Kombucha, the tonic of life. It's a probiotic drink derived from tea. I made it with green tea, which I tend to like better. It's a great alternative to soda as it's slightly carbonated. It also is a tonic for your digestive system. You may already know all about the benefits of polyphenols and antioxidants so I won't make this a long post.

As this is a fermented drink, it naturally has traces of alcohol, but traces (similar to a very ripe fruit or non-alco beer). I brew this myself. Sometimes I make it plain, as it's still sweet. But I have put tangerine, peach, apple, ginger in it before and that's a party.

Last year, we went to Henley Festival and tried some really nice kombucha. They gave it to us in champagne glasses and it felt like I was sipping champagne. They are pros at the carbonation. I'm still working on the carbonation. I noticed that when I add ripe fruit, it carbonates more.

How to make kombucha

As mentioned before, you can make it with normal breakfast tea or green tea. I watched a video saying that beginners should use black tea. I'm not sure why.

What you will need:

  • 1 x 3L Kilner jar (or a similar glass vessel - NOT plastic as it can negatively alter the process)
  • 6 x tea bags (or brew some loose leaf tea) We like Happy Leaf's Japanese Sencha green tea the best
  • 1 cup sugar (the granulated stuff people put in tea)
  • 1 x SCOBY symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast *
  • You can get this on Amazon or if you live close, I can share some of my SCOBY for you
  • 1 x cheesecloth or natural fibre fabric (to cover)

We have made videos that offer tips on brewing. Here is a quick tip:

Step 1: Start the brewing process

  1. Make a giant jar of tea by putting tea bags into jar and fill with boiling water. Or brew loose leaf tea and pour it into the large jar.
  2. Pour entire cup of sugar into giant jar of tea (the bacteria will eat all the sugar)
  3. Let it cool
  4. Once completely cooled, add the SCOBY (ensure your hands are clean)
  5. Cover with the cheese cloth - natural fibres. It needs to breathe.
  6. Put in a dark, mild room (not too hot or cold)
  7. Leave for 7 - 10 days and check. Ideal timings are 14-30 days but temperatures and brews will vary so definitely check.
  8. If you leave for longer, it will taste more vinegary. I like the vinegar taste as it reminds me of the apple cider vinegar I drink each morning. Vinegar in this form is also very good for you.

Step 2: Decant your brew

  1. With clean hands, pull your SCOBY out of jar
  2. Please SCOBY in a vessel and submerge it in your freshly made kombucha (you will want to add it to next batch!)
  3. If you want to store your SCOBY, make sure you have enough kombucha liquid to cover it, and cover that with cheesecloth (They call it a SCOBY hotel). Keep it in the same dark mild location.
  4. Get a funnel and pour the kombucha into each smaller glass (not plastic) bottles
  5. If you want to add some fruit, now is the time. Make sure you have left space in the bottle to add it.
  6. You can drink the kombucha now or put it in the fridge for a few days to allow it to become carbonated. I love the first time I made kombucha - I was afraid to taste it!!
  7. You can either start the process over again or keep your SCOBY stored for your next iteration of kombucha brewing

I have watched and read a lot about kombucha. Some articles on the internet can be intimidating. I just wanted to offer a simple way to make it. But it's a work in progress. I like to tweek things here and there to see if it changes the flavour.

Give it a try - your tummy will thank you.

If this all seems too involved, you can buy some at a local kombucha maker's SAMbucha kombucha - hers is delicious!! She ships nationally in the UK as well.