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SugarBee® Apple Cider Kombucha

Kombucha is bubbly, delicious, full of health benefits and it’s easy to make at home for a fraction of the cost that you can purchase it in stores. SugarBee® apple cider not only adds flavor, but the essential sugars to make your homemade kombucha naturally carbonated just like the ones that you are used to.

There is evidence that kombucha can kill bacteria, may reduce the risk of heart disease, may help manage type 2 diabetes, may help protect against cancer, and is rich in probiotics and antioxidants. When made properly, the benefits are great!

Like all fermentation projects, it is essential to have a clean workspace, the proper tools follow all directions and tips to avoid contamination and/or poor results.

Tools & equipment needed:

  • 1 gallon glass jar (cleaned, sanitized)
  • Cheesecloth
  • Swing top glass bottles (6-16oz) cleaned & sanitized
  • Digital thermometer
  • Bottle Funnel
  • Fine mesh strainer or tea balls if using loose leaf tea

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 gallon of chlorine-free water
  • 6 tea bags or 2 tbsp. of loose leaf (black, green, oolong or white organic)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 full sized SCOBY (4-5 oz can be purchased online if you cannot get one from a friend who brews)
  • 1-2 cups mature kombucha starter liquid (comes with SCOBY)
  • 64 fl oz of SugarBee® apple cider

When choosing your ingredients, keep in mind that the higher the quality of ingredients the better quality your finished product will be.

Directions for 1st stage fermentation:

  1. Heat 1 quart of water to barely a boil, remove from heat and add the tea bags or loose leaf. Let steep for 5-15 minutes, then remove the tea bags, or strain out the loose leaf with a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Add the sugar to the hot tea and stir until dissolved.
  3. Pour the remaining 3 quarts of water into your 1-gallon glass vessel. Add in your sweetened tea and set aside to cool.
    When the temperature of the liquid cools to less than 90°F, you can add in the SCOBY and the extra starter liquid. Make sure to have clean hands. I like to pour white vinegar on my hands prior to handling my SCOBY. I generally place the SCOBY in first, then pour the starter liquid on top. This gives the SCOBY a layer of protection against possible pathogens.
    Cover the 1-gallon vessel with cheesecloth and secure with a large rubber band or kitchen twine. Set your jar in a warm location (75-80°F is ideal). If your home stays on the cooler side like mine, purchase a cheap seedling mat and place your jar directly on top of that.
  4. Allow the sweet tea to ferment for 7 to 21 days. I personally like to ferment my kombucha for 12 days. I find this to be the right balance for my pallet. You can start tasting your brew after 5 days with a straw if you would like and choose whether to keep it going or end the 1st stage.Once the brew reaches the flavor that you would like, it is ready for stage 2!
  5. Collect at least 1 cup of the sweet tea and set aside in a bowl with the SCOBY and place a cloth over it.

The rest of the kombucha is either ready for drinking, or more commonly, ready for bottling, flavoring, and carbonation.
Also, to start your next batch, use one or both SCOBYs, either the original and/or the new one from the previous batch, with the saved starter liquid and start the process back at step 1. Enjoy the first batch while your second batch is in the works!

Directions for 2nd stage brewing:

  1. Gather your sanitized swing top bottles.
    Add 2oz of SugarBee® apple cider to each bottle.
  2. Carefully pour the fermented kombucha into the bottles and cap them. Fill bottles nearly to the top to preserve as much fizz as possible.
  3. Leave the bottles at room temperature undisturbed for one to four days, or longer, to build carbonation. Move them to the fridge when they reach the flavor and carbonation level that you desire.
  4. Enjoy!

Created by Valerie Musser of @valeriesofcoursecatering

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