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How to Make Kombucha at Home: Basic Recipe

The popularity of fermented foods has led to a growing interest in how to make Kombucha.

Nowadays, it is not uncommon for people to know the benefits of kombucha and want to have the opportunity to try to make their own, at home.

Here are some tips on how you can learn more about what ingredients you'll need, how long it will take, and what recipe options will be best.

Making Kombucha at home is a fun and easy way to have an affordable probiotic drink in the comfort of your own home.

In this article, we will explain the first step of the three-step process.

What is Kombucha?

the process of making Kombucha starts with a sweetened tea, which is then fermented using SCOBY. "SCOBY" stands for "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast".

SCOBY's bacteria and yeast convert most of the sugar in tea into a refreshing, fermented, fizzy drink that is relatively low in calories and sugar.

Kombucha contains a high level of antioxidants, which helps to strengthen the immune system, helping to protect the body against inflammatory diseases.

Fermenter Flask for the Preparation of Kombucha

If you need a jar to get your Kombucha, this is our preferred option: a glass pot with a capacity of 3,7 liters, ideal for fermenting 3 liters.

THE SCOBY

SCOBY

Let's talk about SCOBY, which you can see in the previous image. It's strange, isn't it? It floats, it's rubbery and a little slippery, brown strands hanging from it, and the tea becomes carbonated and sour. It's really weird. However, if you take a step back, it's also quite fascinating.

There are several hypotheses as to why bacteria and yeast create this layer of gelatinous cellulose on top of Kombucha.

The most reasonable explanation I have found is that it protects the fermented tea from the air and ensures that there is an ideal environment inside the bottle that is free from unwanted microorganisms.

I consider it a mobile home for good bacteria and yeast, traveling from Kombucha bottle to Kombucha bottle.

Is there alcohol in Kombucha?

Kombucha has a small amount of alcohol as a byproduct of the fermentation process. It is normally not more than 0,5%, but it can reach 1,5% if it is made with a lot of sugar or if sugar is added for the second fermentation (closed and in the bottle).

Still, Kombucha has proven to be a healthy alternative to alcoholic beverages and helps those who want to have a balanced diet.

How to make Kombucha at home

The following section will guide you through the stages of making Kombucha. It may seem complicated, but in reality it is an easy procedure to understand.

If you are interested in make your own Kombucha at home, the Mai Kombucha kit includes everything you need to get started.

This is a great option for those who want to save money and also know exactly what ingredients are going into their drink.

This kit will ensure an easy and fun experience for beginners and experts alike! Learn more about kit here.

MAI KOMBUCHA KIT - mai.kombucha

1st Stage of the Process

In the Kombucha universe, we call this phase the first fermentation (F1), where an aerobic fermentation takes place – with the presence of oxygen – during at least 10 days wherein SCOBY  will transform sweet tea into a lively, probiotic drink, full of organic acids and naturally carbonated.

The base Kombucha recipe is the most important part of creating the good drink and where the main transformation of tea into Kombucha.

There's not much to invent here, because the ingredients will always be the same. Here we mention the ingredients with some fundamental caveats.

  • non-chlorinated water – Chlorine is a chemical element that kills live microorganisms, without making any distinction whether they are good or bad. In the Kombucha recipe, it is desired that microorganisms reproduce good, among several species of bacteria and yeasts, which are charity for our health.
  • Organic Green or Black Tea - you can make a blend of different tea variations, but it must be from the Camellia Sinensis herb, as SCOBY feeds on its properties such as nitrogen, caffeine and tannins. We recommend using green tea, as it is proven to be the most beneficial for health. We should give preference to organic teas, without the preservatives and chemicals that can be harmful to crops.

Green Tea from Sencha Bio.

 

  • white sugar - it should always be white sugar, as this is what the culture digests best. It is known that brown sugar has more nutritional properties and is better for human consumption, but in this case the sugar in this recipe is for SCOBY and not for you. Throughout the process, sucrose is broken down into glucose and fructose, and in the end, the sugar will be residual, mostly fructose.

Organic White Sugar

  • Kombucha culture - the engine of fermentation, feeding on tea and sugar and transforming them into probiotics, vitamins, antioxidants and others substances beneficial for your body and mind. The SCOBY must always be accompanied by the starter tea, or starter tea (liquid SCOBY).

SCOBY Mai.Kombucha

Important points in this process:

  • Use quality ingredients in recommended amounts   
  • Choosing the fermentation site, I left it at room temperature, protected from direct sunlight and with good oxygenation. 
  • Do not place the fermenter flask inside cupboards, near fruits and plants, or in a place with high humidity.
  • After succeeding in the first recipe, it is desired to keep the same ingredients for the base recipe. Kombucha culture doesn't like too much change and works best in an environment of consistent conditions. That is, it is advisable to use the same tea and sugar, in addition to providing similar conditions for better fermentation performance.
  • Ensure the creation of your own SCOBY. Over the course of the fermentation cycle, the initial SCOBY will reproduce and create a new culture at the top of the flask. In the first few days, you will see a thin film forming that will evolve in terms of consistency.

