A year ago, at an amazing vegan cheese making class in Vancouver, BC, I tasted kombucha for the first time. It was chai flavored and seriously delicious, and I was hooked on the idea of brewing some myself. What I had learned in class, plus a few hours on YouTube, and putting the word out at work that I was looking for a SCOBY (the Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast that is used for brewing kombucha) got me started. A few days later, SCOBY in hand, I had my first batch going. For those who don’t know, kombucha a fermented beverage that is made from sweetened black tea. It is a probiotic beverage with many health benefits, in addition to being delicious. I will add that people have varying preferences in terms of flavors they like. I prefer something a bit sweet and fruity. Others prefer a much more tart and vinegary flavor. Please don’t judge all kombucha by what you taste first if you don’t like it. My first taste was delicious. The second kombucha I tasted, in my opinion, WAS NOT.
My routine now is that every Saturday I start a new batch going on its first fermentation and bottle up last week’s batch for its second fermentation. This second fermentation is where the flavoring is added. While I loved the chai flavor, my favorites tend to be the fruit flavors so I use various fresh, frozen, or dried fruits, along with a little agave or maple syrup. After 4 days spent fermenting at room temperature, the bottles are ready to be refrigerated and consumed. One gallon jar becomes 8 16oz. bottles, which is enough for me to enjoy a bottle most every day and my husband to enjoy one occasionally.
Our oldest grand-daughter is a huge fan of kombucha and we spent an afternoon a few weeks ago with her helping with the process, then using that info to create her 4-H presentation on ‘Brewing Kombucha’.
Purchasing kombucha at the store will cost you several dollars. I did a calculation on what it is costing to brew a gallon at home.
Organic Tea bags = 57¢ Organic Sugar = 34¢ 2 c. fruit = $1.36
For the 8 16-oz. bottles it makes, that works out to 26¢ per bottle! A great bargain for a few minutes of input each week! Oh, and the bottles I use are recycled glass tea bottles. They were cheaper than what I found to purchase either locally or on Amazon, and they have worked just fine.