benefit Information
Growing clothes out of SCOBYs is fine, but that doesn't help the homebrewer. Instead here's an article about using SCOBYs around the house for all kinds of things!
Hope that helps! Brew Kombucha it's awesome!
The Kombucha Mamma
I can only comment on favorite recipes and carbonation - would love to hear more about "kombucha wine," though! :)
Kombucha recipes vary so much - it seems everyone has a different method, but this is what is working for me. The instructions assume you do not have a SCOBY already, and are starting with a bottle of unpasteurized, store-bought kombucha (unflavored).
Boil 12 c of filtered water in a large stock pot, and steep 6 tea bags (I use 3 black and 3 green) for 10-20 minutes. Remove tea bags, and add 1 c of sugar (I use sucanat) and stir until dissolved. Cover and allow to cool to room temperature. (Make sure your starter kombucha is also room temperature.)
STAGE 1 - Aerobic Ferment:
Pour your tea and your starter kombucha into a clean, gallon-sized glass carboy. Cover with a cheesecloth secured with a rubber band. Place in a darkish, non-drafty place on your kitchen counter. Resist the urge to move it or mess with it too much. In 5-7 days you should see a thin "mushroom" (SCOBY) floating on top.
Stage 1 of your first batch should be ready in 7-10 days. Test periodically for taste.
Reserve 2 c of kombucha and the SCOBY (you will use this to start your next batch of kobucha).
STAGE 2 - Anaerobic Ferment (carbonation phase):
Add 1/2 c fruit juice** to remaining kombucha, and transfer to clean, glass carafes with air-tight lids. Allow to ferment an additional 7-10 days at room temperature. Carbonation pressure will build up in the bottles, so I like to adjust the lids every couple of days to make sure that there isn't TOO much pressure (not sure how legitimate this concern is, but that's what I do). Refrigerate and enjoy.
Starting your next batch:
Make more sweet tea (as above); cool. In a clean, glass carboy, combine tea and reserved 2 c kombucha and SCOBY. Cover with a cheesecloth secured with a rubber band to start brewing your next batch of kombucha.
** Note: I've tried several fruit juices, but my hands-down favorite flavor combination is organic pear juice + fresh ginger root (1" thinly sliced per quart).
I brew a lot of kombucha and my preferred way to do it is to use organic green tea, and to bottle it with a little ginger juice. I've never had much luck getting high carbonation, but am considering trying a beer-bottling kit. The only other thing I do with my SCOBYs is (unintentionally) gross out my squeamish bf. He hates to even catch a glimpse of them.
After I decant about 1 gallon from my continuous brew, I do a second ferment where I put a piece of dried fruit or candied ginger in each 16oz bottle before capping tightly. The sugar from this addition gives the Kombucha yeast something to eat and the tight bottling makes the carbon dioxide bubbles turn into carbonation in a few days at out of the refrigerator.
Experiment with amounts but don't put too much sugar/juice/fruit in the second bottling or it can create alcohol. It can also explode with carbonation if you over do the sugar and/or leave it out too long. I also find that my Kombucha is great with added bubbly water. It almost tastes too strong to me now straight.
I don't have too many alternative uses for the SCOBY but if I get too many and I can't give them away, they are good for the compost. One thing I have wondered is if you can use the SCOBY to ferment anything else like vegetables.
I do use my Kombucha for a lot of things tho: Quick pickled vegetables, salad dressing, frozen sorbet, fruit glazes for desserts, Lacto fermented catsup. I basically add it it anything and everything! It has a great tart/sweet flavor profile plus the fantastic probiotics.
To make it bubbling you just need to bottle it under pressure for a week or two.
Alternative uses for scobys include wound care (really good on staph) and according to a TED lecture, making clothing! Here is the link
the best alternative use I've seen so far: http://blog.ted.com/2011/05/04/grow-your-own-clothes-suzanne-lee-on-ted-com/
I don't make it anymore. In fact I think it's pretty gross now.
But I always had good carbonation by putting some mashed berries in each individual bottle before bottling. Like what they do with champaign: they put some sugar in for the bubbles.
3 quarts water, 1.5 cups sugar, 3 black tea bags, 3 green tea bags is my basic recipe. After about 10-12 days I bottle it with some added ginger or some fruit, let sit for 3-5 day to build up carbonation the put in fridge to cool. I do not have any issue getting the fizz in mine usually. Some people say that green tea makes a better fizz.
I'm interested in trying Kombucha, though have been concerned that too much sugar is left over - the store-bought stuff tends to be too sweet for my taste. Is this an issue?
I really like fermented foods and have an ongoing kefir culture going, and make sauerkraut often - it's all really amazing and delicious and fun!