I did it!
After reading too many blogs and watching far too many confusing YouTube videos, I finally was able to make my own kombucha!
I spend a lot on kombucha. It’s a part of our weekly lives. So I’ll spend maybe $15 a week–and that adds up! And now that I’ve discovered how to make my own, my start up cost is a kombucha bottle, loose tea, and sugar. Not bad!
I am in no way, a fermenting pro. Besides this kombucha, I’ve only ever made lacto-fermented salsa (amazing by the way)! But I thought, since I was able to weed through all the YouTube videos, I’d share my experience.
I did not have my own SCOBY. So I purchased a $5 bottle of GTS kombucha. There is now a warning label on it saying it may explode. I took this as a good thing and decided that would be the one I start my SCOBY with. I went with the Gingerade flavor since I thought that would be easier to add berries to for flavoring!
I started with a strong sweetened tea. I used loose black leaf tea (I hear people say don’t use Earl Grey–I’m assuming its distinct flavor is not favorable). I poured hot water into the loose tea and sugar. I used a ratio of 1 tsp of tea to 1/2 cup sugar. Every video I saw used a lot of sugar and this is because the bacteria needs something to feed off of. I waited for the tea to steep, strained it, and waited for it to reach room temperature. You don’t want to shock the bacteria with too hot or too cold of a liquid.
Afterwards, I poured in the bottom of the GTS kombucha–where all the floaties were. I covered the jar with a coffee filter and rubber band, placed it in the cabinet and checked it weekly. It’s growing bacteria but I assumed any green or blue things on top of the SCOBY would be bad. Luckily, I had none of that. I let it sit for over two weeks. The longer you wait, the less sweet. I think 3 weeks would be perfect!
I didn’t taste test it. I’m known for that. I never try clothes on in a store. I eye it. I buy it. If it doesn’t fit I give it to my friends. So I guess this is just who I am. But I took it out this morning and tasted it–AHHH. So good! I’m like a proud rooster right now!
I decided to flavor and carbonate it, although honestly, I could just down it right now. I went with a ginger lemon flavor. Finally chopped ginger, 1/2 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp lemon juice. I put it in a bottle with a secure flip top, and now I’ll hide it for another two weeks, being sure to open the flip top every other day to allow building pressure to escape because exploding kombucha sounds heart breaking and messy.
I have luck with non-exploding glass. I freeze all my produce and such in glass mason jars and have yet to have an issue–knock on wood.
But I shall continue my kombucha journey. My kitchen will officially have bacteria growing in mason jars. Who knew!