The organic Japanese kombucha scoby produces a fizzy, slightly salty fermented green tea drink. The tartness can be controlled by the amount of time the tea is left to ferment. It contains a range of bacteria and yeasts. Traditionally made with matcha tea and kombu kelp, we have found it works just as well with any type of green tea and seaweed.
The thought of fermenting seaweed with kombucha can both seem a little daunting and disgusting. I know when we first came across this variety we were unsure if we wanted to drink the stuff! What we have actually found is that the end result is fairly pleasant to drink. A slightly salty version of a rich bodied kombucha with all the benefits of seaweed and green tea.
The history of this Japanese kombucha drink is a little confusing. Kombu Cha is a traditional Japenese drink made with seaweed. Kombu meaning kelp and cha meaning tea in the Japanese language. Kombu Cha is something very different from the Western kombucha drink, with the two often getting confused with each other. Japanese kombucha seems to be a hybrid of the two drinks. Rumours of this kombucha being around since the second world war have been stated on the internet, but it is most likely a result of the confusion between the shared the name of the two drinks. Merging ingredients from the two is probably a fairly recent innovation.
Making kombucha with matcha tea and seaweed comes with some wonderful benefits. Seaweed is a natural source of iodine, and one of the only natural sources containing it. Matcha green tea is hailed as the healthiest type of green tea, high in a catechin called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). Infused with the benefits of kombucha, you end up with a supercharged fermented tea drink like no other!
You can make this type of kombucha with any type of green tea. However, if you really want to maximise those benefits, matcha is the way to go about things. Remember that not all matcha is created equal. For the very best matcha tea, we recommend a ceremonial grade. These can often come with a high price tag but are worth every penny. Sadly these days the internet is full of bad quality and fake matcha tea sold as ceremonial grade. It is important to choose a good source of matcha.
A few places we can recommend here are:
Starter tea is the most important part of the process of making kombucha. You always need a minimum of 10% starter tea for the total volume of kombucha being made. We offer a range of brewing sizes which all come with the required amount of starter tea to successfully and safely make kombucha at home. We also offer misfit organic kombucha scoby. These are scoby that have not quite formed perfectly. The shape of the scoby has no impact on the kombucha brewed with it. We offer these scoby at a discounted price rather than let them go to waste.
– Misfit Japanese kombucha scoby + 100ml starter tea (makes 1 litre)
– Japanese kombucha scoby + 100ml starter tea (makes 1 litre)
– Japanese kombucha scoby + 200ml starter tea (makes 2 litres)
– Japanese kombucha scoby + 300ml starter tea (makes 3 litres)
– Japanese kombucha scoby + 500ml starter tea (makes 5 litres)
Recommended activation date for culture:
1 year from the date of shipping. Always store at room temperature above 15c.
Please note that we do not send printed copies of instructions with your purchase. If you would like to have a printed version, you can open a printable PDF by clicking here.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Your order will contain a single organic Japanese kombucha scoby and some starter tea. Once you receive your organic Japanese kombucha scoby from us, it’s best to get it fermenting as soon as possible. However, it will keep in the original packaging at room temperature until the activation date on the back of the packet.
You probably notice some brown patches on your Japanese kombucha scoby and some brown, string-like objects floating around in your starter tea. Don’t worry; these are simply yeasts and a normal part of the kombucha process. People often mistake these for mould, which they are not. So don’t panic when you see them. If you want further reassurance on the yeasts found when making kombucha, please do get in touch with us.
Kombucha and metal
You will often hear that you should not use metal utensils while making kombucha. Although this holds some truth, it has been greatly exaggerated! Kombucha gets very acidic, if left in contact with metals for long periods of time, in theory it could degrade and rust the metal. That metal would then end up in the kombucha and eventually in you. However, using a stainless steel strainer/sieve or spoon while making kombucha will not cause any problems. The contact time between the metal utensils and kombucha will always be very short. Never leave anything metal in contact with kombucha for long periods of time.
You need something to brew your kombucha in. We recommend using something glass. Glass is much easier to clean and keep sterile. Plastic tends to degrade over time and is prone to scratches which can harbour unwanted bacteria. Plastic also carries a risk of chemical contamination from the materials contained inside of it such as BPA. A glass Kilner style jam jar is perfect to use.
You also need a plastic strainer and a plastic stirring spoon.
We also recommend you buy a water filter to remove the chlorine from your tap water. You can use bottled water, but this tends to get expensive.
You also need something to cover your jar with. We recommend paper kitchen towels as they are easy to discard and replace. You can also use a muslin cloth or similar if you wish. Rubber bands also come in handy to secure the cover to the jar.
You can also remove the rubber seal from the lid of any swing top jar (such as the Kilner jars supplied in our kits). With the seal removed you can close the lid while still allowing airflow during fermentation.
You need a metal saucepan to heat the water in.
You also need some bottles to store your Kombucha in. Again we recommend using glass bottles. We find screw lid style bottles suitable for fermentation work best with kombucha. If you are worried about explosions and glass, you can use plastic bottles. Plastic tends to degrade quickly. It also carries a risk breaking down into the mixture due to the acidness of kombucha. Make sure you use BPA free plastic.
It is useful to get a plastic funnel to help pour the liquid into the bottles.
Glass/plastic measuring Jug
It is also useful to have something to decant your strained mixture into. Glass or plastic measuring jugs are perfect.
You only need 4 ingredients to make Japanese kombucha. Match green tea (or normal), kombu seaweed (or any other seaweed) water and sugar. You can use either loose tea or tea bags. We prefer to use organic loose tea and organic golden granulated cane sugar here at Freshly Fermented. However, refined white sugar will work just as well. We do not recommend dark. unrefined sugar with kombucha, as the culture, will struggle to break it down.
