How to make, or refresh, kombucha


Lucinda Flynn, from Hurstbridge, is a permaculture enthusiast who is a leading light in North East Region Permaculture.

To make kombucha, you need to start with a SCOBY, and this can come from either your previous attempts or from other people. The video shows me starting from a very overgrown SCOBY but the process is the same wherever you get your SCOBY from.

Kombucha is really simple to make and it’s also simple to give people parts of your SCOBY so that they can make it as well.

SCOBY stands for ‘symbiotic combination of bacteria and yeast’ so it’s actually a living organism of bacteria and yeast together. It grows by feeding off sugar, which you give it in the form of sweetened tea.

If starting from your previous overgrown SCOBY, cut off a small piece of the solid part and put it aside together with around a cup of the liquid. Either chuck out the rest, or give some to other people or feed it to your chooks.

Make some tea and sweeten it. The amount of sugar that I put in is ¼ cup per litre, where the reason for this amount is that the SCOBY will be able to eat about that much sugar so the resulting kombucha will be largely sugar-free.

Put the small piece of solid SCOBY, the cup of liquid from the previous kombucha and the sweetened tea together into a container and put the lid on.

Leave it for about a week to help it get really strong. It will start feeding on the sugars and you’ll notice of a film start to form at the top of the liquid, which is the new SCOBY starting to develop.

Throughout, make sure you keep sterile by keeping your hands really clean.

Note that this this is the primary fermentation of the kombucha. If you want to do a secondary one as well, wait until the primary has become strong, that means it’s building its new SCOBY on top, then decant some of the kombucha into a sealable bottle (e.g. any sort of glass bottle with a top). Drop in a couple of berries or some ginger or citrus or anything else that has a bit of sugar in it, and put the lid on. The kombucha will then start to digest the sugars in the fruit and will create a bit of a fizz and that’s how you get the secondary ferment of a fizzy kombucha.

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