A fresh, fermented tea drink from demo chef and caterer Alix Caiger
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that can easily be made at home with nothing but water, tea and sugar, with the help of a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY)—a rubbery disc of kombucha ‘mother’ that aids fermentation. You can buy SCOBY or glean it from an existing batch of kombucha.
For the kombucha:
1 tbsp loose black tea leaves
40g coconut sugar
SCOBY (enough for 500ml)
For the cordial:
300g light brown sugar
6 lemongrass, washed and chopped
6cm ginger, chopped and peeled
To make the kombucha, bring 500ml water to the boil and add the tea and sugar. Leave for 6-10 mins and then strain and remove the tea. When cool, place in a container like a large kilner jar or food safe plastic box and add the SCOBY to the top. Cover with a cloth or paper towel and leave covered for 6 days or so to allow the fermentation to begin. You want a nice warm room temperature—around 180C-210C—but don’t leave it in direct sunlight, either!
To test if it is ready, taste it—it should be slightly sour. If it is ready, pour into a bottle and put a lid on it. This is the second stage of fermentation, where the drink will become naturally carbonated. You could also add secondary flavours at this stage if you want, like fruits, spices and juices. Check the bottle regularly during this stage, as the carbonation can build if it’s left to its own devices. It’s ready when it is lightly sparkling and sour to taste.
To make the cordial, boil all of the ingredients together with 500ml water until reduced by half in volume and sticky to the touch. When ready to drink, pour some of the cordial into the base of a flute and top with the sparkling kombucha!
Recipe: Alix Caiger