We’re big fans of kombucha in the ERSS household.
And why not?
It’s delicious, it’s probiotic, it’s cheap… and you can flavor it!
For a refresher course on kombucha, check out our last post.
You can experiment with the flavor by changing up the sugar you use, the tea flavors, and of course the goodies you add to your second ferment (if you do that).
Most people change the flavor during the second ferment of their kombucha. You can add all sorts of things, such as fruits (frozen, fresh, dried, etc.), fruit juice, spices, and herbs.
Our favorite second ferment flavor is using prunes and vanilla beans to make a cream soda flavor. Get that kombucha tea recipe here.
However, our go-to recipe that we make nearly every time is a simple one-time ferment. Now you don’t have to wait another 3-4 days to drink your tutti frutti fizzy drink. Hooray!
Most people when they make their initial kombucha simply use black tea and nothing else. I personally don’t really like the flavor of straight up black tea kombucha.
In fact, we never use just black tea in our kombucha unless we’re planning on doing a second ferment.
Many people are concerned about the caffeine content of their straight black tea kombucha. There are a couple of different ways to decrease the amount of caffeine in your kombucha.
I recently learned that your SCOBY actually needs the nutrients of black tea in order to stay strong and healthy. This is why we can’t use a straight herbal mixture all the time to eliminate the caffeine.
We go over caffeine and other concerns in our latest blog post about homemade kombucha.
For our go-to kombucha tea recipe, we use 25% black tea (the recommended minimum for your kombucha) and a 75% herbal tea mixture of rooibos, hibiscus, and ginger.
Here are some tidbits on these herbal teas:
- From South Africa
- Caffeine free, low in tannins, contains several minerals and antioxidants.
- Used for nagging headaches, insomnia, asthma, eczema, bone weakness, hypertension, allergies, and premature aging, upset stomach, cancer, and heart disease
- High in vitamin C and antioxidants
- It’s red and tastes like cranberries
- Helps with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, indigestion, inflammation, immune system, cramps, antidepressant, and anxiety
- Helps with gas, heartburn, clearing sinuses, morning sickness, improving circulation, and fights cancer
Of course, these remedies are great for alleviating symptoms, but aren’t cures. No stopping on your meds because I said these could help anxiety 😉
Okay, now on to this tasty kombucha tea recipe!
Just FYI: 1 bag of tea = about 1 tsp of loose leaf tea. Loose leaf tea is usually a cheaper way to go too if you’re planning on making a lot of kombucha even though it’s a bit more annoying to use.
- 1 bag of black tea
- 1 bag of spicy ginger tea
- 1 bag of roobios tea
- 1 tea ball full of hibiscus tea
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 2 SCOBYs (you can take one and split it or cut it – they’re layered almost like a bunch of pancakes)
- 1-2 cups starter tea from previous batch
- If you bought your SCOBY, follow the instructions given to you to start your homemade kombucha.
- Bring to boil a gallon of water. I just pour 2 half gallon mason jars’ worth of water into my stock pot so I don’t have to bother with actually measuring anything.
- Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add tea and remove from heat to cool. Too hot of tea will kill your SCOBY. My mom puts her pot out in the snow sometimes to cool off quicker. If you’re concerned about caffeine, you can steep your black tea for 30-60 seconds in a cup of hot water before putting in with your sugar water.
- Take your starter tea and swirl it around your half gallon mason jars and let it settle in the bottom. The starter tea is acidic and will help your new tea become acidic enough so mold does not grow on your SCOBY. It will act as sort of an all-natural disinfectant.
- When tea has cooled enough, pour it into your mason jars with your starter tea. I usually will wait several hours until I can hold my finger in my tea brew.
- Place your SCOBY on top of tea and securely cover with thin cloth or paper towel. Your SCOBY will float all over the place as it ferments. The fermentation process is aerobic and needs the air to do its duty. Don’t use anything like cheesecloth because those pesky fruit flies will be able to get into your brew.
- Place mason jars in a corner of your kitchen without direct sunlight and let it ferment for several days. The hotter your house is the faster it will ferment.
- Start tasting your kombucha on the 4thday to see if it has reached the right balance of sweet and tart. I let my kombucha ferment for about 5 days in the summer and about 7 in the winter. The longer you let it ferment, the less sugar your kombucha will have but it will taste progressively more like vinegar. Ain’t nobody want to drink that.
- After your kombucha has reached the right balance of sweetness, start making another batch of tea (steps 1-3), take your SCOBY out and put it on a plate, strain your kombucha while pouring it into another mason jar. Keep about 2 cups for your starter tea! Put the lid on the finished kombucha and put it in the fridge.
- Using your new starter tea, repeat steps 4-9.
There you have it! Your very own fizzy fruit punch you made at home without a powder packet.
What is your favorite kombucha tea recipe?