Much like cultured yoghurt, cheese, kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut, kombucha contains live microorganisms. The drink is made by brewing together sugar, black or green tea, liquid from a previous batch and the scoby which is the starter culture of bacteria combined with yeast. Often the scoby is referred to as the “mother,” since it reproduces during fermentation.
How to make kombucha
The following recipe is for a plain kombucha, however once you get the hang of the process, you can begin to add your own desired flavourings to the batch. Popular pairings include ginger & lemon, kakadu plum and passionfruit.
- 3 litres boiled water (filtered if possible)
- 5 black or green tea bags or the equivalent in loose-leaf tea
- 1 cup white or raw sugar
- 1 kombucha scoby (see below)
- 1 cup kombucha liquid from a previous batch
- Add the water and sugar to a large saucepan and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the tea and allow it to rest for 30-60 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags and allow the solution to cool to room temperature. Pour into a large, sterilised glass vessel and add the scoby and kombucha liquid. Cover with a tea towel and secure with string or a rubber band.
- Keep in a warm, dry place (the preferred temperature for kombucha brewing is 24C-32C) away from direct sunlight. Leave undisturbed for a minimum seven to 10 days.
- During this time, it will grow a baby scoby on the top of the liquid. It will also develop a sour, tart flavour as the scoby consumes the sugar.
- When the sour flavour is well developed, strain the kombucha liquid from the scoby using a coffee filter or plastic sieve (do not use metal). Keep the scoby, along with one cup of the liquid for a subsequent batch, and either drink the remaining liquid or ferment into a “flavoured bucha”.
- 1 litre kombucha liquid
- ½ cup fresh pineapple juice, or 1 cup finely chopped pineapple
- 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
- ¼ cup mint leaves
1. Combine the kombucha liquid with the pineapple and ginger and stir well. Place in glass bottles and refrigerate overnight.
2. Serve with ice and fresh mint leaves.
How to source a kombucha scoby
Many online and retail outlets sell kombucha scobies. If you happen to know someone who regularly brews kombucha why not ask if you can have a portion of their scoby once it has doubled in size so you can start producing your own!