Referred to as the ‘tea of immortality’, kombucha is a fermented tea drink known among the health community for its purported benefits.
It was while on a trip to Maui that eye surgeon Matt Ball and his artist wife Lara, tasted kombucha tea for the first time. Inspired by the vibrant energy of the Hawaiian Island and the way it made them feel, the pair set out to learn the art and science of making the ultimate brew.
Their creation Wild Kombucha is leading the pack and you can find it on-tap at Lola Berry’s new juice bar- Happy Place in Melbourne, and it paired with dishes at Peter Gilmore’s famous Quay and Bennelong restaurants in Sydney.
We caught up with Lara Ball of Ballsy Brewing to learn her top tips for home brewing and instructions so you can DIY.
What you should look for in a Kombucha?
There are a few things that you should look for when making kombucha as a lot that can go wrong!
Producing a traditional SCOBY fermented kombucha is paramount to the success of it, with the biggest challenge being achieving a consistent final pH, residual sugar and legal alcohol content.
Lara’s top tip? Always keep it in the fridge once its finished!
She says the ideal kombucha should be brewed until it tastes a little like cider, with a degree of sweetness and a crisp and slightly tart endnote. The endnote is important because it means the brew has produced acetic acid, which is a great anti-inflammatory for the gastro-intestinal system. Kombucha needs to be kept in the fridge because being a living drink, it will continue to ferment in the bottle, which can result in high levels of carbonation and also alcohol. The trickiest bit about commercial brewing is producing a healthy dose of acetic acid without a high alcohol content – this is where the science and art come together.
What do you need to do it at home?
Tea (we recommend organic black tea), sugar (for the culture to ferment), 10 per cent starter (choose unflavoured and unpasteurized), the SCOBY and you are away!!!
Basic Home-Brew Kombucha recipe
Makes approx 3.5L
14 cups of filtered water
6 standard size tea bags (preferably organic black tea)
1 cup of cane sugar (preferably organic)
1 cup of starter liquid (also know as Kombucha. If buying a commercially brewed Kombucha, use an unflavoured and unpasterised one)
1: Heat 4 cups of filtered water, for ideal temperature it depends on what tea you are using – for Black tea 90-95ºC is perfect.
2: Once water temperature is correct, steep tea bags for 15 minutes.
3: After 15mins, remove tea bags.
4: Add 1 cup of sugar to the hot tea mixture and stir, until dissolved.
5: In a new container add the hot tea & sugar liquid with the remaining 10 cups of (cold) water. This will cool your brew down, you don’t want to be adding your starter culture & SCOBY to hot liquid! This will kill your starter and SCOBY.
6: Transfer all the mixed liquid into your fermentation vessel, ensure your vessel is clean and sterilised.
7: Add starter to fermentation vessel.
8: Add SCOBY gently to the liquid in your fermentation vessel and place a clean cloth or tea towel over the top of the vessel.
Store your fermentation vessel out of direct sunlight, ideally in a warm and familiar location – don’t hide it in the back of the cupboard and forget about it!. In 1-2 weeks your brew (or booch) will be ready for tasting. Brew to taste, for some taste buds this is 2 weeks and for others 4 weeks or longer. Remembering the longer you ferment for, the more vinegary your brew will become.
ABOUT WILD KOMBUCHA BY BALLSY
The pair have created Australia’s best, premium Kombucha, which has been picked up by the likes of Lola Berry’s ‘Happy Place’ and celebrity chef Peter Gilmore, who has also worked with the team to develop a honey based brew available exclusively in Bennelong and Quay restaurants.
Furthermore, they have also launched Australia’s first Kombucha Bar where the Kombucha can be bought on tap, in addition to 14 other venues in NSW and most recently Victoria. As being environmentally friendly, socially conscious and sustainable is key for the pair, consumers can buy a reusable 500 or 750 mL when purchasing Wild Kombucha by Ballsy.