05 Apr 2023 • 16 min read
Kombucha is the latest fermented health drink to gain a place our fridge. Many swear by the digestive properties of fermented foods, and drinks too are increasingly popular.
Kombucha is usually made from a base of tea, fermented with a bacteria and yeast culture. It needs some sugar content for the fermentation process to take place, so is often flavoured with fruit. If it’s left to ‘double ferment’ then more carbon dioxide is produced, creating fizz.
As with many fermented foods, kombucha is believed to aid digestive health. Research has found it contains Lactobacillus, friendly bacteria which help you digest lactose and may also treat diarrhoea.
The trickiest ingredient, yet the most essential, is the kombucha culture. This is often called a ‘scoby’ (it stands for ‘Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast’) and looks like a large rubbery disc – not particularly nourishing or tasty!
If you know someone who brews their own kombucha you can ask them to pass on a scoby; otherwise you can buy online.
1-2 litres of hot boiled water
160g - 200g sugar
Make a strong brew of tea (organic plain black tea is ideal) in a 2-litre glass container, and add 160-200g of sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
Leave for half an hour to brew, then remove teabags and leave to cool.
When the tea is around room temperature, add your scoby and any liquid that came with it. Tie a clean tea towel over the top and leave in a warm place (in winter, an airing cupboard would be best).
Leave your kombucha to ferment. The colour may change and become slightly cloudier, and a new scoby should form on the top. Pour a small amount into a glass after around 3 or 4 days to check if it’s ready. It should taste fruity, and no longer like tea. Keep tasting daily until you’re happy that it’s ready.
Strain your brew into bottles, leaving the scoby and a little liquid behind. Store the bottles in the fridge, where the kombucha will become fizzier the longer it's left.