Friday, January 1, 2016

Five Ingredients of Kombucha

Making kombucha tea requires five ingredients: water, tea, sugar, starter tea, and a kombucha starter culture (SCOBY). 

Options are available for each ingredient.  You want to choose the right ingredients for the health of the SCOBY.  Different teas and sugars will change the flavor of the kombucha. 

You want water free from contaminants.  Filtered water is ideal.  However, boiling the water for 20 minutes and then letting the water cool overnight will allow the chlorine to evaporate.

Brewing kombucha requires real tea, preferably organic tea.  The tea you choose will affect the health of your SCOBY and the taste of your finished kombucha.  

A black tea is your best choice for activating the SCOBY; it provides the nutrients for the SCOBY, giving a bold flavor to the final brew.  Choose Ceylon, English Breakfast, Darjeeling, etc.  Avoid Early Grey and other black teas containing oils or added flavoring.

Oolong tea makes a milder flavored brew.  Green teas make a lighter, softer brew.  Avoid any teas with oils or added flavors.  

White teas will produce a flowery, delicate flavor.  Do not use white tea only; use it with a black, green, or oolong tea.  White tea is NOT recommended for the first few batches of kombucha as it does not activate the SCOBY well.

Red and Herbal teas need to be used with black tea.  Use a 1:3 ratio minimally of herbal to black. Also NOT recommended for the first few batches of kombucha
as it does not activate the SCOBY well.

Remember that kombucha does have caffeine. Use a decaffeinated tea is there is concern.

Organic white cane sugar is the best choice. 

Brown sugar is less refined and contains molasses.  It will produce a yeasty kombucha and may shorten the life the the SCOBY.  It is NOT recommended.

Honey, agave, coconut, maple, palm sugars, or syrups gives inconsistent results.  They are NOT recommended. Artificial sweetners do not have any nutrients or food for the SCOBY.  They are NOT recommended.

The addition of an acidic liquid is critical to the health of the SCOBY and the safety of the batch of kombucha. The most desirable acidic liquid to use when brewing a batch of kombucha is properly brewed kombucha tea from a previous batch. 

However, if starter tea is not available, there are two options.  You may use a bottle of store-bought raw, unflavored kombucha tea.  Or, you may use white distilled vinegar. Vinegar can make up all or part of the acidic liquid portion needed to brew a batch of kombucha.

SCOBYs are available online.  However, finding someone locally to give you a SCOBY is your best bet.  

Adapted from 

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