If you’ve heard the buzz around ‘kombucha’ over the past few months – and have no idea what it is – then read on. It’s only become popular in the UK in the last couple of years, but has been around for centuries. Kombucha, affectionately called ‘booch’ is the healthy fermented drink you didn’t know you needed in your life. Here at The Collective, we’re excited to share the secret of making kombucha, at our Self Care Sunday event this weekend, Make your own kombucha culture where we’ll get to mix our own, with the help of Adam Vanni of Jarr Kombucha. Get keen on kombucha!

Kombucha has been around for more than 2000 years, and was originally consumed in China as a detoxifying and energising drink. Through various trade routes and travels, it slowly made its way around the globe. By the 1960s, Swiss scientists declared it to be beneficial for gut health – just like yoghurt.

These days, you’re more likely to see shelves of kombucha in your local health food store than on trade routes. So, why is kombucha so good for you? The fermented drink is made from bacteria and yeast that is mixed with black/green tea and sugar, but the magic ingredient is the SCOBY. The SCOBY, an acronym for “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast,” is one of the weirdest miracles in modern gut health.

The SCOBY is made of live bacteria, and combined with the yeast, creates the delicious and bubbly cocktail called kombucha. If it doesn’t sound like your cup of (fermented) tea, then perhaps you’ll be convinced when you find out a few of its health benefits.

Kombucha is jam-packed with probiotics, thanks to its high levels of live bacteria. Probiotics can help to maintain digestive health and boost the immune system. It is also full of B vitamins, enzymes and organic acids, with some claiming it might also help with bloating.

Not only is kombucha a healthy alternative to sodas that are filled with sugar, it’s also a great choice for those not drinking alcohol. It still has a bite in flavour, gives bubbles many of us crave and provides the perfect alternative to a fizzy cocktail. Kombucha tastes like a bubbly, vinegary drink. It comes in a range of flavours and lots of shops now sell it pre-made.

If you’re wary of buying it and not knowing the ins and outs of the brewing process – did you know that you can actually brew kombucha yourself?! Although you’ll need to be patient and devote a lot of love and care to your SCOBY, your tasty homemade booch will be worth it. Here’s how:

How to grow your own kombucha

So you’ve decided that growing your own kombucha is a challenge you’d like to sign up to? Here at The Collective, we love taking on weird and wonderful tasks, and what better challenge than to grow your own gut-healthy booch?

1. Source a SCOBY

First, you’ll need a SCOBY. It’s the very essence of kombucha, and necessary to concoct a successful brew. If you know anyone that grows their own kombucha, try to ask them if you can have a little sliver of theirs. It’ll save you time and energy, and you can skip straight to the next step! If you don’t have any kombucha-loving friends, then you can also purchase a SCOBY online or in certain health food stores.

Or if you’re feeling up to the challenge, you can even grow your own SCOBY. You’ll need to use either a glass or ceramic container to grown it in, as well as sugar, tea and a bottle of store-bought kombucha.

2. Fermentation time

Once you’ve either grown, bought or secured a SCOBY from a buddy, you’ll begin the first fermentation. 

You’ll need:

  • 3.3L clean water
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 8 bags of green or black tea
  • 2 cups of store-bought unflavoured kombucha
  • your SCOBY
  • a glass jar, a bit of woven cloth/kitchen towel and rubber bands

Bring the water to boil, and add the sugar to dissolve in it.

Add the tea to flavour, and let it sit for a few hours until the water is room temperature.

Pour your sweetened tea into a clean jar, and add the unflavoured kombucha.

Now, the fun part! Very gently add your SCOBY into the water.

Cover the jar with a few layers of tightly woven cloth, and secure with rubber bands.

You’ll need to leave the jar somewhere dark and room temperature for 6-10 days while the SCOBY works its magic. Make sure it’s airtight, as the longer it ferments, the more the sugars are eaten by the bacteria and yeast, giving it the perfect flavour. When it hits day 6, you can begin to taste the mixture. If it taste sweet and vinegary, you’re onto a winner.

3. Add some flair

The final step is our favourite part. This is where you’ll add a little bit of personality to your home-brewed kombucha. Remove the rubber bands and strain out any floating bits from the kombucha. Pour your fermented tea into glass bottles. Add your flavouring or sweetener of choice (anything like honey, sugar, fruit or fruit juice) and then seal it tightly with a lid. This is the final step, where no oxygen should get into the mixture, and no carbon dioxide should escape, to makes the tea fizzy.

4. Share the kombucha love!

After you’ve let your booch brew in its final stage for 2-5 days, you’ll be left with your very own kombucha tea! Bottle it up, dole it out to your mates, or keep it all for yourself and enjoy the beautifully brewed ancient tea you’ve made.

We can’t wait to see your homemade kombucha. Tag us on Instagram @thecollective_living with your bubbly brew and we may just repost you!

Self Care Sundays: Make your own kombucha culture’ happens on Sunday, 7th April at The Collective Old Oak. Members, sign up on the app.