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.

1 two liter jar
1 coffee filter
1 tea kettle
1/2 cup white sugar
4 bags of black tea
1 1/2 liters water
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.