3. Steps of the Base Revenue

Here are the three steps you need to know when you start making your Kombucha.

1. Calculate the Quantity of Ingredients

Fermentation is an inexact science, with many factors influencing the process. Thus, controlling possible variables and recording the process helps you to gain an insight into your culture and, therefore, consistency in a recipe for success..

  • Organic Green Tea or Black Tea: it depends on the quality of your tea, but it is recommended to use 5 to 7 grams per litre.
  • Organic white sugar – a minimum of 60 grams/liter is recommended.
  • Kombucha culture - uses at least 15% starter tea with a SCOBY.

Give preference to ingredients biological, especially in green tea, which has more quality variation from brand to brand.

Sugar should always be refined or yellow.

Tip - UUsing a kitchen scale - helps accuracy and prevents measurement errors.

To make 3 liters of Kombucha, we need:

  • Non-chlorinated water: 2,5L                
  • Organic Green Tea or Black Tea: 3 liters x 7 grams = 21 grams
  • Organic white sugar: 3 liters x 60 grams = 180 grams
  • Kombucha culture: 15% 3 liter starter = 450 ml of tea starter + SCOBY

2. Prepare the Tea

Now it's time to get to work: prepare the green tea infusion and then add the sugar.

Tip - To speed up the process, we suggest using a technique to make the tea cool down faster and ensure that the SCOBY is only added when the tea is at a temperature below 36°C.

As - Infuse the tea with the volume of water corresponding to 40% total revenue. After infusion, dilute the sugar while the tea is still hot and finally add the rest of the (cold) water to lower the temperature.

In this case, in the 3-liter recipe, 1,2 liters of concentrated tea are made with an infusion of 5 to 10 minutes.

After infusion, the infused tea is removed and sugar is added to the still hot liquid to facilitate dilution. When the sugar is completely diluted, it is added to 1,3 liters of cold water.

3. Add the SCOBY and Tand Starter

the culture of Kombucha which has the acronym - Symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast – is the mother and central element of this whole process.

The starter tea is nothing more than a mature and more fermented Kombucha, full of bacteria and yeast, a kind of liquid SCOBY that accompanies and protects the solid SCOBY.

However, as it is a living culture, it needs your attention and some special care.

  • Wash the bottle before using it and sterilize it with hot water.
  • Use utensils and tools washed in hot water and sanitize your hands.
  • Cover the jar using a cloth with some ventilation, secure it with a rubber band and leave it at room temperature avoiding direct sunlight.
  • Don't close the bottle with the cap - SCOBY needs oxygen to live well.
  • Do not place the SCOBY in the fridge or freezer. If you go on vacation, let it breathe in the bottle and then use the liquid as a starter tea for new recipes.
  • The tea must be below 35°C before SCOBY and starter tea be added. High temperatures can be harmful to the culture.

We recommend using at least 15% tea starter + SCOBY to guarantee the start of fermentation, but this proportion depends on the fermentation point of the starter tea.

When the SCOBY + starter tea is weaker and less acidic (sweeter), it is better to use a little more, such as 20%. If it's too strong, almost vinegar, we recommend using 10%.

When you feel the starter tea isn't acidic enough, let it ferment/acidify for a few more days to get a more potent liquid.

At the end of the fermentation cycle you will have two SCOBYS. Therefore, keep the starter tea and the new SCOBY's for the next recipe, as this is the most important factor for the success of the fermentation.

O starter tea It serves to colonize the sweet tea environment with its live microorganisms, to promote the transformation process and to decrease the initial PH of the tea, preventing the action of pathogenic and unwanted microorganisms.

Last step: patience!

Trust nature and be patient. Avoid stirring the fermenter bottle until the new SCOBY is consistently formed.

After 7 to 10 days, you can visit their culture and experiment to feel the evolution of flavors. There is no ideal fermentation time, but the time required for the transformation to take place.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this article about how to make kombucha at home. If you're looking for a nice, healthy probiotic drink that helps balance your gut, Kombucha is the way to go. It's also very easy and fun to make at home.

second fermentation it's the next phase, in which you select which flavor or flavors you want to try to add, a topic we'll cover in our next article!

This post was a great start for the manufacture of Kombucha "do it yourself". If you are interested in adding this probiotic drink to your diet, be sure to follow us on social media (@mai.kombucha) for more helpful tips!

 

Related Article - Kombucha Harvest Point and Fermentation Time

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