This bubbly beverage, made from the fermentation of tea, has a long (and often mysterious) history, but it’s simple to make on your own: all you need is brewed tea, some sugar, a SCOBY (the culture of bacteria and yeast used to ferment the tea), and some time.
If you’re feeling creative and want a flavour you can’t seem to find anywhere, you’re only limited by your imagination. The particular rules that must be followed are usually specific to brewing large quantities of kombucha to be sold, says Zoey Shamai, founder of Tonica Beverages Ltd. But Shamai experiments at home with different flavour combinations, often using fresh fruits.
Stephen Lee began brewing kombucha after being introduced to the drink in Russia, where he met an elderly lady who had been brewing it since 1939 — using the same culture for fifty years. He went back to Portland with his own SCOBY from hers and began experimenting, eventually leading to his own company Kombucha Wonder Drink. Now he’s co-written a book, “Kombucha Revolution”, that gives instructions not only for starting your own kombucha but also for customizing your brews with infusions, or even using kombucha to make other foods and drinks.
Inspired? Check out these 20 ways to do more with your kombucha, from flavour infusions to who other foods and drinks. Or take your own idea and run with it. As Shamai advised, it never hurts to experiment.
1. Ginger: Zoey Shamai, founder of Tonica Beverages Ltd. says that ginger is a flavour that always works with kombucha. “It takes out some of the acidity and the bite of kombucha, and gives it a nice smooth flavour,” she said. You can infuse kombucha with ginger alone, or add complementary flavours like the lemon in this recipe from The Paleo Mom…