Kombucha: Tea With A Pinch of Monsters

As far as tea goes, I prefer mine plain, without sugar or milk. At most, I’ll leave the teabag in the cup and allow the dark weedy flavors to permeate the water. As a beverage, it’s the living plant-like taste which draws me to tea and encourages my exploration of new varieties. Recently I had the opportunity to take my tea regiment in a new direction. At the UFM Community Learning Center of Manhattan, Kansas, I learned to develop Kombucha, a truly living drink. While some adhere medicinal-longevity qualities to this tea, I mostly like the flavor, which is similar to apple cider, and the idea of drinking millions of tiny yeasty breeding monsters. Details on making Kombucha follow.

Materials:
1 two liter jar
1 coffee filter
1 tea kettle
 
Ingredients:
1/2 cup white sugar
1 SCOBY
4 bags of black tea
1 1/2 liters water
 
Recipe:
Bring water to a boil. Pour water into a larger class jar. Add teabags and sugar. Mix well. Steep tea until water has cooled to room temperature. Discard teabags. Add SCOBY. Cover jar with coffee filter. Place in a cool dry dark place. Taste after 6-10 days or until desired flavor is reached. Pour most of the liquid into a new jar and place in the fridge. Drink tea until it tastes weird. The SCOBY can be reused to start a new batch.
 
Supposedly the variations in home-brewing greatly effect the final taste. My instructor said no two batches are the same, though hopefully they’re all drinkable enough. Enjoy!
 
Class notes available at ufmKombuchaClassNotes2011-03-05.
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2 thoughts on “Kombucha: Tea With A Pinch of Monsters

  1. Very interesting, Will. Good to hear from you. Where do you get the SCOBY from? I am willing to try if I find it.

    Roumi

    • It’s good to hear from you too, Roumi! I’d suggest looking for a Kombucha group in your area and asking if anyone has an extra SCOBY. A SCOBY is self propagating, so it’s usual for someone brewing Kombucha to have extras at any given time. There’s a group in LA called Kombucha Klatch which I bet would have an extra SCOBY. Otherwise, the class I took suggested the site HappyHerbalist.com for Kombucha kits and growing tips.

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