Homemade Darjeeling Kombucha

Homemade Darjeeling Kombucha

Make your own Kombucha using finest Darjeeling tea. Our recipe will guide you through the fermentation stages, the addition of flavours and how to use the scoby.

Prep time: 10 days
Ingredients
  • 4l water
  • 200g sugar 
  • 2 tbsp Dragonfly Darjeeling Black Tea
  • 480ml starter tea from last batch of kombucha or store-bought kombucha (neutral-flavoured)
  • 1 scoby (can be purchased online)
  • 110-220g chopped fruit (strawberries or raspberries)

You will need:

  • Large saucepan/pot
  • 4.5l glass jar or 2 smaller jars
  • Tightly woven cloth-like clean napkins or tea towels to cover the jar
  • Six 500ml glass bottles with plastic lids or swing-top bottles
  • Small funnel

 

Method

Note: Be sure to follow the instructions carefully as Kombucha can grow mould quickly. Be careful not to leave the Kombucha for long periods without letting the air inside escape before pressure builds up (this can cause a small explosion if left). Bear in mind Kombucha does contain a little alcohol. It is usually no more than 1% but people with alcohol sensitivities or who avoid alcohol should be aware of its presence.  

Avoid prolonged contact between the Kombucha and metal both during and after brewing. This can affect the flavour of your Kombucha and weaken the scoby over time.

Bring the water to a boil. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Drop in the Darjeeling Tea and allow it to steep until the water has cooled. Depending on the size of your pot, this will take a few hours. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the pot in an ice bath.

Once the tea is cool strain out the loose tea. Stir in the starter tea. (The starter tea makes the liquid acidic, which prevents unfriendly bacteria from taking up residence in the first few days of fermentation.)

Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon glass jar (or divide between two 2-quart jars, in which case you will need 2 scobys) and gently slide the scoby into the jar with clean hands. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of tightly-woven cloth, coffee filters, or paper towels secured with a rubber band. (If you develop problems with gnats or fruit flies, use a tightly woven cloth or paper towels, which will do a better job keeping the insects out of your brew.)

Keep at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and where it won't get jostled. Ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking the Kombucha and the scoby periodically.

It is not unusual for the scoby to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways during fermentation. A new cream-colored layer of scoby should start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days. It usually attaches to the old scoby, but it is ok if they separate. You may also see brown stringy bits floating beneath the scoby, sediment collecting at the bottom, and bubbles collecting around the scoby. This is all normal and signs of healthy fermentation.

After 7 days, begin tasting the Kombucha daily by pouring a little out of the jar and into a cup. When it reaches a balance of sweetness and tartness that is pleasant to you, the Kombucha is ready to bottle.

Before proceeding, prepare and cool another pot of strong tea for your next batch of Kombucha, as outlined above. With clean hands, gently lift the scoby out of the Kombucha and set it on a clean plate. As you do, check it over and remove the bottom layer if the scoby is getting very thick.

Measure out your starter tea from this batch of Kombucha and set it aside for the next batch.

Pour the fermented Kombucha (straining, if desired) into bottles using the small funnel, along with any juice, herbs, or fruit you may want to use as flavouring. Leave about a half inch of head room in each bottle. Alternatively, infuse the Kombucha with flavourings for a day or two in another covered jar, strain, and then bottle.

Store the bottled Kombucha at room temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the Kombucha to carbonate. Until you get a feel for how quickly your Kombucha carbonates, it is helpful to keep it in plastic bottles; the Kombucha is carbonated when the bottles feel rock solid. Refrigerate to stop fermentation and carbonation, and then consume your Kombucha within a month.

For your next batch start by cleaning the jar being used for Kombucha fermentation. Combine the starter tea from your last batch of Kombucha with the fresh batch of sugary tea and pour it into the fermentation jar. Slide the scoby on top, cover, and ferment for 7 to 10 days.

Dragonfly Homemade Kombucha

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