If you’ve ever taken a stroll through Whole Foods, you know just how pricey millennial foods can be. By millennial foods, I mean anything that’s labeled organic, cruelty-free, environmentally friendly—oh and, of course, “contains millions of live probiotics.”
That last example is usually branded on every bottle of Kombucha, which GT, the publicly-designated Kombucha King, defines as “a fermented tea crafted with a living culture (known as a SCOBY) added to a base of sweetened tea. The SCOBY consumes sugars and caffeine, transforming the tea into this revitalizing wellness drink known in ancient Asian cultures as the tea of immortality.”
I, for one, love Kombucha and can’t argue with the health benefits GT and others preach. I highly recommend the beverage, but instead of blowing twelve dollars on a bottle, why not make it at home? We all know you have nothing better to do in quarantine.
Here are the steps:
Get your SCOBY
A SCOBY is easy to acquire online, but you could also grow your own if you really want to start from scratch. You grow a new scoby from scratch by combining tea, sugar, and some pre-made kombucha (store bought or homemade). See, SCOBYs are constantly renewing themselves, so whenever you brew a batch, you’re left with a whole new SCOBY to use for your next batch (it’s the stringy blob that floats around the drink). It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Make the tea base
Boil your water, and then stir in sugar. You then drop the tea in and steep it until the water has cooled. This could take a few hours, but you could speed it up by putting your pot in an ice bath.
Transfer to a glass jar and add the SCOBY
Pour your tea into a jar, like a mason jar, and then gently slide in your SCOBY (with clean hands). Cover the mouth of the jar with tightly wound paper towels or cloth. The SCOBY will consume the sugar to leave you with an acidic, probiotic-filled beverage.
Leave it alone for seven to ten days
Put your jar in a place out of direct sunlight where it won’t be disturbed, and let it ferment, checking on it in about a week. Taste test it for a few days and when it reaches a ratio of tartness to sweetness that you like, it’s ready to be bottled.
Remove the SCOBY
A new SCOBY should have begun forming, attaching itself to the old one. Gently remove the SCOBY, and make sure your sweetened tea is ready so you can make your next batch!
Carbonate and refrigerate the ‘buch:
After bottling, let the Kombucha sit for 1-3 days to carbonate. Then, refrigerate it to stop carbonation and consume it within a month.
As you can see, it’s really not as daunting as it sounds. Carmi Ohring (’20) has been brewing his own Kombucha for months. “Brewing kombucha is a fun and rewarding way to make your own delicious bubbly drink,” he said. “It is super easy. You could easily learn to make kombucha from watching a YouTube video or buying a brewing kit.” Or reading this article, of course.
With all this free time on your hands, why not try something new? Gather up your supplies and start now so you can become an expert kombucha brewer by the time quarantine ends.