2 Simple Summer Kombucha Recipes Everyone Will Love

Try these simple kombucha recipes for a healthy and delicious beverage to complement all your summer parties.

Kombucha — or, “the Booch” as it is fondly called by those who drink it regularly — is typically known more for its healing properties than its delicious taste, but with the right ingredients, this fermented tea drink is the perfect summer beverage in addition to being a so-called elixir. Even better, it is also easy to make at home.

So what exactly is it? Kombucha is made with a base of green or black tea, and a fungus called a SCOBY (a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). A sweetener and fruit are also added to the tea so that the fermentation can take place, and the SCOBY takes care of that process converting the sugar and tea into a tart-fermented drink that is loaded with health benefits. For example, being that it’s fermented, kombucha is an excellent source of probiotic bacteria, and many kombucha fans report an improvement to their digestive system when drinking small amounts of kombucha every day. As a result of being made with tea, kombucha also contains polyphenols which act as antioxidants that can reduce cardiovascular disease.

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So where should you begin? First, acquire a SCOBY. If you have yogi friends, the chances are you will find someone who can give you one, or you can also purchase a SCOBY online. If you prefer to get hands-on, you can buy a bottle of kombucha that seems to have a lot of sediment at the bottom and empty it down to the last two inches. Let the bottle breathe by covering it with a paper towel and a rubber band, and set the bottle in a warm place in your home for about a week – and presto, a SCOBY will have grown!

Armed with your SCOBY, a big glass jar or jug, and a few simple ingredients, you’re just a week away from your first batch of kombucha. Here are two summer recipes everyone will love:

Hibiscus and Lavender Kombucha

Ingredients

2 liters of boiled water
2 to 3 heaped tablespoons of organic dried hibiscus tea (typically flowers)
1 heaped tablespoon of organic dried lavender
1/2 cup of sugar or ½ cup of honey (not raw honey)
1 SCOBY and the liquid it sits in

Equipment

Glass Jars
Plastic or Wooden Stirring Spoon
Paper Towels, Weave Cloth or Paper Coffee Filters
Rubber bands or canning jar rings to secure the cover

Directions

1. Make the tea letting the hibiscus, lavender, sugar, and water steep together for at least an hour. Be sure to stir the tea at the beginning and end.

2. Let the tea cool, strain out the lavender and hibiscus and pour the liquid into in a 2-liter clean glass jar or jug.

3. Add the SCOBY (and a little of the liquid it sits in) into the jar and cover the mouth with a piece of paper towel and rubber band, or a cotton gauze so it can breathe.

4. Leave in a warm sunny spot in the home.

5. After day 5 of fermentation taste the tea (if it tastes sugary, it needs longer to ferment and if it doesn’t taste of anything but tea, add more sugar and continue fermenting).

6. Keep tasting every day until you find a taste that is the right balance of fruity, sweet and tart for you (typically day 7 to 10). Then remove the SCOBY with a little of the kombucha liquid and store in the refrigerator.

7. Put a lid on the jar, and store the kombucha tea in the fridge also until ready to serve.

 

Peach and Ginger Kombucha

This recipe requires a secondary fermentation, which simply means the ginger and peach is added after the kombucha is made.

Ingredients

6 bags of black tea
2 liters of boiled water
2/3 cup of sugar or ¾ cup of evaporated cane juice or 2/3 cup agave
1 SCOBY and the liquid it sits in
½ cup of freshly grated or thinly sliced ginger
½ cup peach pulp (or diced peeled peaches)

Equipment

Glass Jars
Plastic or Wooden Stirring Spoon
Paper Towels, Weave Cloth or Paper Coffee Filters
Rubber bands or canning jar rings to secure the cover

Directions

1. Steep the teabags in 2 liters of boiled water for 30 minutes.

2. Remove tea bags, add sugar and stir liberally.

3. Add SCOBY and its liquid to the jar and cover with a paper towel and a rubber band.

4. Leave in a warm sunny spot in the home.

5. After five days of fermentation taste the tea.

6. When the tea begins to turn from sweet to slightly tart, remove the SCOBY, add the grated ginger and peach pulp.

7. Put a lid on the jar and leave at room temperature for another two days.

8. Serve or store in a refrigerator.

 

What to watch out for

Making kombucha is very simple, but it’s worth noting that initially, a few things can go wrong. If the tea isn’t fermenting and still tastes sugary after five days, it may need tweaking. Try adding a little more of your sweetener to kickstart fermentation, or place the jar in a warmer spot.

It is a rarity, but if you notice mold on the surface of the SCOBY or tea, then the process needs to be started from scratch. To avoid mold, ensure the jar, and your hands are super clean.

To keep the SCOBY thriving use black tea or green tea for one in four of your kombucha batches.

And finally, experiment! SCOBYs multiply within the fermentation process you’ll soon have more than you need. Try different green and black teas, fruit teas, and mixtures of dried herbs and flowers in the secondary fermentation process. White sugar works best with kombucha, and if the fermentation is left for longer than a week, then the sugar should convert fully. However, there are alternatives such as honey, agave, and cane juice that generally work just as well.

Note: While pitched as a non-alcoholic drink, kombucha does contain trace levels of alcohol – about 0.3% to 1.2% per large glass due to fermentation.

 

 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

 


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