Stacks Image 186
Kombucha is a fermented beverage made using a SCOBY(symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.) The flavour of the drink is determined by the type of tea used,(black, green, or white) and by the length of time the tea is left to ferment.

If it is harvested before one week the drink is sweet, between one and two weeks it is like cider and more than two weeks and the vinegar content increases. It can be used after these time frames as a vinegar replacement.
KOMBUCHA INSTRUCTIONS From Store bought raw Kombucha

Kombucha Tea Recipe at a Quick Glance:
Important Information:

When working in any kitchen with food products, it is important to remember cleanliness is essential. Canning, drying and freezing can be done safely in any home kitchen. Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water is very important. Set aside a special time for preparing the Kombucha Tea during which you will be uninterrupted. If you do get interrupted, you will have to wash your hands again. Gather and wash the utensils you will need. You may want to use these only for making the Kombucha Tea. Remove all metal jewelry. The metal in your jewelry may not adversely affect your Kombucha, but the bacteria harboured in it might contaminate it. Wash your hands and all utensils with soap and hot water and rinse well. Now you are ready to begin the brewing process.

Required Utensils You will need:

a four quart stainless steel pot (
Don't use aluminum).
a large wooden spoon.
a measuring teaspoon and measuring cup.
a one-gallon glass jar to ferment the tea in.
netting, coffee filter, linen cloth, paper towels or any other clean breathable covering.
a tea ball, coffee filter or netting (only if you use loose leaf tea)
4 teaspoons tea (or 4 tea bags).
1 cup sugar (I use organic granulated).
cheesecloth. thin cotton fabric, or coffee filters and a rubber band.
a Kombucha Culture (I use one whole bottle of store bought raw plain
Fermented Kombucha Tea as a starter-about 2 cups)

1. Boil 3 qts distilled or purified water
2. Add 1 cup sugar
3. Boil 5 minutes
4. Turn off heat & add 4 tea bags  Black for a first ferment.
5. Steep 15 minutes
6. Remove tea bags or leaves &
let cool
7. Pour cooled liquid into fermenting container
8. Add Kombucha Culture
Cover with cheesecloth, a thin cotton fabric or coffee filters & let ferment 10  days.

The brewing process is broken down with more information about the finer details of the SCOBY’s preferences.

The Brewing Process:

1. Boil three quarts of water. Distilled or purified water is best.

2. Add 1 cup sugar when a rolling boil is reached. Remember, the sugar is added to feed the bacteria and yeast in the Culture. With adequate starting sugar and a short period of fermentation, the Tea yields a lot of energy with relatively few metabolic products and small amounts of residual sugar. If allowed to ferment longer, the Tea still yields a lot of energy, but the metabolic products are increased and there is little residual sugar. This produces a more sour, vinegary tasting Tea.

3. Boil water and sugar for five minutes.

4. Turn off heat and add 4 tsp. or 4 tea bags of black or orange pekoe tea.

5. Steep 10-15 minutes and remove tea leaves or bags and let tea cool to room temperature.

6. Add the Kombucha Culture. The "baby" will grow on the top of the "mother." Most Cultures float on the surface of the liquid. Don't worry if yours sinks to the bottom or stays at an angle, it may rise in a few days. If it doesn't, it will still form a new "baby" on the surface of the brewing solution. This acidifies the starting tea making it unlikely any organisms besides the Kombucha Culture grow in it.

7. Place breathable linen covering over the opening of the jar and secure with a rubber band. This keeps dust, mold, spores and vinegar flies out of the fermenting Tea.

8. Let sit undisturbed in a place at a room temperature, however, for optimum results, a temperature of 80-6 F is recommended. for 10 - 15 days. The Culture will grow better if the temperature is kept consistent. Keep out of direct sunlight. The Culture does not need light to grow. Placing your Culture in a dark cupboard or room may acidify it earlier - just taste test it earlier and, if need be, harvest it earlier. Fresh air is important, the organisms in the Culture need oxygen to grow, reproduce and ferment the Tea. Do not smoke in the same room as growing Cultures. If you cook a lot of greasy foods, do not keep your Cultures in the kitchen. Oils may land on the K-tea and float in the surface where the Culture lives, thus interfering with its growth. To eliminate guesswork, after 10 days, test the acidity (pH) of the brew with a pH test strip to read 3.0, but preferably closer to 2.8.

9. To make sure the Tea is ready to harvest, perform the pH test, and then pour off a couple of ounces for a taste test. A taste test on a batch of Kombucha Tea may taste like this:

4 - 6 Days - Too sweet, not all sugar converted.
7 - 9 Days - May taste like sparkling apple cider.
10 + Days - Vinegary taste becoming perceptible (sweet & sour).
If you notice the Tea becoming too strong or fermented, dilute it with fruit juice. You can also use it in place of table vinegar if you wish.

10. When the Tea is brewed to your taste, remove the two Cultures. Gently separate and place them in a glass jar covered with a cloth or paper towel and refrigerate. In fermented tea, it is sufficient to cover the culture.

11. Pour off the fermented Tea and bottle it into glass bottles. You can also use clean beer or wine bottles capped with a cork. Filtering is not necessary, but you can filter if you wish. Use a yogurt strainer.

12. Date and label the bottled Tea and put it in the refrigerator. Although I do not recommend it, some people store their bottled K-Tea at room temperature with success (sometimes the build-up of carbon dioxide will cause the unrefrigerated bottled K-Tea to explode). The Kombucha organisms' growth slows or stops when refrigerated or cooled. The K-Tea will age the longer it sits. Refrigerated bottled K-Tea is good for at least one year, possibly longer.

13. Begin drinking 1/4 cup (2 ounces) daily on an empty stomach. If it bothers your stomach, you can drink it after eating. The different constituents of the Tea will work on the body differently depending on if there is food in one's body or not. (If you wish, you can start with a daily dose of 1/4 cup). After two weeks, include another half cup dose in the afternoon. After a month, you can add another dose of a half cup - taking three half cup doses everyday. It is not necessary to increase your dose, unless for a specific reasons. For weight loss, it does suppress the appetite and is great for removing the urge for in-between meal snacks! REMEMBER TO DRINK PLENTY OF WATER TO FLUSH THE TOXINS FROM YOUR BODY. It was reported the doctors in the Soviet military hospitals gave their patients one litre of Kombucha each day. That's approximately four cups a day! It is important to find out for yourself what the best dose of the Kombucha Tea will most benefit your body. "Know Yourself!" Tune into your body and feel what is best for you. Remember, too much of a good thing is not always the best.


Diane Robinson is the Wild Dryad. She is a graduate of the BCIT Biotechnology program and the FoodShare WEFEAST program. She got her start in the ’80’s with a "mushroom tea" SCOBY and fun experiments with both wild foraged and garden crops.