Home > Eat > Recipe > Recipe: basic kombucha

Recipe: basic kombucha

drinks
spring
summer
Loading...

Kombucha is a word you’ve probably heard on the lips of your health-concsious friends and family; and, besides its many touted health benefits, it’s certainly a tasty drop and an ideal alternative to the regular line-up of fizzy drinks. This recipe comes to Khoollect from Louise Avery, of Lois & the Living Teas, a woman whose knowledge of this fermented beverage is impressive. Here’s what she told us about it:

‘This basic recipe for making kombucha can vary depending on the type of tea used and the steep. There is scope for experimentation once you gain confidence. Like anything, learning to brew the exact taste profile you desire takes time.’

Kombucha Basic Recipe

What’s a SCOBY? (Or, a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast)

This is the living home for a mixture of bacteria and yeast that ferments sweetened tea, producing kombucha. It is also known as the ‘mother’ because of its ability to produce another skin (a ‘baby’) with each ferment. The ‘baby’ SCOBY can be separated from the original mother after it is 6-mm thick to make another separate SCOBY from which to brew with. The SCOBY colony ferments the tea by eating the sugar and producing enzymes and acids. In a similar way, living bacteria and yeasts are used to make natural ginger beer, kefir, vinegar and sourdough.

I recommend buying a SCOBY from a well-known supplier, such as happykombucha.co.uk.  I have grown my own culture from raw kombucha but it requires lots of patience as it can take up to six weeks. Equally, a SCOBY can be grown from a raw, unflavoured bottle of purchased kombucha, but if there are any additives at all or it has been pasteurised in any way, it will not work. A grown SCOBY from a bottle of flavoured kombucha should never be used to start a new brew either as the sugars from the fruit differ to those preferred by the SCOBY, and this will affect the balance of bacteria. I have found that white tea over time will weaken the SCOBY, so I recommend alternating brewing with green and black teas to keep your culture healthy between brews.

Living Tea by Louise Avery (Ryland Peters & Small, £9.99). Photos by Clare Winfield. 

Basic kombucha

Interested?

Read our interview with Louise about her kombucha making adventures. Then, try her rhubarb fizz recipe. And, if you’re not set on making it yourself, you can buy her brew instead.

Recipe and photo by

Recipe from: Living Tea by Louise Avery (Ryland Peters & Small, £9.99)
Photographer: Clare Winfield

Loading...

Preparation Time7 days 0 MINUTES

Cooking Time8 MINUTES

Resting Time60 MINUTES

ServesMakes 2 litres

LevelMedium


ingredients

2–3 teaspoons loose-leaf tea (I like a mixture of black and green) or 4–6 teabags, to taste
160g caster sugar
1 SCOBY
125–200 ml unflavoured kombucha (from a previous batch or store-bought) or 30 ml distilled white vinegar

Equipment

a 2.5-litre capacity heatproof brewing jar, sterilized
a tea ball (optional)
a close-weave cotton cloth
pH strips (optional)

Interested?

Read our interview with Louise about her kombucha making adventures. Then, try her rhubarb fizz recipe. And, if you’re not set on making it yourself, you can buy her brew instead.

Recipe and photo by

Recipe from: Living Tea by Louise Avery (Ryland Peters & Small, £9.99)
Photographer: Clare Winfield

1

Bring 2 litres of water to the boil in a stainless-steel pan. Leave the water in the pan or transfer to the heatproof brewing jar, as pictured. If using loose-leaf tea, put it in the tea ball and steep the tea of your choice for 4–8 minutes depending on how strong you like the flavour. Remove the tea ball or bags and using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar into the still-warm steeped tea to dissolve. Allow to cool completely to room temperature: 22.C (72.F) or less.

Note: cooling the tea is imperative as adding the SCOBY to hot water will damage it.

 

2

With clean hands, gently lower the SCOBY into the cooled, sweetened tea with the paler side facing upwards and any yeasty strands facing towards the bottom. You can also add the kombucha starter liquid or vinegar at this point.

3

Cover the jar with the cotton cloth and secure with an elastic band. Set aside at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for at least 7 days before tasting. You should start to notice a vinegary flavour as the SCOBY eats the sugar. Taste daily and when you find the perfect balance of sweet and sour, it is time to bottle the kombucha ready for the secondary ferment. I often wait 30 days before it is sour enough for my tastebuds, so don’t be afraid to leave it longer. Test with pH strips if you want to be certain that it is ready to drink. The ideal pH range for kombucha that is ready for secondary ferment is 2.8–3.2.

Note: the pH levels can drop quite quickly so you should always taste your brew to confirm it is indeed ready for transferring to bottles.

4

Decant into bottles, leaving about a 1-cm air space at the top, then seal. Refrigerate until ready to use.

SHOW MORE
SHOW LESS

Preparation Time7 days 0 MINUTES

Cooking Time8 MINUTES

Resting Time60 MINUTES

ServesMakes 2 litres

LevelMedium


ingredients

2–3 teaspoons loose-leaf tea (I like a mixture of black and green) or 4–6 teabags, to taste
160g caster sugar
1 SCOBY
125–200 ml unflavoured kombucha (from a previous batch or store-bought) or 30 ml distilled white vinegar

Equipment

a 2.5-litre capacity heatproof brewing jar, sterilized
a tea ball (optional)
a close-weave cotton cloth
pH strips (optional)

Interested?

Read our interview with Louise about her kombucha making adventures. Then, try her rhubarb fizz recipe. And, if you’re not set on making it yourself, you can buy her brew instead.

