How to Make Kombucha

The Organic Mechanic on how to make kombucha at home

The Organic Mechanic on how to make kombucha at home. Picture / Supplied.

At the Organic Mechanic, we’ve been into kombucha from our very first sip. Tasty and refreshing on a hot summer day, it’s also packed full of living organisms to help feed and develop healthy gut bacteria. It helps improve digestion, immunity, it eases the symptoms of bloating and can even boost serotonin levels. It’s a really rewarding process to make at home, and you can do so with a few common ingredients. Here's how to make kombucha at home.

For 3L brew:
• 1 3-4L glass container
• 1 x wooden spoon
• Paper towels and rubber bands
• Muslin cloth (Or a cotton tea towel)
• 3L water
• 1 cup organic sugar
• 4 black tea bags
• 250ml of starter kombucha tea
• 1 x scoby per ferment jar

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Brew a pot of tea
Bring 500ml of pure, filtered/spring water to the boil, then turn off heat and stir in sugar to dissolve. Drop in tea bags and allow to seep until water has cooled.

2. Add kombucha starter
When the water has cooled, use the wooden spoon to fish out tea bags, and transfer cold brew into glass fermentation jar. Next, pour in the starter tea. This liquid helps to create the optimal environment for the scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) to thrive. Add the remaining 2.5L water.

3. Bathe mother scoby
With clean hands full of love, pick up the scoby mother and slide into the cold tea brew, with the smooth side facing up. Cover the jar with a paper towel, and secure with rubber band.

4. Ferment for 7-10 days
Place jar at room temperature, and out of direct sunlight — don’t let her get jostled/disturbed. In a loving, warm/ish cupboard in the kitchen away from chemicals and electromagnetic disturbances is an ideal spot. You may find that your scoby forms a younger layer on top, which can be shared with a friend, or used to start another brew. Healthy fermentation signs include brown stringy floaties, sediment collecting at the bottom, and bubbles forming around the scoby.

5. Test your brew
After 5-6 days, sample your batch by pouring a small cup — remember not to use metal. We are looking for a balance between sweetness and tartness, meaning the more days you ferment, the more vinegary it will become.

6. Remove your scoby
Once you are getting a tart yet sourish taste, your kombucha is ready to bottle. Before proceeding, measure another cup of starter liquid to place your scoby in during the transfer process.

7. Bottle the goods
Through a small funnel, pour fermented kombucha (straining with muslin cloth if desired) into sealable glass bottles. Leave about a thumb-width of head room in each. During this stage, you may wish to add additional flavours to your brew; try ginger, fruit, herbs, spices or teas.

8. Secondary ferment
Store your bottled kombucha at room temperature, and out of sunlight for 1-3 days to naturally carbonate. Afterwards, refrigerate to stop the fermentation and carbonation process. Consume within six weeks.

9. Do it all again
You can now use your scoby to repeat step one and brew another batch. Over time, your scoby supplies will double, so make sure to share the love.

• Organic Mechanic kombucha is available nationwide. See organicmechanic.co.nz for stockists.

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