Kombucha is a beautiful, sparkling fermented drink which is high in vitamin C, B vitamins, and antioxidants, and is a great source of the beneficial bacteria which are needed for a healthy gut. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, this is a great way to benefit from the antioxidants in tea, as the caffeine is reduced by about two thirds during the fermenting process, while the antioxidants are increased by about two thirds!
Most kombucha recipes call for sugar, and many people have the idea that honey is not suitable for fermenting kombucha. However, honey does indeed work. If you are trying to reduce refined foods in your diet, and focusing on whole foods, try this recipe from Jo Whitton at Quirky Cooking! You won’t need to ferment the kombucha as long with honey – it doesn’t have to be fermented until it is no longer sweet as is recommended with sugar-sweetened kombucha.
Kombucha, like most ferments, should be consumed with regularity but in small quantities. If you are new to Kombucha, start slowly – beneficial bacteria may cause die off as it works to balance your microbiome. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your health practitioner before consuming.
- 2L filtered water
- 4 tea bags or 1 Tbsp loose leaf tea (organic green or black tea, or a mixture of both)
- ½ cup raw honey
- 1 SCOBY (starter culture) with at least 1 cup Mother (starter tea)
- 3L glass or ceramic jar
- fine sieve or nut milk bag if using loose leaf tea
- tightly woven cloth (clean napkins, paper towel, muslin cloth, tea towel) to cover the jar
- strong glass bottles with flip lids
- flavours for second ferment
- Heat filtered water in a saucepan on the stove to just below the boil. Add tea (bags or loose leaf tea), stir and allow to steep until the water has cooled to 37°C.
- Remove tea bags or strain off tea, add honey, and stir through until dissolved.
- Place SCOBY and Mother into 3 litre glass jar. Pour tea into jar. Cover the top of the jar with tightly woven cloth and secure with an elastic band. Store jar out of direct sunlight. Your kombucha should be ready in 7-10 days or so. (It should be bubbly and taste slightly sweet, but not vinegary.)
- Decant kombucha into glass bottles (leaving SCOBY and at least 1 cup Mother in the 3L jar) and store in fridge. Drink as is or ferment a second time with flavours.
- For a second ferment, flavour the kombucha (see below) in the glass bottles and sit on bench out of direct sunlight for a further 3-7 days (weather dependent). Strain out any solid pieces of fruit, etc before chilling and serving. Store in fridge.
Second ferment flavour suggestions
- Fresh cold-pressed organic fruit juice – you will need approx 1/4 cup per 1L
- Fruit (preferably organic) – fresh (3-4 Tbsp fresh cut per 1L), preservative and oil-free dried (1-2 Tbsp per 1L), freeze-dried (1-2 Tbsp per 1L) or pureed (⅛ cup per 1L)
- Herbs and Spices – Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, thyme, mint, lavender, rosemary, etc. Works well in a combination with fruit, however if using alone, add 1 tsp honey per 1L during second ferment to reactivate beneficial bacteria.
- Kombucha will ferment much quicker in warmer weather. Taste after a few days – it should still taste slightly sweet but should not taste like vinegar.
- For extra bubbly kombucha, use fruit juice or pureed fruit in the second ferment as the sugar in the fruit will feed the bacteria, resulting in escaping gas = bubbles!
- Avoid using flavoured and herbal teas when making the kombucha – add flavour at the second ferment instead.
Makes 2 litres