Kombucha is a fermented, mildly fizzy and slightly tangy drink made from sweetened tea and a culture known as a ‘scoby’. 

Recipe by Nicky Arnold (adapted from The Culture Club written by friend and ‘super fermentista’ Dearbhla Reynolds). 

PICTURE: klara-avsenik/Unsplash

You will need: 
• 100g sugar
• 2 litres filtered water
• 8 bags of black or green tea or a mix (or 2 tbsp loose tea)
• 200 ml starter tea from last batch of kombucha
• 1 kombucha scoby

1. Boil water and pour into a clean 2 litre jar. Stir sugar in to dissolve. Add tea, stir and leave to steep until it has cooled. Remove tea bags or strain out leaves. Once cool, add the starter tea (it must be properly cooled or the probiotic bacteria will be killed).

2. With clean hands, gently slide the scoby into the tea. Cover with kitchen paper secured with an elastic band. Make sure no insects can get in as they will be attracted by the sweet tea. 

3. Keep the jar out of direct sunlight and at room temperature and allow to ferment for at least 7 days. It’s okay for the scoby to float at the top, bottom or even sideways during fermentation. A new cream coloured layer of scoby should start forming on the surface of the kombucha in a few days. You may also see stringy brown bits floating beneath the scoby or sediment collecting at the bottom-these are all normal signs of fermentation.

4. After 7 days, start tasting daily until the right balance between sweet/tart for you is reached.  When you get to that point, you can bottle your ‘booch’.

5. Transfer into clean bottles. Keep the bottles at room temperature, out of direct sunlight for a further one to three days if you want it to be carbonated.  Refrigerate to stop the fermentation and carbonation and drink within a month. It’s a good idea to ‘burp’ your bottles periodically, more so in warmer weather, to release built up gases to prevent unfortunate, and messy, accidental popping incidents! 

Nicky’s guide to making your own kombucha is a great place to start. For extra resources, Nicky also recommends: 

• ‘Hastings Fermentory’ Facebook page: a good place to ask people for a spare scoby

• Nicky’s ‘Pranabanana’ Facebook group for recipes and further inspiration (including info about upcoming fermentation, natural health and nutrition courses)

You can also contact Nicky directly at: [email protected] She usually has some kombucha available on a donation or barter basis. 

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