Last week my husband and I set up our new kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) to ferment some tea. Next, we had to allow the kombucha to ferment five to nine days. After five days we did a taste test and decided that we wanted the tea to be stronger. Shorter fermentation periods produce a sweeter and less carbonated Kombucha. Whereas longer periods produce a stronger more carbonated drink. Kombucha is made in a similar fashion to how vinegar is made and has a vinegar smell when fermenting.
My husband and I decided to wait the recommended nine days because we like a stronger kombucha with more fizz. Every day we had a small reminder of our fermenting tea: our kitchen and dining room started to smell like vinegar. Even beyond waiting the nine days is okay as long as there are no molds growing on the mother. The tea can be fermented up to 30 days! I was told that a kombucha batch is not likely to go bad as long as you are careful to keep your equipment and hands free of contaminants. If you are concerned that your SCOBY has been contaminated look up pictures of spoiled kombucha on the internet for comparison. Yeah, you looked it up? Pretty gross. The mold should look like black dots or patches on your SCOBY or in the tea. Throw out any contaminated SCOBY mothers or tea and start over with a completely new one.
Kombucha Tea: Part 2
Clean glass jar
1 Kombucha SCOBY with fermented tea
2 liquid pitchers
Dark bottles with seals
First wash your hands and be certain to rinse all of the soap off before touching the kombucha SCOBY. Soap can damage and kill the SCOBY. Lift out the SCOBY and place it in a new, clean jar. The SCOBY looks delicate but it is actually very flexible and feels rubbery.
Next you need to filter the kombucha. I like to pour the fermented tea into a pitcher with a spout so it is easier to pour into the filter. Set up a coffee filter inside of a colander above a second pitcher. Pour the kombucha through the filter. This may take some time if there is a lot of sediment.
Then, pour your kombucha into dark colored sealable containers. Our beer bottles worked great for this. At this point you can infuse the kombucha with fruit if you like. However, I have not tried this step myself yet. Basically, you can add fruit juice or crushed fruit to the bottles and allow them to sit in the refrigerator for a few days before drinking. Be sure to store your kombucha in the refrigerator or the tea will continue to ferment.
Last, you need to set up for the next batch. The SCOBY will dry out without the tea to sit in. Follow the same instructions provided in Kombucha Mother: Part 1 and add it to the SCOBY. Then the process starts all over again. Once a week we have a new batch of fresh kombucha tea!