The benefits of kombucha are known far and wide. There are new brands bottling the probiotic brew for easy consumption and they’re flying off the shelves! But if you want to steer clear of the commercial stuff and brew a batch of kombucha at home, you don’t need to get perplexed.
Gaurav Palkar, co-founder of 2 Down Beer Co. Mumbai-based craft beer brand, has been dabbling with kombucha for a while and assures that it’s not as difficult as it seems. “It all depends on how thick and healthy the culture is, that brings the tartness” he says. As a matter of fact, he shared the full process with us.
While you can always experiment and try your hand at different kinds of teas and flavours, the most basic one to start off with is the green tea kombucha, which is also easily accessible, explains Palkar. You can use tea leaves or a tea bag to flavour your tea.
Step 1: Making the Tea
Measure around 3.75 litres water and boil it. Add around 2 tbsp of tea leaves. Palkar uses green tea leaves. But you can use black tea, a mix of black and green tea, jasmine tea, etc.
Step 2: Pre-Fermentation
After making tea add 1.5 cups of sugar. Add the sugar when it is hot so that it dissolves well before you add the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). Let the tea steep for a few minutes and then strain it in a glass jar. Let the jar cool down to room temperature. Note that the SCOBY and starter liquid can't be added at high temperatures. Once the jar cools down, add around 475 ml of starter liquid along with the SCOBY.
Step 3: The Fermentation Process
Cover the jar with a clean cloth. Use a rubber band to seal it. Let it sit for around a week in a dark corner. You can taste your kombucha every day to check how it tastes. If it's sweet then it needs to sit for some more time and if it's too tart then it's overdone. You should stop at the right time, which completely depends on what your taste preferences are.
Step 4: Post Fermentation
Once your kombucha is ready, bottle it. Use glass bottles with good rubber seals and good quality glass material. Keep the bottles out for a couple of days so that the fizz builds up. Note that if the glass quality is poor, the bottles might explode. After a couple of days, refrigerate the bottles and enjoy your kombucha.
Step 5: Straining and Preservation
Apart from using different type of teas, you can experiment with different type of sugars too—palm, coconut, honey, etc. Before bottling, you can also add spices or fruit pulp to your bottles so that you get different flavours. Don't forget to strain the pulp/spices before pouring the kombucha in a glass.
After you are done fermenting your kombucha, save starter liquid in a jar and your new SCOBY babies. Happy brewing!
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