How to make Kombucha in Penang’s climate

“Kombucha is an effervescent tea-based beverage that is often consumed for its anecdotal health benefits or medicinal purposes. Kombucha is available commercially and can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria which forms the kombucha culture”… Source: Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is quite negative. Other sites will tell you what conditions it is beneficial for, how it will detox your body, etc.  It’s up to you what you want to believe, but it is cheap to make and tastes nice.  And if you do drink it you can learn by experience how / whether it helps you.

“Many health claims are made for kombucha but there is less research on the benefits of kombucha than there is on fermented milk products. It has certainly been shown to have similar antibiotic, antiviral and anti fungal properties in lab tests. In rats it’s been shown to protect against stress and improve liver function. There is a lot of experiential evidence from people who have been using kombucha over many years. Many of the benefits reported include improvements in energy levels, metabolic disorders, allergies, cancer, digestive problems, candidiasis, hypertension, HIV, chronic fatigue and arthritis. It ‘s also used externally for skin problems and as a hair wash among other things.” Source

You can drink it straight, or dilute wine, beer or juice with it.

There are lots of recipes for Kombucha on the web.  Mine is an adaption that works in Penang’s climate.

First you will need a kombucha mushroom and some kombucha.  If you live in Penang I can give them to you if I have any spare at the time – and usually I do. Everything else you can buy in a supermarket.

FIRST PRODUCTION

most of what you need - note kombucha "mushroom" in clear glass Pyrex bowl

NEED
Stage 1 – making tea

  • These instructions
  • Scale to measure tea & sugar
  • Strainer for tea
  • Big pot to boil water
  • Other big pot to strain water with tea leaves into

weighing tea

For three litres

  • Tea – 12g – 15g
  • Sugar – 150g
  • Filtered water – 3 litres

weighing sugar

Stage 2 – making batch

  • Vinegar (cheap white)
  • Kombucha mushroom
  • Kombucha brew as starter – 300ml
  • Liquid measuring jug
  • Funnel
  • Flat plate to keep mushrooms for cleaning
  • Plastic tongs to pick up mushroom
  • Big jar(s) to make brew in

boiling water for tea

METHOD
Stage 1

  1. Previous day or a few hours before boil 3 litres of filtered water and add tea and sugar
  2. Strain tea after 15 minutes into other pots and let cool

tea and sugar, strained and now cooling

Stage 2

  1. Clean measuring jug, tongs, flat plate, hands etc. with vinegar – recycling it to use it on all implements
  2. Put mushroom  on flat plate
  3. Clean mushroom with vinegar removing bits
  4. Put mushroom in brewing jar – white on top, brown on bottom
  5. Pour out 300ml of Kombucha into brewing jar
  6. Add tea & sugar mixture to new brew and cover with cloth and keep in cool place (21 – 29 C)
  7. After about a week it is ready to drink – in my case usually six days. You can test it with pH paper if you wish – it should be from 2.8 to 3.

pH paper

batch made, ready to cover, then sit in cool place for a few days

SECOND AND SUBSEQUENT PRODUCTION

Once you have made your own brew you can bottle most of it, and use a percentage as a starter for the next brew.  This is what to do…

NEED
Stage 1 – making tea

  • These instructions
  • Scale to measure tea & sugar
  • Strainer for tea
  • Big pot to boil water
  • Other big pot to strain water with tea leaves into

For three litres

  • Tea – 12g – 15g
  • Sugar – 150g
  • Filtered water – 3 litres

Stage 2 – bottling and making next batch

  • Vinegar
  • Empty bottles with screw caps (old wine bottles with screw caps are good)
  • Funnel
  • Kombucha mushroom
  • Kombucha brew as starter – 300ml
  • Liquid measuring jug
  • Flat plate to keep mushrooms for cleaning
  • Plastic tongs to pick up mushroom
  • Some fruit to add as flavour
  • Big jar(s) to make brew in

METHOD
Stage 1

  1. Previous day or a few hours before boil 3 litres of filtered water and add tea and sugar
  2. Strain tea after 15 minutes into other pots and let cool

