Kombucha Tea

Originally from Asia, known in China as ‘the elixir of life’, Kombucha is fermented, sweetened tea.

Originally from Asia, known in China as ‘the elixir of life’, Kombucha is fermented, sweetened tea. This recipe comes from chef Douglas McMaster of zero waste restaurant, SILO and the Old Tree Brewery.

SCOBY is a gelanitous layer of cellulose, which grows on the surface of the sweetened tea. It is composed of different yeasts and acetobacter. The yeasts convert the sugars into ethanol and the acetobacter convert the ethanol into acetic acid. There are smaller amounts of several other bacteria strains within the SCOBY, including lactobacilli. As well as sugar, tea is essential for the growth of the SCOBY. It is thought that at least 75% of the caffeine is consumed during the fermentation.

  • 160g sugar
  • 2L filtered or spring water
  • 8 tsp or 8 teabags of green tea
  • 1 x SCOBY large enough to ferment 2 litres
  • 200ml of ready Kombucha

Equipment required

  • Sieve
  • Plastic spoon
  • Plastic Jug
  • 2L glass jar
  • Muslin or tea towel
  • Muslin for teabag
  • String
  • Elastic band
  • Scales
  1. Wrap the tea in the muslin and tie with the string.

  2. Boil one litre of filtered or spring water and add it to the two litre glass jar.

  3. Add the tea and sugar to the jar and stir, then leave to infuse for 20 minutes.

  4. After 20 minutes add the remaining litre of water to the glass jar.

  5. Add the SCOBY as well as the 200ml of ready Kombucha.

  6. The jar can now be placed somewhere warm to ferment. This needs to be between 20° and 30°, ideally between 24° and 28°. A Kombucha will take anywhere between seven to 14 days approximately. When to stop the fermentation (by decanting the liquid and bottling) is to some extent down to personal taste. Generally it is ready when most of the sweetness is gone and there is a slight but pleasant sourness. The longer it is left to ferment the more sour it will become.

Photo Credit – XDB Photography

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