Kombucha Reload or How to restock your fermenter
Time for a Kombucha Reload. I’ve got a pretty good routine for keeping myself in kombucha. I managed to generate a gallon-sized SCOBY and I’ve worked up to a good mash to make to feed the SCOBY. Here’s my recipe for kombucha.
- 1 gallon water
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 8 bags black tea
Living in the District of Columbia suburbs has its perks, but the water really sucks. I like to boil it hard for 5-10 minutes before any fermenting projects. It drives out the chlorine that would kill my good bacteria and yeasts. I think it also helps with the strong sulfur nose that doesn’t lend much to the finished product.
Here’s my main fermenter. I’ve already siphoned out a couple of glasses to drink, but I’d like to get a little bottled for the fridge and I have to make sure I leave some for the next batch. I’ve had good results with leaving the SCOBY floating in a pint of the last batch and then adding 3 1/2 quarts of sweet tea.
Very gently, I stick a siphon hose half-way into the fermenting jar. From there, I can siphon out clear kombucha until there’s nothing left in the jar, except the sots and the SCOBY. Once I’ve saved off the drinkable kombucha, I funnel that into flip tops for the fridge and then clean out the fermenter. Hint: Leave the freshly bottled kombucha, sealed in the bottles, out of the refrigerator for a couple of days to ferment a little longer and gather up some carbonation. This is the same method I use for fermenting my ginger beer.
Despite the health benefits of ingesting the spent yeast cells that collect on the SCOBY and pile up in the bottom of the jar, personally, I think they’re gross and like to get rid of them. So I rinse out the fermenter jar and wipe off the SCOBY. Don’t be tempted to rinse anything under the faucet!!! Remember the chlorine in the tap water??? Certain death! A clean towel removes the bulk of the gunk.
- The boiled off water gets 8 tea bags and 1 cup of cane sugar. I guess you could, and a lot of people do, use white sugar. I like the raw stuff. There’s a little more flavor in it that adds a nice tone to the kombucha. The white stuff is just sweet. The raw stuff is sweet, but there’s flavor, too. I found some real cheap black tea at the Asian market. A couple of dollars bought me a hundred bags of fairly delicious tea.
- Leave the tea to brew while the water cools. Use a Thermapen and wait until the brew is under 100 F before you pour it into the fermenter. Cooking your precious SCOBY would be a very bad thing. So, pour the cooled tea into the fermenter and put it back in the warm, dark cupboard and wait a week or two for the next batch…