Kombucha

Kombucha

By
From
Spring
Makes
1.5 litres
Photographer
Andy Sewell

This tea-based beverage is believed to have originated in ancient China, but I only discovered it a few years ago, on a visit to Australia. I bought a bottle from a farmers’ market and was intrigued by its lively, effervescent and slightly vinegary taste. When I returned home, I decided to try making my own kombucha and bought a starter culture online – a Scoby (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). It arrived in a small plastic container and looked almost like a jellyfish. I use a simple organic black tea – flavoured teas often contain oils that can spoil the Scoby. Since that first attempt I’ve made kombucha regularly, each batch stemming from the original.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 litres water
12 organic black tea bags
300g golden caster sugar
100ml kombucha
1 scoby

Method

  1. Start by washing your hands really well. This is important, to prevent any contamination.
  2. Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan and continue to boil for 5 minutes to purify. Take off the heat and add the tea bags. Allow to cool slightly, then add the sugar and stir well to dissolve. Set aside to cool.
  3. Once cooled to room temperature, strain the liquid and discard the tea bags. Pour the cooled tea into a sterilised 1.5 litre kilner jar and stir in the kombucha. Add the Scoby and seal with a tight-fitting lid.
  4. Leave in a warm, dark place (70°C is ideal) for 7– 10 days. The kombucha is ready when it no longer tastes sweet, but has a gentle fizz and a distinctly vinegary taste. During this fermentation process the Scoby, which is essentially a ‘mother’, will produce a ‘baby’.
  5. When the kombucha is ready, strain and discard the original Scoby, set the ‘baby’ aside along with a little of the kombucha you have just made to start a new batch.
  6. Decant the kombucha into smaller sterilised bottles. Fit the lids loosely and place in the fridge. Kombucha tastes best when served really well chilled.

Note

  • If you would like to add flavourings you can do so after the kombucha has been fermented, before decanting it into smaller bottles. Ginger is nice, as is cardamom, though I prefer to keep it plain.
Tags:
Skye Gyngell
seasonal
Spring
London
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