Kombucha is an ancient naturally fermented tea drink.
S.C.O.B.Y is an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast which feeds on sweetened tea and produces kombucha. Kombucha is an effervescent probiotic beverage. It has been indicated to have many health benefits such as improved digestion and gut health, mental clarity, and mood stability. It’s said to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression and anxiety. It is also said to boost the immune system and aid digestion. It is considered a good source of antioxidants, B vitamins and beneficial enzymes. It’s not a magic pill, but it may help bring the body back into balance. The health claims about kombucha have not been confirmed by western medical research, but there is no denying that it is delicious and healthier and lower in sugar than fizzy pop. When left to second-ferment it gets really fizzy and can resemble champagne.
This S.C.O.B.Y comes in starter liquid with pretty fabric jar topper and a recipe included so you can easily make your self at home
All you need to get started is a 1 litre jar, some sugar, some tea and a plastic sieve. I prefer green tea, but you can use any tea with caffeine.
- 1 SCOBY (symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria) in starter liquid. Keep refrigerated till use and burp jar occasionally.
- 3 tea bags or 3 tsp loose tea (I used organic green) Different types of sugar and tea will give different flavours
- 50gms sugar (I used unrefined brown demerara sugar)
- A 1 litre kilner jar
- 1 circle of fabric (included) and hair bobble or elastic band
- Boil 200ml of water.
- Add 3 tea bags and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Remove the tea bags.
- Add 50gms of sugar and stir well till dissolved.
- Allow the tea to come to room temperature and pour into a clean one litre kilner jar.
- Pour the SCOBY and starter liquid into the jar over the cooled tea and sugar mixture and fill the jar to nearly full with cold water.
- Cover with the circle of fabric, and secure with a band to keep out dust and flies.
- Allow the kombucha to ferment out of direct sunlight place for 7-14 days. The fermentation time will vary depending on the temperature, and how sweet or sour you like your booch. It gets sourer the longer you leave it. Taste by moving the SCOBY aside and taking a little out with a clean spoon. After some time, your tea may be slightly carbonated and will be plain (tea-flavoured). When you like the taste, sieve off the Scoby using a plastic sieve. Save 60mls of the kombucha as your starter for the next batch
- You can drink the kombucha tea as is or do a second fermentation with different fruits, herbs or spices for flavour and more carbonation. Put the kombucha into another kilner jar with your chosen ingredients and ferment for another 1- 2 days then bottle and refrigerate. Some of my favourites are strawberries and lime leaves, star anise and ginger, redcurrant and thyme, cinnamon and apple, elderflower and lemon balm. The combinations are delicious and endless, but I still love plain kombucha the best.
- With the 60mls of kombucha start again at step 1 using the 60mls of kombucha as the starter liquid. With each ferment a new SCOBY will form which you can give to friends and family.
- If you have any questions please email me firstname.lastname@example.org or google it. I’d love to hear how you get on, so please keep in touch by Facebook or Instagram.
Always make sure yours jars equipment are sterilised
Secondary fermentation. When you have sieved off your scoby and saved your 60mls of kombucha as a starter for your new batch you can either drink your kombucha as it is or do a secondary fermentation. This really just means adding flavour.
Pop your kombucha in a kilner jar and add any combination of fruit and spices that you like.
10-30% fruit, but no more than 30%.
You can get quite creative with this. Leave for 2-5 days in a cool dark place then sieve again and bottle. (I use muslin in the sieve to stop the bits of fruit sediment getting in) Now it needs to be kept in in the fridge. If you use a glass bottle be very careful to burp it regularly as the pressure can build up and your bottle may explode. Using a plastic bottle might be a better idea then you can feel when it expands and gets hard. Some of my favourites are –
-Strawberry and lime leaves
-Star anise and ginger
-Redcurrant and thyme
-Cinnamon and apple
-Elderflower and lemon balm
-Cumin and mint
The combinations are delicious and endless, but I still love plain kombucha the best.
The more fruit you put in means more sugar so you will get a fizzier drink. Some people add a pinch of sugar to get a more fizz.
When you want scale up and make to make more booch use the ‘Kombucha Kalkulator’ for the correct ratios.
I make my kombucha in a 5 litre kilner jar with a tap. Keep in touch and let me know what combinations you come up with and if you find any health benefits.
Always make sure your equipment is sterilised. The most common problem is mould. If you find mould toss everything and start again with sterilised equipment. White, green, black and coloured moulds are bad, but don’t be alarmed if you find strings of brown yeast floating down from your SCOBY or white bubbles on the surface. You can always send me photos if you’re not sure.
With each ferment a new SCOBY will form as a disc at the top of the jar.
SCOBYs dislike travel, so it may take a couple of batches till you get a good flavour.
If you forget about you kombucha and brew it for too long, you can use it as a vinegar in
-Salad dressings and marinades
-As a hair rinse to condition your hair and make it shine
-As a facial toner
-As a cleaning product
If you end up with too many SCOBYs you can
-Share them with friends, family and neighbours.
-Experiment with different teas and sugars to get different flavours
-Add to a Smoothie. Add a piece of SCOBY to a smoothie or other blended food.
-Substitute for Raw Fish in Sushi. With a texture similar to squid, kombucha SCOBYs can be cut up and eaten along with the nori, rice, vegetables, etc.
-Use as a Face Mask. Kombucha SCOBYs can be used as a face mask, either whole or ground up.
-Use as a Bandage. SCOBYs can be used as a live bandage, or under a bandage. It will sting a little. The acidity is believed to help support healing.
-Feed to Pets. Kombucha SCOBYs can be fed to pets either fresh or using the same process for making kombucha jerky to make a dried pet treat.
-Add to Chicken Feed. Many chicken owners find their chickens really appreciate a fresh SCOBY as a treat.
-Compost. SCOBYs can be added whole to the compost pile or ground up and added directly to the soil of plants.
-Make Crafts. Kombucha SCOBYs can be dried until they are stiff but flexible. Use as a replacement for leather in toy drums, shoes, or other craft items.
-Make Jun Tea. Jun tea is another ancient fermented drink. You can make it at home by slowly converting a kombucha SCOBY to feed on green tea and honey. This experimentation works best with backup SCOBYs so trying out this delightful drink is another way to use up extra SCOBYs.