Want to make your own kombucha but intimidated to try? Check out the simple recipe from Inspired Brews below!
Is it possible to become addicted to kombucha? Because I think I’ve passed the point of no return, probably drinking some every day. Is that bad? Jessa, co-owner and master kombucha brewer at Inspired Brews, told me no, so I think I’m in the clear. As I sit here, sipping some of their ever-popular Banana Cardamon brew, I can’t help but want to try and make some of my own and experiment with different flavors.
My friends have done it in the past but, when I ask them about the process, my attention lasts about 10 seconds. They lose me when they start talking about “the mother,” the SCOBY (or, Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast, whose metabolic processes result in the drink we know and love as kombucha). For beginners like myself, I need easy. You mix X amount of this with X amount of this and voila: kombucha.
I stopped by Inspired Brews headquarters in Old City, Philadelphia, where Jessa just opened a storefront where they do all brewing and bottling in-house. Read below as Jessa tells us all about kombucha, and shares one of the easiest ways to make it. Let’s call it, Kombucha Making for Dummies:
Hi Jessa! How did you land yourself in the world of making kombucha?
After falling in love with drinking the brew, I consider it a divine intervention that I met Jennifer Snow (my now business partner) who sent me home with one of her SCOBY mothers to brew on my own. Our friendship grew as we experimented and shared new flavor combinations with each other.
How does Inspired Brews differ from other kombucha brands?
We use organic and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, and love to come up with exciting flavor combinations that are inspired by each season’s produce — like a CSA, you get what’s growing now. Also, while we love the health benefits of kombucha, we believe the best thing about it is the taste! We are intentional about flavors and packaging — the whole experience — so that our drink can be a real treat, a healthy indulgence.
What are some of kombucha’s key benefits?
We ferment with a living culture, so it’s chock full of good bacteria that’s beneficial to the gut. Vitamins, minerals and a number of beneficial acids are also easily absorbed into the body, and many devotees find that they enjoy the lift and improved energy from regular consumption. Of course, for anyone wanting to cut their sugar intake, kombucha is a great alternative to soda and other sugary drinks.
What would you say is the most valuable/important part of the kombucha-making process?
Patience! Kombucha is amazing because, in a world where you have to work hard for everything, there is a simplicity and faithfulness in letting it brew on its own. Our role is just to set it up for success and give it the things it needs to grow (tea and sugar), and the culture does the real work.
What are 3 important tips for a newbie kombucha maker?
Don’t brew in metal or a ceramic vessel. Do sanitize your brewing equipment. Wait until your brewed tea has cooled to add it to your SCOBY. Always limit your initial fermentation (with the SCOBY) to tea, sugar and water; the flavoring fun needs to wait until the second fermentation to keep the SCOBY happy.
What’s next for Inspired Brews?
We’re excited to share our space with Philadelphia and offer our kombucha on draft. We also enjoy other ferments and are anxious to provide our customers with some new offerings that will benefit gut health!
Recipe for first timers (makes two, 1-liter swing-top bottles):
1 gallon vessel
Two 1-liter vessels
A light linen
1 cup sugar
1 gallon of green or black tea
1/2 cup of plain kombucha starter (kombucha starter is kombucha you bought, or kombucha a friend made! For first-timers, we recommend buying a SCOBY and starter kit for your first batch. Available online or in stores that sell home brew kits!)
A SCOBY that is 3 inches in diameter and 2 mm thick
BREW 1 gallon of green or black tea. Let cool.
ADD SCOBY, starter kombucha, brewed tea, and 1 cup of sugar to a 1-gallon glass brewing vessel.
COVER the brewing vessel with a linen cloth, secure with a rubber band, and ferment at room temperature for 7 days.
PREPARE flavoring now if you want to flavor** (see below for recipe variations!) Pour flavoring into 2 separate 1-liter glass vessels.
POUR brewed kombucha evenly to fill up the swing-top bottles.
FINISH by securing the swing-top bottles and leaving out for one more day at room temperature.
** Try adding in the below for 3 different flavor variations:
1) 1/2 cup orange juice + 1 stem’s worth of chopped rosemary + 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2) 1/4 cup pureéd local pear + 1 sliced date
3) 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds + 1/2 inch of fresh ginger diced
+Have you ever made kombucha before? We’d love to read your tips and learnings in the comments below!