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How to Make Kombucha

Kombucha is a wonderful thing.  For those who are fans of fermented foods and flavors it is a tasty treat filled with millions of good bacteria (aka pro-biotics).  For those not fans of ferment I encourage you to make the jump because your stomach will thank you.

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Kombucha is a fermented tea made with black or green tea, sugar and a mother that looks a bit like a floating mushroom.

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Above is my household's current resident mothers and an example fermenting jar filled with the "son" or start kombucha from our previous batch. 

We started making kombucha three months ago and will never go back to the store bought version again.  1) it is way less expensive; 2) you can control the flavor and level of ferment. Finally - it is really easy so there is no real reason not to make it at home.

So how do you make kombucha? 

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First you want the proper equipment.  You will need a 1 or 2 gallon glass jar.  A metal pot will not work as the kombucha does not like metal.

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Second - you need a mother.  Mine was a birthday gift from a friend and co-worker.  Ask around or purchase a kombucha kit online or in a health food store. 

Third - make sure you have black or green tea, a wooden spoon, sugar and a store bought bottle of kombucha on hand.

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Now you are ready to go. 

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Step 1: Start by boiling 5 to 6 black tea bags in a large cooking pot for 5 to 10 minutes.  For your first batch stick to purely black or green tea.  But after you have a good batch going you can expand and add some herbal teas for extra flavors and fun.

Step 2:  Let the tea cool down to room temperature.  I usually boil the tea in the evening and finish the process in the morning. 

Kombucha and uneeda 2013 007Step 3:  When you have room temperature tea stir in 1 cup of sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Your sugar can be of any variety as long as it is sugar.  We are currently using anorganic cane sugar we got on sale at our local organic grocer. 

Kombucha and uneeda 2013 002Step 4:  Pour your store bought kombucha (preferably plain flavor) into your large jar.  Or approximately two cups if you purchase a larger than average size bottle. 

Step 5:  Pour in your sugar and tea mixture and mix together with a wooden spoon.

Step 6: Lightly float the mother on the top of the jar.  Sometimes it sinks. It is ideal if it floats on the top - so if it sinks wash your hands then fish the mother out and try again to float it on top. 

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This is an example of a sunken kombucha mother.  I tried again and got it to float on the top.

Step 7: When everything is floating properly cover your jar with a towel and use a rubber band to secure it.  Place your kombucha in a safe room temperature or warmer (but not much) place to ferment for 7 to 10 days (depending on how fermenty you want it to taste).  DO NOT REFRIGERATE.  You will have a stinky undrinkable mess on your hands.

Step 8: After 7 to 10 days remove the mother and bottle your kombucha.  We use recycled store bought kombucha bottles and refrigerate these individually after kombucha is ready.  You can use other bottles and seal them and the let the kombucha sit for another 3 days to acquire effervecense.  This is completely up to your discretion and taste. 

Step 9:  Drink and enjoy.

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