Why would you? That was my question when I first tasted this homemade vinegary beverage proffered by a friend. I was intrigued though, one thing led to another and within a few months I too was happily fermenting this tea-based fizz.
Bite contributor Karen Dorrat reported on a kombucha workshop hosted by the Edinburgh Fermentarium and then Mrs Bite was invited to one run by the restaurant Aizle. I tasted a number of brews and was given a starter kit of SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) and instructions. It would have seemed rude not to give it a go.
What you need
3L glass jar, scales, muslin, black or green tea (not herbal infusions), thermometer.
Heat 700ml of water to 100c (black tea) or 80c (green tea)
Brew the tea of choice for 4 mins in the hot water.
Strain tea (leaves or bags) and dissolve 125 gms of raw unrefined sugar. Add 100 ml of cold water and wait for temperature to drop to between 22-24c
Cover jar with muslin or other breathable fabric and leave for 5 days to 2 weeks depending on how sweet or dry you want you final drink to be.
Spicing and second fermentation
Pour ¾ of kombucha into second vessel (Mrs B uses bottles with ceramic flip tops like Grolsch bottles) and leave scoby with ¼ of liquid to begin next brew.
Spice your bottled kombucha as you like. Aizle suggest 125gms of grated ginger, 150 gms of Muscadet pumpkin (chunks) and one grated nutmeg. Mrs Bite has been using grated raw ginger, stem ginger and raspberries and finds that fruit generally works well.
I now always try to have a bottle of buch on the go. There is no proven research on the benefits of Kombucha but it puts good bacteria in your gut and that is what boosts your immune system and results in the other reported anecdotal benefits. I have found that it gives an energy boost and improves skin and digestion.
For commercial kombucha Bite can recommend Leftfield Yunnan Black which has won a great taste award. Buy it at Hanover Health Foods or Jan de Vries. It is also on tap at the vegan bar Harmonium in Leith. It’s delicious and puts a spring in your step.
I hope to see more kombucha on tap and on sale in cafes and pubs this year as it is a great alternative to beer and alcoholic drinks and I would certainly recommend trying it if you are planning a healthy kickstart to 2018. (S. Wilson)