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How Long to Steep Black Tea for Kombucha (And Why Black Tea Is Used)

How Long to Steep Black Tea for Kombucha (And Why Black Tea Is Used)

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Lots of people think that kombucha is one of the best and most enjoyable drinks that you can have. If you have been served kombucha in the past, then you might wish to make your own.

The first part of the process is going to involve steeping tea so that you can make the kombucha. You’re going to need to use real tea to make kombucha, and this might make you gravitate toward black tea.

How long does it take to steep black tea for kombucha? Read on to get all of the important details so that you can do things right.

You’ll be able to learn a bit more about making kombucha, and you’ll understand just why black tea is commonly used for it. Kombucha is very tasty, and you’ll be able to enjoy it regularly once you understand the process.

Why Is Black Tea Used?

Black tea is used because you need to use real tea to make kombucha. You need to use real tea so that you get both minerals and nitrogen for the drink.

You can use different types of tea to make kombucha if you want, but it can have an impact on the taste. If you want to have the best symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, then using black tea is highly recommended.

Those who are just getting used to making kombucha will have an easier time using black tea. It checks all of the right boxes, and you should be able to make a very fulfilling kombucha when all is said and done.

That being said, making kombucha is a somewhat involved process that you’re going to need to figure out. Steeping your black tea is only one part of the process, and you’re going to need to get everything right to enjoy good results.

How Long it Takes to Steep the Black Tea

The amount of time that it takes to steep black tea for kombucha should only be around five minutes. To do this properly, you should use one tea bag or loose tea leaf for every one cup of boiled water.

You’ll be leaving the tea to steep for somewhere between three and five minutes. You might steep the tea for more or less time depending on how strong you want the tea to turn out.

This part of the process is referred to as making the tea base for the kombucha. Really, this is just making sweetened tea, and it doesn’t take much effort.

The more difficult part of making kombucha is going to come after this. That doesn’t mean that you can’t make mistakes while steeping the tea, though.

For instance, if you steep the black tea for too long, then you might wind up with too many bitter elements in the tea. You don’t want a bitter tea base because it’s going to throw the kombucha off.

You’ll run more of a risk of steeping the tea too much if you’re using tea bags. It’s true that adding more can help to increase flavor compounds, but you run the risk of making things bitter when you take things too far.

Using loose tea leaves will be decidedly easier because you won’t risk over-extraction. Expert kombucha enthusiasts suggest steeping many leaves for up to 45 seconds in just enough hot water to keep the leaves covered.

You can add sugar to the water either before you steep the tea or after. Most kombucha recipes say to use one cup of sugar for every four cups of boiled water.

Doing the First Fermentation

Doing the first fermentation is the next step. After you’ve finished steeping your tea and the sugar has dissolved, you’re supposed to take the tea bags out or strain the tea leaves away.

You then put in your symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). It’s important to add the SCOBY when the tea base is at the right temperature and when it has the proper pH levels, though.

Your tea base needs to cool down below 90 degrees Fahrenheit before you put the SCOBY in. The right pH range is between 5.0 and 6.3.

Sometimes the black tea might be a little off, and you can use a starter liquid to get it in the right range. If necessary, add the starter liquid to the tea base so that you’ll be prepared for the SCOBY.

Once the SCOBY has been added, you need to leave things to ferment for at least seven days at room temperature. Sometimes you’ll need to let things ferment for up to 10 days to get the right results.

It’s recommended to cover the jar that you’re using to store this mixture with a paper towel and a rubber band. It’ll keep fruit flies from bothering it while still allowing oxygen to get in.

Removing the SCOBY

The end of the first fermentation cycle involves removing the SCOBY from your kombucha. You can then decide whether to reuse the SCOBY or store it for later.

If you’re going to store the SCOBY, then you should know that it needs to be kept in the refrigerator for longer storage. It can stay good for up to three weeks at room temperature as well.

When you want to brew another batch, it’s going to be time to make another tea base. You’ll just be following the information above again and adding the SCOBY that you just removed from the first batch when it’s time.

Second Fermentation

The second fermentation starts with you pouring the kombucha into bottles and capping them. You removed the SCOBY, but there are microorganisms left that will lead to a second fermentation.

Some people like flavored kombucha and they will choose to add flavoring ingredients. You can decide whether or not to do that now, but it isn’t necessary to finish the kombucha.

Since the bottles are capped, this fermentation process will cause the kombucha to become carbonated. The carbonation should occur sometime between one and three days after capping the bottles.

This process should take away a little bit of the sweetness, and it’ll generally make the drink a bit tangier. It’s meant to be this way, and having a bit less sweetness makes the kombucha better overall.

Once this is done, you can store the kombucha bottles in the refrigerator. The bottles being in the fridge will stop the fermentation process, and your kombucha will be done.

This is a long process, and sometimes it can take as long as two weeks to make kombucha. It’s a very satisfying drink, though, and getting it right will make you happy.

Enjoy Your Kombucha

Now you know how to make kombucha, and you understand how long it takes to steep black tea for kombucha. This is somewhat complicated due to how many steps there are, but once you get used to it you’ll have no problem getting things done.

It’s basically just important to pay attention to what you’re doing. The part where most people make mistakes is when you initially add the SCOBY.

If you can get the temperature and pH levels right before adding the SCOBY, then the rest of the process should be simple enough. Take the time to enjoy some delicious kombucha to celebrate making your first batch of this well-loved drink.

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