Everything you need to know about Kombucha
As you might already know that Kombucha has been bouncing up the popularity charts in all markets in recent years. Firstly Kombucha is a fermented drink made from sweetened tea and a specific culture known as a ‘scoby’. Scoby stands for ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts’. The bacteria and yeasts convert the sugar into ethanol and acetic acid. The acetic acid is what gives kombucha its distinctive sour taste.
Kombucha is usually made using:
- Cold filtered water
- Black or green tea (bags or loose leaf)
- Scoby – purchased online, or from an existing batch of kombucha
To make kombucha, the tea and sugar is steeped in boiled water and left to cool before adding the scoby. This is covered and left to ferment for up to a week. The mixture is then poured into an airtight container with some extra sugar and left for a few more days – the longer it is left, the fizzier it will become. At this point, flavourings such as spices or fruit can be added.
Trust us, kombucha brewing is easy and once you have started your booch adventure you will quickly understand the ins and outs of each step.
Make your own kombucha easily using Mad Millie Kombucha Kit with live culture (SCOBY) which turns sweetened tea into a delicious, fizzy beverage. Fermenting kombucha yourself gives you the creative license to have as much or as little tart zing as you want.
Once activated, your scoby can be reused to brew your own delicious booch time and time again. Your 1 L brew is also the perfect starter culture for bigger fermenting vessels or crocks. It's the gift that keeps on giving!
Time: 20 minutes hands on time and 8-25 days to ferment (depending on taste preferences).
Quantity: Makes minimum 1 L batch sizes
Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Vegan - No Artificial Flavours - No Preservaties - Non-GMO.
There aren’t any big secrets to fermenting kombucha; just a few key steps that with a bit of trial and error anyone can complete!
Kombucha fermentation happens in two steps, the relatively self-explanatory first and second ferments.
The first ferment is when you turn your sweetened, black tea into delicious, tangy kombucha. Once the Mad Millie scoby is added to your sweetened tea the cultures can start their work. During this step they are busily converting the food (sugar) you have given them into organic acids, carbon dioxide, a tiny trace of alcohol (up to 0.5% when using the Mad Millie recipe so still technically non-alcoholic) and B vitamins.
The types of bacteria and yeast that are in your scoby require air to complete the fermentation; this is why we recommend keeping the top of your kombucha jar or vessel covered with a muslin cloth rather than sealed with a lid. This also means that any carbon dioxide that is produced escapes and your kombucha is flat after the first ferment.
The second ferment is when you get to make it bubbly! The exact same process is followed however instead of the fermentation happening in a jar or vessel with air flow, it happens in a sealed bottle to trap all the carbon dioxide. This is also an opportunity to get creative and add any flavours or infusions that you might want to experiment with.
Completing a second ferment is not necessary to get all the benefits of kombucha and enjoy its tangy taste. If you don’t have time or haven’t got any bottles yet, we recommend a shot of kombucha from day 25 of the first ferment in a glass of sparkling water. However, if you do want bubbles, read on…
Second Ferment Process
- Add 1.5 tsp of white sugar into your clean sterile 750mL glass bottle.
- Pour your kombucha into the bottle through a muslin cloth lined funnel.
- Seal the bottle tightly (a flip top cap is the easiest) and leave at room temperature for 2 -3 days to carbonate.
- Taste test, if it is not as bubbly as you want, leave it out for another day or two.
- Refrigerate your kombucha and enjoy!
You can get as creative as you want with the second ferment! An easy way to add flavour is to add some of your favourite juice into the sterilised bottle, then add your kombucha and seal. This will give both flavour and the sugar the kombucha needs to carbonate. If you add juice or fruit you don’t need to add the white sugar as you are already feeding the live cultures with your infusions.
- Juice flavouring it’s best to start with up to 20% juice and 80% kombucha.
- Fruit is a great way to bring in some different flavour profiles and you can use fresh, frozen or dried. Start with up to 30% fruit and 70% kombucha, keep in mind that dried fruit will often have a higher sugar level.
- Add 2 teaspoons of chia seeds for added nutritional benefits and texture.
- Add a slice of ginger root as well as the sugar to get that fiery ginger flavour.
- Add flavour extracts e.g. vanilla, start with ¼ teaspoon of extract per 1 cup (250mL) of kombucha.
It’s important to second ferment in brewing bottles as the production of gas leads to higher pressure. We recommend reusable glass bottles with flip top caps . Be careful when opening bottles after a second ferment, as they are under pressure they may fizz.
Store your kombucha out of direct sunlight, between 24 – 30oC (75 – 86oF). If you are fermenting other food or beverages make sure there is a gap of at least 1 metre between the kombucha and these. This will ensure no cross contamination of the different bacteria and yeast.
Benefits of Mad Millie Kombucha Crock
Holding up to 4 L (4 US qt) of delicious, tangy kombucha this crock needs to be the newest addition to your household. It’s got a stainless steel tap so you can drink your brew on the daily or easily fill up bottles for a second ferment.
It’s lead-free ceramic and so pretty that you won’t want to hide it away in a back cupboard, it should be sitting front and centre on your benchtop. There is an in-built airlock in the lid design, which we know we don’t need for kombucha but makes this a very versatile little crock should you want to move into other fermented beverages. It also gives you the option of creating a closed environment if you get your brew all the way to the end of its fermenting cycle and want to have a bit of a break from brewing.
Last note, Kombucha is great for digestion - I drink it at the beginning of the day and sip on it all day.