Kombucha, like pretty much all of my other imbibed creations, is just another delicious and creative way to drink tea. Kombucha is made from fermenting a tannin rich tea with a Scoby (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). It’a like a living, floating bacterial hotel that will hang out in your ‘bucha and make magic happen. The tannins in the tea will ferment along with the bacteria and yeast (and added sugar!) to create a delicious, vinegary, fizzy, probiotic rich beverage that’s easily adaptable to flavorings. Creating the perfect batch of kombucha can be a bit temperamental and take experimentation, and my recipe is what I have found to brew the ultimate perfect batch with three different flavoring options.
The basic ingredients for kombucha are simple: Scoby. Filtered water. Organic cane sugar. A bit of an original batch. High quality black tea. My favorite black tea to use is organic Kumaon Black Tea from Mountain Rose Herbs. So many black teas can taste too acidic or harsh or burnt. The flavor of this Kumaon black tea is exquisite – It’s slightly floral with a lighter taste and earthier undertones. It makes the most delicious kombucha I’ve ever made, and jives so well with fruit and herb flavorings which you’ll add later.
A few Variables…
Sugar: Some recipes fluctuate between 1-2 cups of cane sugar per batch. I find one cup of organic cane sugar does the job and doesn’t make the batches too sweet.
Fermenting time: Once your batch is flavored, the amount of time you let it sit to carbonate depends on how fizzy you like your kombucha. I like mine pretty bubbly, so I let mine sit on the counter for about 40 hours before I stick them in the fridge. Letting them sit out too long will result in exploding bottles.
Bottling containers: I prefer to use 1 liter tightly air locked glass bottles (with a flip top) to store my batches in for three reasons: 1) Each one of my batches fills exactly 3, 1 liter bottles. 2). Easily transportable to share, 3) The fizz keeps longer. Only opening one bottle at a time keeps the others highly carbonated until you’re ready for them.
Temperature: The temperature of your kitchen will kind of dictate how well your kombucha thrives while it’s fermenting. Try to keep your space between 68-78 degrees for an ideal brew.
FLAVORINGS! This is the most fun. You can flavor your kombucha any which way you want to. With herbs or fresh fruits or other teas or fruit juices – it’s up to you! I’ve used them all in the past and have the most flavorful batches when I use juicy fresh fruits and/or fresh herbs. Here are three of my favorite flavoring combinations:
1. Peach + Rosemary (recipe below)
2. Pomegranate + Basil – Seeds of 1 whole pomegranate + 10 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped)
3. Strawberry + Thyme (My sweet friend Renee Byrd served me a kombucha brew she made with this flavor combo and it blew my mind it was SO good. I’ve been flavoring every other batch this summer with this combo and it’s hands down my favorite. Also, beautiful pink kombucha – yes please!) – 1 cup chopped, fresh juicy strawberries + 5 tbsp fresh thyme.