Kombucha is a fermented tea which is naturally full of probiotics. Shop versions tend to contain a little too much sugar, but if you brew it at home you can ferment the drink long enough that the sugar is consumed by the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts), which ferments strong sweet tea to make a refreshing and super healthy drink.
Firstly you will need to obtain a SCOBY. If you don’t have a friend or neighbour with a spare one (this may seem unlikely but when you get into the habit of kombucha brewing you will end up with spare SCOBYs which you may want to pass onto friends in turn!) then you can purchase them online.
If you purchase your SCOBY you will need to follow the instructions included for the first couple of brews and it may seem complicated. However, once you get going the routine is fairly simple.
- Make a strong and sweet brew of tea. I brew mine in a measuring jug with three teabags, half a cup of sugar and a litre of boiling water.
- Once your tea is cool pour it into a large glass jar and top up with cold water to around 1.5 litres before adding your SCOBY.
- Cover the jar opening with a square of cloth secured with an elastic band and leave at room temperature to brew.
- Start to taste from around six days but be prepared to wait for a couple of weeks until you have a fizzy and slightly tart drink.
- Strain the mixture through a plastic sieve (never let metal touch your kombucha or SCOBY) and either drink immediately* or bottle up and refrigerate until wanted
- Start a new batch
If you are feeling adventurous there are plenty of instructions online for second fermentations with additional flavourings but I like kombucha as above, tart, flavoursome and lightly carbonated.
*don’t drink a big glass the first time you try kombucha! Try small amounts over a couple of days and see how your digestion manages it before you increase the quantity. Even then I would advise against drinking more than around 250-350mls a day.