- What is Kombucha?
- The Basic Recipe
- Can you use herbs in the primary fermentation?
- Secondary Fermentation
- Herbs and fruit recipes
- Tips and Troubleshooting
What is Kombucha?
During fermentation, the SCOBY consumes the sugars in the tea, producing organic acids, vitamins, enzymes, and probiotics.
The result is a slightly fizzy, sour, and sweet beverage.
The fermentation process usually takes 1-2 weeks.
During a second fermentation, Kombucha can be flavoured with fruits, herbs, or spices.
The final product contains trace amounts of alcohol due to the fermentation process.
The Basic Kombucha Recipe
To make one litre
- Jar: 1+ litre capacity
- Jug: 1+ litre capacity
- Water: 900ml
- Sugar: 1⁄4 cup
- Tea: 2 tsp loose black tea ( for the herb ones I used 2 heaped teaspoons instead of the black tea)
- Starter liquid: 100ml
- Scoby - a piece of your last one or one that someone has given you
- Coffee filter paper or finely woven cloth to cover the top of the jar
- Heat 300ml of water, add sugar, stir until dissolved.
- Add tea to sugar water and steep for 10 minutes
- Add the 600ml remaining water, cool to room temp.
- Strain loose tea into Jar
- Add SCOBY and starter liquid.
- Cover with a breathable lid.
- Start checking your kombucha after 7 days to test flavour. It can take up to 30 days in colder weather.
- Once the kombucha is ready you can pour off 900ml leaving 100ml for your next batch.
- You can now use the 900ml of fermented kombucha to drink straight or you can use it to do a second fermentation.
FAQ: Can You Use Herbs in the Primary Fermentation?
The primary fermentation of Kombucha is most commonly made with black tea or green tea.
Being a herby person, I wondered why I couldn’t use herbs instead of black tea in the first primary fermentation. Searches online kept coming up with you can’t use herbs as they will weaken or kill the SCOBY.
I searched what is in black tea that feeds the scoby and came up with tannins, polyphenols and nitrogen. Many herbs contain these three compounds.
2/02/23 - I made four 1-litre jars each made with the recipe above. I did use a SCOBY from my 4-litre Kombucha. I cut the scoby into four portions and used 100ml of the already-made kombucha as the starter liquid for each jar.
- Herb robert - 2 heaped tsp, 1/4cup sugar, 900ml water, 100ml starter liquid and ¼ of my large SCOBY
- Epilobium - 2 heaped tsp, 1/4cup sugar, 900ml water, 100ml starter liquid and ¼ of my large SCOBY
- Tulsi - 2 heaped tsp, 1/4cup sugar, 900ml water, 100ml starter liquid and ¼ of my large SCOBY
- Black tea - 2heaped tsp, 1/4cup sugar, 900ml water, 100ml starter liquid and ¼ of my large SCOBY
The black tea one was the Control Jar, so I could compare how each one went up against the black tea.
I love the subtle clove taste of the Tulsi one the best. But all of them have been suitable bases for the second ferment.
I will continue to make them all over the next few months to see if any of them weaken over time.
Flavour your kombucha by directly adding fruits, juices, herbs, and spices into bottles or infusing them in another jar before bottling. If using juice, start with a 10%-20% juice-to-kombucha ratio. For herbs and fruits, experiment for desired taste. After a few days of infusing, strain and bottle.
- 1 cup chopped fresh lemongrass
- 8 cm piece of sliced ginger
- 8 cm piece of sliced turmeric
- 10 black peppercorns
- 2 tbsp dried rosella
- 10 slices ginger
Tips & Troubleshooting
- Keep SCOBY in a cool, dark place away from smoke.
- Always cool tea before adding SCOBY and starter tea.
- Kombucha tasting like vinegar is often due to over-fermentation.
- Your SCOBY will move during fermentation, usually with the freshest one at the top.