Monday, August 27, 2012

Kombucha 101- what is kombucha?

This week Chef Fox went all out. He may be only 2, but he's got very sophistocated taste. On a whim while visiting the Lion Heart Kombucha shop in Portland, Oregon he was inspired to do some home brewing. Or shall I say, home fermenting. 

We left with a "SCOBY" (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) also called the "mother" in a jar and lots of excitement. 

A bit about kombucha for those of you who may be as skeptical as most are when first seeing the fermentation process. So what is kombucha? It just looks disgusting. Not to worry though, after filtering it will look more like the kombucha you're used to from the store. Kombucha is a probiotic drink that has many health benefits including tons of healthy bacteria, enzymes, and micronutrients. It has been made for thousands of years and is worth giving a try. 

Now for The Chef's process. 

Kombucha Recipe:

  • First, he got his SCOBY and ran a jar though the dishwasher. Or you could clean it with very hot water to get out any uninvited bacteria that may want to hitch a ride. Avoid soap, or at least make sure all soap is gone before beginning. Soap can really inhibit the growth process. 
  • Next, Chef Fox brewed up some strong green tea. Feel free to add any herbs you like. Chef Fox is a purist and just used premium Jasmine tea. He brewed about a quart, mixed one cup of plain white sugar in and let it cool completely. Other sweeteners would probably work, but the simple sugar works best because then the bacteria can break it down and use it for fuel more easily. Don't worry, your kombucha won't be intensely sweet after the bacteria have their way with it. 
  • When cooled, he dumped it into a large glass jar and added cool filtered water until almost full. 
  • Then, The Chef carefully poured the SCOBY into the jar. 
  • Lastly, he placed a clean rag on top of the jar and secured it with a big rubber band. 
  • And now we anxiously await. Checking on it every day or two to see what has happened. The SCOBY has grown exponentially.
  • When to your taste, filter using a small strainer. Usually, kombucha will take 3-5 days to be ready to bottle for the second fermentation. Just taste until almost all sweetness is gone, but your kombucha has not turned into vinegar. You can just stop here and bottle or do a second fermentation that will make your beverage fizzy. 
  • Put in bottle with a cap and keep in the fridge if you've chosen to be done here. 
  • If you chose to go for the second fermentation, add 1/4 cup sugar to the bottle and shake. Now let ferment for 2-3 weeks. If your kombucha is super sweet, then let sit longer and remember to use less sugar next time. 
  • When completely done, your drink should taste very mildly sweet. Cap and place in the fridge. 
Enjoy and begin your next batch because a huge jar only lasts about a week in our house.

Below is a picture of the next batch. We started it the same way, but instead of steeping just green tea, Chef Fox added a handful of elderberries, nettle leaf, red raspberry leaf, and peppermint to the brew. We let this steep for at least half an hour or until cool. Then we dumped the tea through a strainer into the kombucha jar. Now it will brew for 2-3 weeks or until it begins to change in taste. 


Don't leave your SCOBY without any liquid. Leave an inch or two to help feed the SCOBY until you begin your next batch and cover up. Otherwise you'll have drunk fruit flies around your house. And if you're not going to make a new batch for awhile, feed your little SCOBY with some water and sugar so it doesn't die. 


  1. Is the SCOBY the same mother from unfiltered, unpasteurized ACV?

    P.S. just recently went wheat free and am loving your site. Thank you for all the yummy recipes! (ˆڡˆ)

  2. This SCOBY isn't from ACV. But same fermentation concept. Congrats on your new GF diet!

  3. How did the peppermint tea turn out? I've heard peppermint is not good for the scoby.

  4. It seemed to do just fine. If you were worried though, you could just add mint tea after fermentation.