Fermentation is a form of ”zymosis” and consists of a number a processes, in which living cells, micro cells in particular, releases chemical energy from sugars or other organic molecules, in a deoxydised (anaerob) or close to oxygen-free conditions.
Fermentation is one of the most beneficial ways to create inner balance and health.
Fermentation in various forms is produced all over the world. Amongst the most well-known fermented foods are: miso, tofu, tempeh, kimchi, sauerkraut, wine, cider, vinegar, soy sauce, cheese, yoghurt, kefir, kombucha etc.
How to make basic kombucha
YOU WILL NEED:
- 100 grams of organic raw sugar
- 1 litre of water
- 2 tea bags/2 tsp loose tea (use black/green/white tea)
- 1 SCOBY
- Starter liquid from a previous batch
- 1 large glass container/jar
- A thin piece of fabric (e.g. cheese cloth)
- A rubber band
NOTE! Always: clean hands and clean utensils (disinfect using water and vinegar)
THE FIRST FERMENTATION
1. Bring the water to boil
2. Add tea to the water
3. Leave to brew for 15-20 minutes
4. Add the sugar, and stir to dissolve using a wooden/ plastic spoon
5. Strain the liquid through a cloth
6. Pour the tea into a glass jar
7. Add the rest of the cold water and leave to cool
8. When the tea has reached room temperature, careful- ly add the starter liquid and the scoby
9. The kombucha is now ready to ferment. Cover the opening of the glass jar, tighten with a rubber band.
HOW TO TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR KOMBUCHA
Make sure to place your kombucha in a dark and cool environment. It needs air (oxygen) why a closed pantry is not optimal. The ideal temperature for your kombucha is approximately 21-24 degrees Celsius (24 degrees Celsius maximum), which means that in summertime the temperature will rise significantly. A higher temperature may hamper the natural growth of the kombucha, including the development of probiotics and acids. This will affect the end result negatively.
THE PROCESS OF FERMENTATION
The actual fermentation begins the moment the scoby enters the tea.
Depending on temperature as well as your taste buds, the fermentation time should be around 7-10 days – for some 14 days. The longer fermentation time, the more it ferments, and will eventually turn in to vinegar. Make sure that your kombucha does not get cold, as this will change the process, and even disrupt fermentation. If your brew turns in to sour vinegar, it can be used in cooking or cleaning.
THE FINAL PROCESS AND YOUR NEW KOMBUCHA
When your kombucha is ready; take out the upper scoby (the mother) and the lower scoby (the baby) – if they stick together, gently separate them from each other. Place them on a plate and pour a little bit of the finished kombucha (approximately 1/2 cup per scoby) to use as starter liquid for the next brew. The finished kombucha is now ready to be bottled, preferably in swingtop bottles.
PAY ATTENTION TO:
- The smell and acidity of the kombucha will attract flies. Therefore, always cover the opening of the glass container with tight cloth.
- Kombucha does not handle metal – always use wooden/plastic spoons.
- Teas such as Earl Grey are not a good choice, due to the added aromas and oils.
Kombucha can be finished off with a second fermentation, to boost the probiotics effect. For the second fermentation, fruits or juice is added to the kombucha. Leave the kombucha to rest at room temperature, to continue the fermentation. During this process, it is important to release some pressure from the bottle by opening the lid daily, to avoid any kombucha explosions. When the second fermentation is complete, refrigerate.
HAVE IT YOUR WAY - TASTE VARIATIONS
Taste-wise, the possibilities are endless in terms of creating a kombucha to suit your palate. Anything from fresh ginger, berries, fresh juices, dried fruits, dried herbs, cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, star anise, etc.
My fermentation e-book has more kombucha recipes too.
This recipe is from my newest book in English: Fermentation. You can buy it here.