Brewing Kombucha at Home
Some general things to know
-the mother likes room temp/a bit warmer than room temp. It goes dormant in the fridge but stays alive (good for long-term storage).
-kombucha should always be stored in glass. It eats metal and plastic and ceramics
-your mother is a living symbiosis which will be more or less healthy depending on how you treat her
-when active, kombucha should be left ventilated (ie. with a cloth or paper towel at the opening, not a sealed lid
-there can be two fermentations. I usually just drink mine after the first, but if you want a bottled, carbonated product, you can do a second fermentation in bottles (more info on that when I update the page below)
- if you use flavored teas (earl grey, chai, citrus tea, fruity or flowery flavors, etc) in the first fermentation, they will contaminate the mother (and all future kombucha she tries to make). So if you're going to be experimental, keep a spare, pure mother ready in case everything goes wrong. Just go with simple green, black, or white tea.
-try to keep everything as sterile as possible. ie. wash your hands in general before doing kombucha stuff, don't touch the mother with your hands if possible, sterilize your glass fermentation vessel (jar, bowl, etc) with boiling water before using it on this project, don't double dip a spoon into the kombucha when taste testing it, etc)
-every brewing environment is a little different, so it's hard to say exactly how long your batch will take. It's good to keep records of each mother and each batch---what ratio you use, what date you started, what kind of tea you used etc...and soon you'll get the hang of what works best for you
ingredients: a kombucha mother, starter liquid (some kombucha from the last batch---i left some in your jar), sugar (other sweeteners work too, but things like honey and maple syrup take a really long time in my experience), green tea (black tea works too but green is better---don't use flavored or herbal teas)
1. make a large batch of tea (enough to fill your glass vessel of choice)
2. while tea is still hot, dissolve the sugar into it. The ratio should be about 1 part sugar to 8 parts tea. (keep track of your exact ratio so you can tweak it next batch---different ratios work better in different environments)
3. let the tea cool to room temperature (otherwise the heat might damage the mother)
4. put the room-temp tea/sugar mixture into your glass vessel, along with the starter and the mother
5. cover the vessel's opening with something breathable (cloth, cheesecloth, paper towel, clean t-shirt, etc) and seal with a rubber band (it needs to be able to keep fruit flies out)
6. wait. probably 2-4 weeks, tasting every few days to monitor the development
7. it will get progressively less sweet and more punchy/vinegary; when you like the taste, pour out the kombucha and keep it in the fridge. You can use the mother to start a new batch (also, a new mother will form on top of each batch that you make, so you can start two batches now, and eventually take over the world)
Let me know if you're interested in this (it's the bit where you bottle and flavor the kombucha from the first fermentation!) and if there's enough interest I'll post instructions.
Also, let me know if you ahve any questions!! My kombucha hotline is open 24/7 at cfaroe(at)gmail(dot)com
happy brewing, it's super easy!