BATCH BREW KOMBUCHA
If you are already a little familiar with kombucha and the basic differences between small batch brewing and continuous batch brewing, read on! If not, you should probably start on my Kombucha, The Tea of Immortality where I provide a brief overview for those who are just getting started. To learn about the benefits of Living Foods in general, start here: Living Foods
THE BATCH BREW PROCESS
Batch brewing is typically done in a half gallon or gallon size glass container. Most people use a large pickling or mason jar for this, but I have been using a glass pitcher and it works wonderfully for this. Below I explain the steps I take when making a small batch brew of kombucha. You can always adjust the amounts to fit your container as needed, as long as you stick with the same proportions and are sure to allow for a little air space at the top.
The continuous brew method is better for those who want a higher yield, usually producing batches of about 1.5 -2.5 gallons at a time. For more on that, check out my page on the Continuous Brew Method.
How to Batch Brew Kombucha
NOTE: For your very first brew, you will need to purchase a SCOBY and starter fluid. There are several sources available online, or if you know someone who brews booch, ask if they have an extra for you. For every future brew, you will be re-using this same SCOBY, or a baby SCOBY that has grown from it, and some of the kombucha from your previous batch as the starter.
- Bring 4 cups of spring water to a boil in a saucepan, then remove from heat. (Note: This is just half of the water I will use in this batch)
2. Drop in 4 tea bags and steep for 5 minutes. Remove and toss tea bags.
3. Add 1/2 cup of sugar, and stir until dissolved.
4. Add 4 cups of spring or filtered water. Allow tea to cool to between 80- 90 degrees F before moving on to the next step. (You can just wait for it to cool or you can quick cool it by placing pan in a slightly larger pot filled with ice water.)
5. Pour the tea into your clean dry vessel, and with your clean, dry hands, gently place your SCOBY on top. Pour your starter liquid on top.
6. Cover using a coffee filter or tightly woven cloth and rubber band, place it out of the sun (in a cupboard or pantry) and wait. Begin taste testing it daily after about 6 or 7 days. (I slide a plastic straw inside and along the edge of my pitcher, past the SCOBY and deep into the liquid, then place my finger on top of the straw to seal it so I can remove a taste of the kombucha without disturbing it too much.) When your kombucha is ready (whenever it tastes good to you) it's time to bottle it.
Bottle Your Kombucha and Begin Again
1. Once your kombucha is done to your liking, you will first need to set aside the SCOBY and some of the brewed kombucha as a starter for your next batch. With your clean hands, lift out the SCOBY and place it in a ceramic or glass bowl or jar and pour about 1-2 cups of your kombucha on top. Cover this with a clean cloth while you bottle the rest and prepare your next batch.
2. Pour the rest of your kombucha through a mesh strainer and into your glass storage containers. At this point you can seal your bottles and refrigerate, or you can opt to do a second fermentation (see step 3 below).
3. (OPTIONAL) If you want to do a 2nd fermentation to add more fizz and infuse it with your favorite flavoring, complete this step. Add a little fruit juice or a natural flavoring to your individual kombucha bottles, seal with an air tight lid, and allow it to sit at room temperature 1 to 5 more days. The kombucha will continue to ferment any additional or residual sugar, and a new little SCOBY may form on top. This is normal, and even healthy, but you'll probably want scoop or filter it out before refrigerating or serving.
NOTE: You can use just about any fruit or juice to flavor your brew but my favorite combination is lemon ginger. I add about a 1/4 teaspoon of grated ginger and the zest from 1/4 organic lemon to each 34 ounce carafe. I have also added about 1/4 cup of cranberry/peach fruit juice to my 34 ounce carafe with good results. But the temperature, size and timing of your batch may result in something very different from mine, plus taste is completely subjective so there's no perfect formula. Just be creative, experiment and find the combination that works for you.
ALL FUTURE CYCLES
Once you have brewed your first batch (the initial fermentation), you simply repeat the process beginning this time with step 1 -3 of the "Bottling" section, and then complete steps 1- 6 of the "Brewing" section for your next batch.
VERY IMPORTANT- DO NOT FORGET
The SCOBY is a living organism that can die if exposed to extreme temperatures or chlorine. It functions best at a temperature of 68-85 degrees F, so never put it directly in hot tea, and don't refrigerate or freeze it.