Cherry Berry Kombucha

 I thought I would let Eric do a guest post today, since he recently made some delicious kombucha that I thought was share worthy.  So I will now turn it over to him! 

 

Hi my name is Eric and I am the number one taste tester for Fragrant Vanilla Cake, and also Amy's boyfriend. I happen to be passionate about good food, healthy living, and enjoying the small things in life. Like good kombucha. Back when I first met Amy, she introduced me to GTs Kombucha. I was a little reluctant at first to drink it, but soon I started buying it every day. Unfortunately it was very spendy and added up. But I did not want to give up the habit, so a few months ago I asked a friend to help me start making this wonderful drink. Honestly my first attempt was not successful. I Tried to make the Strawberry Serenity flavor, but brewed the tea too long resulting in it tasting bitter. Luckily though, I did not give up. I started experimenting more and have made successful batches and different flavors since then.

The most recent one I made with was Cherry Berry! I chose cherries because they are tart and one of my favorite fruits. I added blueberries because I figured the sweetness would balance the tart cherries. It reminds me of Jones Cherry soda witch was my favorite soda growing up before I stopped eating refined sugars. I added lemon and ginger as well, because I wanted  the flavor to pop! When it was all brewed and ready to drink, I was super excited! When I opened the lid, the smell was so delightful I had to just dive in. It didn't take long to finish what I had brewed because it was so yummy! Don't worry, I shared some with Amy.

 
Cherry Berry Kombucha
Makes about 4 quarts

4 quarts filtered water
5 Tbsp loose white and green teas placed in a piece of cheesecloth and tied (like a sachet).
1 cup raw sugar
1 large glass jar (large enough to hold the 4 quarts liquid)
1 cup starter tea (half a 16 oz plain kombucha from the store will work )
1 Scoby*
Cheesecloth
4 32 oz glass jars
1 1/2 cups organic cherries, pitted
1 1/2 cups organic blueberries
¼ cup lemon juice
1 inch piece fresh ginger
 
To make the kombucha, wash your hands very well with apple cider vinegar or soap (but not antibacterial because this can contaminate the Kombucha and make it not work).  Wash out the glass jar you will be using to make the kombucha with the cider vinegar as well to sanitize it. 
Next, fill a 3 liter pot with 4 quarts of filtered water, and bring to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes to sanitize it. 
Add the tea sachet, and let steep for about 3 minutes (or as long as you would normally brew tea).  Turn off heat and add 1 cup raw sugar. Stir to dissolve, then let sit until the water cools to 75 degrees F.  You do not want to add the culture when it is hot, or it will kill it. 
When the tea is cool, pour it into the glass jar and add the starter tea, Sanitize hands with the cider vinegar and gently put the scoby into the tea, cover the top of the jar with the cloth, and secure it tightly with rubber band.
Put the jar somewhere warm and dark where it won't be disturbed (I put mine in a closet on the top shelf). Temperature should be consistently at least 70 degrees if possible. Lower temperatures will make it grow slowly, but below 70ºF makes it more likely that unwanted organisms will start growing too.
Wait about a week. When the tea starts to get smelly like vinegar, you can start tasting it.  The scoby should form another scoby in the jar, and it may sink and it may float. If it floats though, it helps prevent mold. Note that if you see mold you have to throw the batch away and start over with a new scoby. 
When ready to test, remove a small amount.  The best way to pull a sample is with a straw. Dip the straw about halfway into the tea, cover the end with your finger, pull the straw out and drink the liquid inside or put that liquid on the test strip.  If the kombucha tastes really sweet, it is not done, and it needs more time to eat the sugar.  If it tastes slightly vinegary, it is done and ready to be put in jars.
Gently remove original scoby and new baby scoby with clean hands (sanitized with the vinegar is fine) and set them in a clean container. They may be stuck together. Pour a little of the kombucha on them and cover them to save them for another batch (they should be kept at room temperature. 
Pour the brewed kombucha into clean jars (but reserve 1 cup of the kombucha to make another batch next time).  Fill them almost to the top but leave a little space for them to get fizzy and to add the flavor.  Puree thec herries, blueberries, lemon juice and ginger together in a food processor.  Add ¼ of the fruit mixture to each jar.  Put the lids on tight and let sit 3-5 days at room temperature to ferment and become carbonated.  Once they are fizzy, you can strain them into other clean jars (or not depending on your taste).  Store in the fridge. 
*a scoby is a culture that is used to make kombucha, you can read more about them here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha
I got mine from a friend, and most people get them from people they know (since once you start brewing kombucha you have a lot) but you can order them online as well.
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About the Author

I am a vegan girl who loves to make healthier desserts and dishes with lots of veggies. Recipes are meant to be shared, that is why I started blogging!

6 Comments
  1. June 29, 2013 at 21:13
    Reply

    This sounds so good, guys! I have been thinking about making my own kombucha for a while now so I appreciate all the info in your post!

    • June 30, 2013 at 11:56
      Reply

      Thank you :)! I am happy to give info!

  2. Anonymous
    June 29, 2013 at 23:10
    Reply

    i use recycled jars from Dave's Millenium Kombucha, they have pressure release caps built just for kombucha..handles the fizz well and for sure there be no explosions, the shards can be dangerous.. so make sure to refrigerate or put in coolers with lid on top, just in case! Especially with children in the household.. I try to stay away from metal lids.. since kombucha is acidic.. Great Post! I love kombucha, brewing them little beasties over 30 years now! In this cherry season i just popped the cherries in seeds and all, they work real well for the fizz and they become so yummy! :D<br />

    • June 30, 2013 at 11:57
      Reply

      Haven't had any explosions yet, but to be safe I keep it downstairs. We use the canning jars so the kombucha has room to expand. 30 years is a long time, that is awesome that you have been at it that long :)!

  3. Anonymous
    July 11, 2013 at 18:41
    Reply

    I'm scared of the scoby. :/

    • July 12, 2013 at 04:02
      Reply

      Nothing to be afraid of :)!

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