Can tea ferment? (+3 steps to make kombucha)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can tea ferment?”, and how to make kombucha tea at home?

Can tea ferment?

Yes, tea can ferment. The fermentation can take naturally or is induced artificially. Read on if you want to know how to ferment kombucha tea at home.

What is fermented tea?

Fermented tea or dark tea is made by fermenting tea with certain yeast in controlled environments. The organoleptic properties of tea are changed as a result of fermentation and are reflected in the milder taste, a complex aftertaste along with the production of some metabolites that have many health benefits.

The most common types of fermented tea are Kombucha tea, Pu’erh, and Anhua Black Tea. there are various varieties of fermented teas based on the method deployed for carrying out the fermentation process. Piled and pickling methods are common.

How to make kombucha tea at home?

Make SCOBY

The choice is yours, you can either use a store-bought SCOBY or you can make your own at home. The whole process will take about 1-4 weeks. SCOBY is an abbreviation of Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. 

It is the essence of the KOmbucha and is sometimes referred to as mother or mushroom. To make your own SCOBY, follow the guide below.

Ingredients

  • 7 cups or 1.6 L clean water
  • ½ cup white sugar (100 g)
  • 4 bags black tea (or 1 Tbsp loose tea)
  • 1 cup (235 mL) unpasteurized, unflavored store-bought kombucha
  • Glass or ceramic container (two jars holding at least ½ gallon (1.9 L) each, or one jug holding at least 1 gallon (3.7 L)). 
  • Tightly woven cloth (coffee filters, paper towels, napkins, cheesecloth)
  • Rubberbands

Instructions 

  1. Heat water in a pot. Remove it from heat and dissolve sugar in it. Do not substitute sugar for honey as it increases the chance of Botulism.
  2. Add kombucha tea and let it steep until the water comes to room temperature. Do not substitute kombucha tea for decaf or green tea as yeast won’t grow on them.
  3. Transfer the sweetened kombucha water to a jar and cover it with tightly woven cloth. Secure the cloth with rubber bands.
  4. Keep the jar in a dark, somewhere between 21-24°C for 1-4 weeks or until ¼ inch SCOBY has formed.

The first fermentation

Ingredients

  • 14 cups (3.5 quarts, 3.3 L) clean water
  • 1 cup white sugar (200 g)
  • 8 bags black or green tea (or 2 Tbsp loose-leaf)
  • 2 cups (470 mL) unflavored kombucha (either from a previous batch or unpasteurized, unflavored store-bought kombucha
  • 1 or 2 SCOBYs (Use 1 per container)
  • Glass or ceramic container (two jars holding at least ½ gallon (1.9 L) each, or one jug holding at least 1 gallon (3.7 L)). 
  • Tightly woven cloth (coffee filters, paper towels, napkins, cheesecloth)
  • Rubberbands

Instructions 

  1. Boil water in a pot and dissolve sugar in it after removing it from heat. Add kombucha tea and let it steep until the water comes to room temperature.
  2. Transfer the SCOBY to a sterilized plate. make sure your hands are very clean.
  3. Pour the sweetened and brewed tea into a sterilized jar followed by unflavored starter kombucha and finally SCOBY.
  4. Cover the jar with tightly woven cloth and secure it with rubber bands. Keep the jar in a dark place somewhere between 21-24°C for 6-10 days.
  5. Test your kombucha on the 6th day using a straw. It should taste somewhat sweet and slightly vinegary. Warm temperatures will ferment the kombucha faster. The longer the fermentation time, the lesser the sweetness.
  6. Keep 2 cups from this batch to use in the next step as a starter.

The second fermentation

Ingredients 

  • Reserved kombucha from the first fermentation
  • Sweetener (fruit, honey, or sugar). Some flavor ideas(per-serving) for kombucha are given below::  
    • 1-2 Tbsp mashed fruit or fruit juice
    • A slice of orange
    • 1-2 tsp honey
    • A piece of peppermint candy
    • A piece of candied ginger
  • A few flip-top fermentation bottles (these bottles have an airtight seal to prevent the gas from releasing. Alternatively, you can use canning jars, though they are not completely airtight.)

Instructions

  1. Strain kombucha and fill it into bottles using a funnel. Leave 1-½ inches at the top.
  2. Add a sweetener of your personal choice and seal the bottle tightly.
  3. Place the bottle/s in a dark place. Let it ferment for 2-10 days at room temperature.

Other FAQs about Tea which you may be interested in.

Can green tea cause diarrhea?

How to safely store SCOBY?

Keep some SCOBY with the kombucha starter in the fridge. Store in an air-tight container. The SCOBY will become dormant at the refrigeration temperature and will be activated when added to the fresh batch of kombucha

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Can tea ferment?”, and how to make kombucha tea at home?

References

https://www.liveeatlearn.com/the-simple-guide-to-kickass-kombucha/

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.