Olinka Kombucha

Local Sedona Fermented Tea

Brewing Directions

Olinka Kombucha Directions (for 1 gallon)

YOU WILL NEED~

  • A wide mouth gallon glass jar, a SCOBY (aka 'mother'), a breathable cloth cover and a rubber band to secure
  • Caffeinated tea (organic is best: black, oolong, green, white, and/or yerba mate)
  • Organic white cane sugar (not brown sugar, not coconut sugar, not agave, not honey, or stevia, etc.)
  • Quality water 

MAKE TEA~

Boil just under 1 gallon of water. Turn off heat and let water cool somewhat before adding 6 tea bags. Steep for 15-20 minutes. Remove tea bags (squeeze with tongs) and add 1 ¼ cups of sugar stirring well and let cool by placing pot of tea in cold water in (clean) sink. You may want to drain sink and add more cold water after 15 minutes or so and stir tea again to quicken cooling; test tea by letting a drop fall on your inner wrist from the stirring spoon.

ADD TO MOTHER~

Gently pour the cooled tea into the gallon jar that contains the 'mother' and already has a cup or two of liquid from the last batch (your 'starter liquid'). Leave a couple inches of air on the top. Cover with the breathable cloth and secure with rubber band. Store in a low light (no direct sunlight), reasonably warm place (between 66 and 88 degrees; warmer = faster fermentation).

HARVEST~

Depending on your SCOBY, temperature, and bacteria and yeast balance*, harvest is approximately 18-21 days or more. Just take taste tests over that period to get it to your liking: If it goes too long, it tastes like vinegar; if not long enough, it tastes like sweet tea. At time of harvest, the pH should be between 2.9 and 3.4 thereabouts, so pH strips or a pH meter can be helpful monitoring. When you do taste test, just pour from the gallon into a glass. Try not to contaminate the batch by placing anything inside the jar with the mother.

SECOND FERMENT~

This is where you can add the flavors and get the kombucha more effervescent. Pour kombucha tea out of jar into its own separate vessel (save a cup or two of liquid with the mother for the next batch). Add any fruits, juices or herbs you desire. Experiment. ** Have fun. Usually a few chunks of fresh or frozen fruit (preferably chopped), a tablespoon of grated ginger, and/or a teaspoon to a tablespoon of herbs or flowers will do. Cover tightly- this stage is an anaerobic process so leave very little air space at the top. You can use wax paper as a seal under the lid. Gently turn the jar or bottle daily to infuse the flavors. Let sit maybe 2 days or longer, opening carefully** and filter into the final jar or bottle (this is one method). Make sure all jars and utensils used are clean and sanitized (boiled water or iodine can be used).

STORING~

Store final bottle(s) in the refrigerator to halt the fermenting process. If you decide you want it less sweet and more sour, store outside the fridge at room temperature (reactivates the yeast and bacteria) and check it in a day or so. For freshness, it's best consumed within a few weeks, but it doesn't go bad (just changes, because it's a living drink) so you can enjoy whenever you want.

REMEMBER~

After a while, the mother tends to grow a 'baby'~ a thin whitish SCOBY. When not too fragile, and using gloves, you can separate the new baby from the mother and start a new jar (making sure the new baby has some starter liquid). Also, after a number of batches, the mother turns first grey to then brown and the kombucha doesn't taste as good; this is a sign it's time to discard the old. But if you have a baby, you'll never have to buy another SCOBY again***.

EVERY SO OFTEN~

It's a good idea to re-sanitize the jar every few batches or so. Take the mother and starter liquid out into a sanitized vessel, wash and scrub the jar, pour boiling water into it, swirl, and pour out. When jar has cooled, add back the liquid and mother.

In short:

1. Make sweet tea 2. Add cooled tea to SCOBY and starter liquid 3. Cover with cloth 4. Let sit for 10-21 days, generally 5. Harvest, doing a 2nd ferment, if you want.

Websites: 

*Kombucha: The Balancing Act

**Kombucha Kamp

***The Happy Herbalist

Kombucha Journal

Books: 

Gunther Frank-

Kombucha: Healthy Beverage and Natural Remedy from the Far East~ It's Correct Preparation and Use

A very scientific book, considered by many the Bible of Kombucha. Doesn't have anything instructive on 2nd fermentation process, but is in depth on studies done years ago in Europe and on its health benefits, describes different ways to brew tea, how to store the culture, what to do when problems arise, the effects of drinking the tea, and he is refreshingly in depth and not proprietary about Kombucha or its production. 

Hannah Crum, Alex LaGory~

The Big Book of Kombucha: Brewing, Flavoring, and Enjoying the Health Benefits of Fermented Tea

Brew your own kombucha at home! With more than 400 recipes, including 268 unique flavor combinations, you can get exactly the taste you want — for a fraction of the store-bought price. This complete guide, from the proprietors of Kombucha Kamp, shows you how to do it from start to finish, with illustrated step-by-step instructions and troubleshooting tips. The book also includes information on the many health benefits of kombucha, fascinating details of the drink’s history, and recipes for delicious foods and drinks you can make with kombucha (including some irresistible cocktails!).

Alick & Mari Bartholomew~

Kombucha Tea for Your Health and Healing: The Most In-Depth Guide...

This book features detailed case histories of people who have benefited from Kombucha, finding relief from arthritis, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, skin disorders, and other maladies. It is very informative and written in a way that makes it easy to understand.