Fermented beverages have been around for centuries. Kombucha, a fermented drink made from tea, is a good aid for healthy digestion as it can help repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria and it is also a good source of B vitamins.
I have been making Kombucha for a while now and this is how I do it. Put 1 litre of filtered water (I use Evian as I don’t have a water filter on my tap) in a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Once boiling turn off the heat. Add 100 grams of unrefined sugar and disolve. Add 8 tea bags (I use 4 white tea and 4 rooibos but you can use black, white, green or a combination) and swish around to infuse, then leave it to cool completely. Once cool, take out the tea bags. Add another litre of water and 200 mls of Kombucha (from previous batch or if you are doing it for the first time, buy a bottle of Kombucha for your starter). Put the liquid into your (sterile) bottle/jug and carefully slide your scoby into the liquid.
Cover with paper towel secured by an elastic band and put somewhere warm and darkish for approximately 10 days. After 7 days you can begin to taste it and see if it is to your liking. If you leave it too long, it will begin to taste vinegary and the longer you leave it the more like vinegar it will taste. If you leave it too long, don’t worry, throw out the liquid, keeping your scoby and just redo the above process.
The scoby might float around on top, be at the bottom or even be sideways, all this is OK. Also there might be brown stringy bits floating around and this is OK too. If you see mould on your scoby, then throw it and the liquid out as that is not good!!! I have been doing this for months now and have never had mine go mouldy.
Once your Kombucha is ready you need to bottle it. Sterilise your bottles and have them ready and cold (not hot). Take your scoby out of the jug and you will find it has grown another smaller one which will be attached. This is the baby scoby and the original one is known as the mother. Pull them apart and you can now use this baby scoby to make another batch of Kombucha or you can give it away to someone else to get them started. Both mother and baby can be used to make a new batch.
Fill your bottles with your Kombucha then put them somewhere warm and darkish for a few days. This period is when the Kombucha begins to carbonate (become fizzy). I generally leave mine 3 to 4 days and then put it in the fridge which stops the carbonation process.
Sometimes little tiny baby scobies might grow in the bottle and that is OK too. I strain my Kombucha as I am bottling it and I find this seems to mostly stop that happening.
This recipe for Kombucha gives you a pleasant, refreshing but not sweet drink. Some Kombucha you buy in the shops would be much sweeter and much fizzier than this.
(I have never second fermented my Kombucha with additional flavours, but I am going to try it next time, so will let you know how it goes. My understanding is that this makes it much more fizzy.)