Recipe and photo by

Recipe from: Living Tea by Louise Avery (Ryland Peters & Small, £9.99)
Photographer: Clare Winfield

1

Bring 2 litres of water to the boil in a stainless-steel pan. Leave the water in the pan or transfer to the heatproof brewing jar, as pictured. If using loose-leaf tea, put it in the tea ball and steep the tea of your choice for 4–8 minutes depending on how strong you like the flavour. Remove the tea ball or bags and using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar into the still-warm steeped tea to dissolve. Allow to cool completely to room temperature: 22.C (72.F) or less.

Note: cooling the tea is imperative as adding the SCOBY to hot water will damage it.

 

2

With clean hands, gently lower the SCOBY into the cooled, sweetened tea with the paler side facing upwards and any yeasty strands facing towards the bottom. You can also add the kombucha starter liquid or vinegar at this point.

3

Cover the jar with the cotton cloth and secure with an elastic band. Set aside at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for at least 7 days before tasting. You should start to notice a vinegary flavour as the SCOBY eats the sugar. Taste daily and when you find the perfect balance of sweet and sour, it is time to bottle the kombucha ready for the secondary ferment. I often wait 30 days before it is sour enough for my tastebuds, so don’t be afraid to leave it longer. Test with pH strips if you want to be certain that it is ready to drink. The ideal pH range for kombucha that is ready for secondary ferment is 2.8–3.2.

Note: the pH levels can drop quite quickly so you should always taste your brew to confirm it is indeed ready for transferring to bottles.

4

Decant into bottles, leaving about a 1-cm air space at the top, then seal. Refrigerate until ready to use.

SHOW MORE
SHOW LESS

Kombucha is a word you’ve probably heard on the lips of your health-concsious friends and family; and, besides its many touted health benefits, it’s certainly a tasty drop and an ideal alternative to the regular line-up of fizzy drinks. This recipe comes to Khoollect from Louise Avery, of Lois & the Living Teas, a woman whose knowledge of this fermented beverage is impressive. Here’s what she told us about it:

‘This basic recipe for making kombucha can vary depending on the type of tea used and the steep. There is scope for experimentation once you gain confidence. Like anything, learning to brew the exact taste profile you desire takes time.’

Kombucha Basic Recipe

What’s a SCOBY? (Or, a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast)

This is the living home for a mixture of bacteria and yeast that ferments sweetened tea, producing kombucha. It is also known as the ‘mother’ because of its ability to produce another skin (a ‘baby’) with each ferment. The ‘baby’ SCOBY can be separated from the original mother after it is 6-mm thick to make another separate SCOBY from which to brew with. The SCOBY colony ferments the tea by eating the sugar and producing enzymes and acids. In a similar way, living bacteria and yeasts are used to make natural ginger beer, kefir, vinegar and sourdough.

I recommend buying a SCOBY from a well-known supplier, such as happykombucha.co.uk.  I have grown my own culture from raw kombucha but it requires lots of patience as it can take up to six weeks. Equally, a SCOBY can be grown from a raw, unflavoured bottle of purchased kombucha, but if there are any additives at all or it has been pasteurised in any way, it will not work. A grown SCOBY from a bottle of flavoured kombucha should never be used to start a new brew either as the sugars from the fruit differ to those preferred by the SCOBY, and this will affect the balance of bacteria. I have found that white tea over time will weaken the SCOBY, so I recommend alternating brewing with green and black teas to keep your culture healthy between brews.

Living Tea by Louise Avery (Ryland Peters & Small, £9.99). Photos by Clare Winfield. 

Basic kombucha

1

Bring 2 litres of water to the boil in a stainless-steel pan. Leave the water in the pan or transfer to the heatproof brewing jar, as pictured. If using loose-leaf tea, put it in the tea ball and steep the tea of your choice for 4–8 minutes depending on how strong you like the flavour. Remove the tea ball or bags and using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar into the still-warm steeped tea to dissolve. Allow to cool completely to room temperature: 22.C (72.F) or less.

Note: cooling the tea is imperative as adding the SCOBY to hot water will damage it.

 

2

With clean hands, gently lower the SCOBY into the cooled, sweetened tea with the paler side facing upwards and any yeasty strands facing towards the bottom. You can also add the kombucha starter liquid or vinegar at this point.

3

Cover the jar with the cotton cloth and secure with an elastic band. Set aside at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for at least 7 days before tasting. You should start to notice a vinegary flavour as the SCOBY eats the sugar. Taste daily and when you find the perfect balance of sweet and sour, it is time to bottle the kombucha ready for the secondary ferment. I often wait 30 days before it is sour enough for my tastebuds, so don’t be afraid to leave it longer. Test with pH strips if you want to be certain that it is ready to drink. The ideal pH range for kombucha that is ready for secondary ferment is 2.8–3.2.

Note: the pH levels can drop quite quickly so you should always taste your brew to confirm it is indeed ready for transferring to bottles.

4

Decant into bottles, leaving about a 1-cm air space at the top, then seal. Refrigerate until ready to use.

SHOW MORE
SHOW LESS
Profile Photo
WRITTEN BY:
Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

READ MORE BY Sonya Gellert

You decide

Your dream holiday destination

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Profile Photo
WRITTEN BY:
Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

READ MORE BY Sonya Gellert

You decide

Your dream holiday destination

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Profile Photo
WRITTEN BY:
Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

READ MORE BY Sonya Gellert

You decide

Your dream holiday destination

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
comments
Leave A Comment

DON'T BE SHY WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

drinks

MORE RECIPES WITH drinks

spring

Spring

summer

Summer

instagram

join us on instagram

instagram

join us on instagram
Skip to toolbar