For 1 litre Japanese kombucha scoby: Add 900ml of non-chlorinated water to your saucepan and add 60g of sugar.
For 2 litre Japanese kombucha scoby: Add 1800ml of non-chlorinated water to your saucepan and add 120g of sugar.
For 3 litre Japanese kombucha scoby: Add 2700ml of non-chlorinated water to your saucepan and add 180g of sugar.
For 5 litre Japanese kombucha scoby: Add 4500ml of non-chlorinated water to your saucepan and add 300g of sugar.
Add the water to your saucepan and then add the sugar. Stir the mixture and then begin to heat the water. You do not need to bring the water to boiling point. Doing so can ruin the flavour of your kombucha. Ideally, you want the mixture to be between 65 to 80 Celsius. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature. However, just bringing the water to the stage just before it boils is adequate. If it does boil, simply allow it to cool back down for 10 minutes. Ensure you stir the mixture regularly as the water heats up so the sugar dissolves.
For 1 litre Japanese kombucha scoby: Add 2g matcha or 10g of green tea (2 teabags) / 2g seaweed to the water.
For 2 litre Japanese kombucha scoby: Add 4g matcha or 20g of green tea (2 teabags) / 4g seaweed to the water.
For 3 litre Japanese kombucha scoby: Add 6g matcha or 30g of green tea (2 teabags) / 6g seaweed to the water.
For 5 litre Japanese kombucha scoby:Add 10g matcha or 50g of green tea (2 teabags) / 10g seaweed to the water.
Allow the tea and seaweed to steep for around 15 minutes. If you are using green tea and not matcha, remove the tea after 15 minutes. If you are using matcha tea, you will not be able to remove the leaves, this is not an issue. Matcha should be drunk with the leaves in for the maximum benefits. If you struggle with this, you can strain the leaves out with a tea strainer.
Next, allow your mixture cool back down to room temperature (21 Celsius). This is very important, never place your kombucha scoby into the warm/hot water, this can damage it.
Pour your cooled mixture into your fermentation jar. Add the starter tea we sent you with your order. It is important to add starter tea to each batch of kombucha you brew. This helps reduce the risk of contamination from pathogens, and other unwanted bacteria by ensuring established kombucha bacteria is the first to arrive into the mixture.
Add your kombucha scoby, cover the jar and leave it at room temperature (21 Celsius) for 7-12 days. At around 7 days the kombucha will still be fairly sweet, at 12 it will have become more tart. This is a taste preference that you will acquire in your time making kombucha. Personally, we prefer our kombucha around the 7-day mark.
The temperature will play a large part in the brewing process. During the warm summer months, a much shorter time is required to make kombucha. During the winter it will take much longer.
Never leave any fermenting product in direct sunlight. This can lead to unwanted bacteria and pathogens forming.
Remove the kombucha scoby from the jar, remembering to take 10% of the kombucha to use as the starter tea for your next batch. It is always best to take the starter tea from the top of the kombucha mixture, as this contains the most bacteria.
Using your plastic funnel, pour the remaining kombucha liquid into your glass bottles and then seal them by closing the lids. You can at this stage choose to add additional flavourings to your kombucha. This is optional, but many find experimenting with different types of fruit great addition to making kombucha tea. We like to use fresh ginger ourselves. Experiment with different flavours, Google has many recipes online.
Leaving the bottled kombucha at room temperature (21 Celsius) for another 3-5 days will allow the kombucha to carbonate. This is optional, and you can drink your kombucha right away.
Place your bottles in the fridge and allow them to cool. Be very careful when opening the bottles. Kombucha can produce an extremely fizzy beverage that is prone to exploding out the bottle.
During the colder winter months, it can take longer to carbonate. Anything from 7-14 days.
Kombucha is a living product and continues to ferment even with the scoby removed. Often a new scoby will begin to form at the top of your bottle. You may also find strands of brown yeast floating around. These will do you no harm, but many prefer to strain the Kombucha from the bottle into a glass before drinking.
You can store Kombucha in the fridge for around 7 days, at this point you find it starts to turn into vinegar. You can use that vinegar as a starter tea however if this does happen.
A baby Scoby will form on each batch of Kombucha made. This does not always happen, but its usually to be expected. That baby Scoby can be used to make another separate batch of Kombucha. Follow all the instructions above using this new baby Scoby in place of the Kombucha Scoby we sent you. Just remember to add starter tea from the previous batch, This is VERY important!
The Tibetan Heirloom Kombucha Scoby will multiply at an amazing rate. Eventually, you will have more than you need. You can make a scoby hotel. Simple make a batch of tea as normal and place your excess Scoby into the tea. You might need a larger jar to hold them all. Seal the jar to restrict the air flow; this will slow down the fermentation process. You can leave your Scoby in this hotel for several months.
If you’re planning on going on holiday, you’re probably concerned about leaving your Tibetan Heirloom Kombucha Scoby unattended. Don’t worry though. Place them into a fresh batch of tea, water and sugar. Then cover them as normal. You can leave a Kombucha Scoby unattended for up to 4 weeks. The Kombucha will have turned to vinegar, so we don’t advise drinking it. It can however still be used as a starter tea, so don’t throw it away!
Tibetan Heirloom Kombucha Scoby is very hardy. It’s unlikely they would have died during the shipping process. If you are experiencing problems, please do get in touch with us. Don’t worry, were always more than happy to resend another if required.