Kombucha is a lightly effervescent sweetened green or black tea drink that originated from northeast China. It’s become very popular partly due to its probiotics, which are the good-for-you bacteria, that potentially benefit digestion and boost immunity.
Kombucha does contain a little bit of alcohol as a by-product of the fermentation process. It’s usually no more than 1%, but kids and people who are sensitive to alcohol should avoid the drink.
While kombucha is frequently found in the drink aisle of grocery stores, it’s also very commonly fermented at home. Whether you were making it at home or want to start brewing it, there’s no reason why living in an RV should prevent you from doing so. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and it’s easy to make.
Equipment you’ll need:
- A large bowl and a wooden spoon. Don’t use metal or plastic bowls or spoons.
- A large 1-gallon glass jar
- Tightly woven cloth, coffee filters or paper towels
- Glass bottles
Ingredients to make about 1 gallon:
- 3 ½ quarts of water
- 1 cup of white sugar
- Eight tea bags of black and green tea, feel free to mix and match or use one kind
- 2 cups starter tea from the last batch of kombucha or store-bought kombucha (make sure it’s unpasteurized and neutral flavored)
- One scoby (homemade or purchased) per fermentation jar. Scoby, which is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast, is the living home for the bacteria and yeast that transforms sweet tea into kombucha.
1. Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir the sugar in to dissolve.
2. Put the tea bags in the water and allow it to steep until the water has cooled. This could take a few hours.
3. Remove the tea bags when the tea is cool. You now have your tea base.
4. Stir in the starter tea.
5. Transfer the tea to a jar(s) and add the scoby with clean hands. If you use more than one jar, each jar needs its own scoby.
6. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of tightly-woven cloth, coffee filters, or paper towels, and secure it with a rubber band.
7. Store the jar in a warm location, but make sure it’s not in direct sunlight.
8. Ferment for 7-10 days. Taste it daily after seven days until it reaches the amount of sweetness and tartness you like. The shorter the fermentation period, the sweeter the kombucha will be.
9. Remove the scoby. If you’re not going to use the scoby for another batch of kombucha right away, then store it in a fresh batch of tea base with starter tea in the fridge. Be sure to change out the tea for a fresh batch every 4-6 weeks.
10. Bottle the finished kombucha, leaving about half an inch of headroom in each bottle. If you want to have flavored kombucha, add in any juice, fruit, or herbs as you’re bottling.
11. Store the bottled kombucha at room temperature and out of direct sunlight for 1-3 days to allow it to carbonate. Refrigerate to stop the fermentation and carbonation. Make sure to consume your kombucha within a month.