Ingredients for One Quart of Kombucha
4 Grams of Black or Green Tea Leaves (or two tea bags)
¼ Cup Sugar
½ Cup of Kombucha that is ready to drink (or raw apple cider vinegar)
Kombucha Mother (Most kombucha makers will gladly give you one for free; otherwise, this may be purchased online or grown from kombucha that is live and unfiltered.)
1. In a stainless steel pot, boil one cup of water. Remove from heat. For black tea: add tea leaves immediately and steep 5 minutes. For green tea: let water cool 1 minute, then add tea leaves and steep 4 minutes. Then remove the tea leaves [And compost them!].
2. Dissolve sugar into the hot tea.
3. Pour sweetened tea into a 1 Quart glass jar.
4. Add 1-½ cups of cold water to the jar.
5. Cool the tea to 90° F or cooler so as not to kill the kombucha culture. If you can keep your finger in the tea for several seconds without any discomfort it is cool enough.
6. Stir in the kombucha that is ready to drink. (This increases the acidity—encouraging growth of the beneficial kombucha culture and discouraging foreign cultures from contaminating it. This also introduces a liquid form of the kombucha culture.) Raw apple cider vinegar may be substituted if you do not have this.
7. Add the kombucha mother to the jar of tea. It does not matter if it sinks or floats right away, but it should float to the surface within 1-3 days if the culture is viable.
8. Top it off with cool water. (Kombucha culture breathes oxygen—so the wider the surface area of the kombucha tea, the more oxygen it will get and the faster it will culture.) Fill the jar to where it is widest. You may use a larger jar and only fill it part way to have more surface area for faster culturing.
9. Tie a thin cloth (or paper towel) over the mouth of the jar to keep out flies and dust. Cloth must be thin enough to allow the kombucha to breathe.
10. Place the jar in a warm place to culture (75° to 90° F). Keep it out of direct sun light.
11. Culturing time varies according to many factors. Increasing surface area and temperature will both speed up the process. As time goes on, the sugar will be converted into vinegar. It is finished when you like the way it tastes—so try it every few days. I typically culture my kombucha for about a week.
12. When it has cultured as much as you like, pour the finished kombucha into glass bottles or jars for storage. You may drink it right away, or store it in a refrigerator. I prefer to age mine in a cool place for weeks or months to produce carbonation and a refined flavor. Carbonating and aging kombucha is a delicate and potentially dangerous process that I would not recommend for beginners. A future blog will be dedicated to this topic.
– Now reuse the mother and some of the finished kombucha to start a new batch!
post by Andrew Hillmer