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Kombucha or Jun

Learn how to make your own kombucha or jun at home with this simple recipe. You'll need to find someone to give you a SCOBY + starter fluid. A SCOBY is a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (it's the white frisbee you see in the brew). It ensures your tea is properly fermented. 
Kombucha SCOBYs are brewed with sugar. Jun SCOBYs are brewed with raw honey. Read the full article for more information on how to make your own kombucha brew at home and a full supply list.
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beverage, fermented foods, Kombucha, tea
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Jenny Finke

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon filtered or distilled water
  • 4-6 tea bags black, oolong, green, white or whatever tea you like for kombucha, green tea for jun
  • 1 SCOBY
  • 1 cup starter liquid from a previous kombucha brew
  • 1 cup sugar (kombucha) or raw honey (jun)
  • 1/2 ripe mango cut into chuncks
  • 1 inch ginger root peeled and cut into 5-6 long strips

Instructions

  • Brew four cups of hot, filtered water with 4-6 tea bags in a four-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Steep the tea bags in the hot water for 10 minutes, then pour the liquid into the glass vessel. Do not pour hot water in the glass vessel as it might crack the jar (yep, happened to me!). Fill the Pyrex with another four cups of hot filtered water and allow the tea bags to steep for a couple of minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of sugar (for kombucha) or 1 cup of raw honey (for jun) to the hot mixture to allow it time to dissolve. Use a long wooden spoon to mix it until the sugar or honey is completely dissolved.
  • Add the rest of the tea to the vessel. Fill up the vessel with additional filtered water until it’s nearly to the top. Allow the mixture time to cool (you can add in a few ice cubes to cool it more quickly). You do not want to place your SCOBY in hot liquid.
  • Once the mixture is cooled, add your SCOBY and about one cup starter liquid (liquid reserved from a prior batch).
  • Next, you’ll want to cover the mixture with a coffee filter secured in place with a rubber band. This ensure no particles get in to compromise the mixture. Then store the jar on a warming mat in a dark place in your kitchen (sunlight should not be beaming on it). Do not move it! This will disrupt the fermentation.
  • The first fermentation process takes seven or more days to complete depending on the maturity of your SCOBY and starter fluid, as well as the temperature of the mixture.
    You’ll know your kombucha is a healthy brew if the SCOBY reproduces itself. You should have a baby SCOBY that is about one half inch thick and hardy (it shouldn’t tear easily). If it’s too thin, it indicates a weak culture. If it’s too thick, enough oxygen may not have reached the brew. The SCOBY baby should be white to light tan in color and you should see plenty of yeast strands attached to the bottom of the culture and floating in the liquid.
    The new SCOBY will reproduce on top of the old SCOBY. Sometimes they are piled on top of each other, other times the mother SCOBY is floating around or at the bottom of the mixture. It doesn’t matter, as long as she reproduces.
    See full article for "Signs of a healthy brew."
    Making Your Own Kombucha - brewing process
  • You are now ready to flavor and bottle your fermented mixture. You’ll want to use some sort of fruit as the flavoring because it contains sugar and will really help your mixture carbonate well. The more sugar, the more carbonation present in your final product.
    My favorite flavoring is a combination of mango chunks + ginger. Simply chop up a few bits of mango and ginger and stick them inside your bottle (nothing too big or they’ll get stuck in the bottles).
    Before bottling the liquid, be sure to remove your SCOBY from the mixture along with at least one cup of starter liquid. If you want to save the new SCOBY, you’ll need to save several additional cups of your kombucha mixture and build up what is affectionately called a SCOBY Hotel. See full article for details.
    Kombucha bottling 1
  • Strain the mixture with a mesh strainer and pour it through a funnel for bottling. You’ll want to leave about one inch of air space at the top of each bottle as pictured. You’ll end up with 4-6 beautiful bottles full of delicious fermented tea (the number of bottles will vary depending on how much you reserve for your SCOBY Hotel). And don’t forget to reserve at least one cup of fluid for your next brew.
    Kombucha Bottling 2
  • Once the booch is bottled, you’ll want to leave it in those air-tight sealed jars for 4-7 days. This is the second ferment where the yeast and bacteria feed off the sugar from the fruit. Because the gases cannot escape from the mixture, the mixture carbonates (like soda) and is super fizzy.
    WARNING: This mixture is alive and when you open your booch, it can spurt EVERYWHERE. Aim it away from your face (a must) and cover it with a dish towel over the sink upon opening for the first time. Once you snap open the top, there’s a chance it will fizz everywhere if you’ve left it to ferment too long, so covering it with a dishtowel will make clean up so much easier. Have a glass close by so you can capture the liquid if it overflows from the jar upon opening.
    Kombucha bottling 4
  • Once the second ferment is complete (and it’s fizzy to your liking), put the bottles in your fridge. This will stop the fermentation process and give you a few days to enjoy your booch. Hurry up and drink them… because if you started another batch after bottling, you’ll soon be ready to bottle your new brew.