Stage 2

Bottled rinsed with vinegar; mushroom on plate

  1. Clean bottles, brewing jar, measuring jug, tongs, flat plate, hands etc. with vinegar
  2. Remove mushrooms from your fresh brew and put on flat plate
  3. Pour out 300ml from brew into measuring jug and set aside
  4. Make up flavour from fruit – passion fruit / lemon & ginger etc.  Half a passionfruit to one 750ml bottle is sufficient; one or two teaspoons of lemon juice and some grated ginger is another idea
  5. Add the flavour to new clean bottles
  6. Pour in the rest of the brew to new clean bottles to 1 cm from the top of the bottle
  7. Seal bottles lightly – release cap a couple of times a day.  Can store out of fridge for a while, but probably better in fridge after a few days.  Drink whenever you wish – it is ready immediately.
  8. Clean mushrooms with vinegar removing bits
  9. Put new mushroom in brewing bottle –save old mushroom as spare in another jar with some brew. (You then can help others make it if they wish by giving them a mushroom and some brew.)
  10. Add starter to new brew
  11. Add tea & sugar mixture to new brew and cover and keep in cool place

Bottled; and next batch in jar with mushroom and starter added - just needs tea mixture to be added

NOTES

  • Don’t use metal implements or containers. Use plastic, glass etc.
  • pH paper is available at some pharmacies – e.g. Burma Road opposite the police station.
  • You can experiment with any fruit to use as flavouring that you want.

batch covered

Advertisements

50 comments

  1. You’re right; there is not enough research on its benefits, just like you said, and this creates a lot of doubt among people about this beverage. But I still love Kombucha tea and I will continue brewing it.

    1. Hi.

      Sorry for the slow reply. I’ve been travelling.

      I’d give you some, but I haven’t been making any recently. When I have time I will start again.

  2. please PM me shuwen_123@hotmail.com, I am actually doing some research on kombucha so, i wish you could help me out in finding kombucha cultures in Penang, Im currently living in KL but i can go to Penang in necessary. and also thanks so much for replying. =D

  3. Hi there,

    Nice work! I live in Singapore and am having great difficulty trying to get either kombucha or a SCOBY. Would you be able or amenable to mailing one over? I’ll be happy to pay for the mailing costs. Thanks much for considering my request!

    Best regards,
    Wilson

    1. Hi Wilson,

      I haven’t been making kombucha for a while, and need to get started again. Originally I got the ingredients from a guy called Alex. The only contact details I have are his mobile number – +60164517925. Please try him.

      Best wishes,

      Ian

  4. Thank you for the wonderfully detailed intructions! I’ve been brewing for 3 months now in Manila, Philippines.

    While most directions posted online were clear on shorter brewing times for the tropics, my scoby remained thin and lumpy. Its ferment tasted and fizzed fine, but I guess the bacteria was being overwhelmed by the yeast.

    I believe your added “vinegar mushroom bath” step is gonna be just the ticket! Cheers!

  5. Hi there,
    I’m moving to Malaysia shortly and am trying to find a scoby and starter tea to continue brewing when I get there. I notice your previous responses indicate you aren’t brewing but I don’t see a time indication of when they were written. Do you happen to have more yet? Or know of where I could get one?
    Thanks

    1. Unfortunately I don’t know any more. I was looking for kefir and did an online search for it in Malaysia successfully, So you might have some luck doing the same for kombucha.

  6. Hello,

    I’ve recently started brewing my own kefir and I’m about to start brewing Kombucha soon. However for the latter I will need gallon jars and I’m unsure where to purchase them. If you don’t mind me asking, where did you get yours?

    Thanks

    1. I got my jars from Ikea in KL. I don’t know their capacity, though. In Malaysia so many containers are plastic, and it can be hard to get glass.

      Where did you get your kefir from?

    2. Hi there, May I know if I could get some Kombucha scoby from you please? do you also happen to have milk kefir too?

      1. I am sorry, I am too busy at the moment and have not been making it, so I don’t have any. I did a search for kefir on the Internet about a year ago, and found it in Malaysia.

      2. Hey there,
        Where are you located? I just found some kombucha in KL and I have started my second batch. I could have a new scoby soon if you can wait a week or 2.

  7. Hi. I am living in Singapore. I want to try and make kombucha, but I was wondering if the hot temperature will kill the kombucha. Do you have any special advice for making this in tropical countries? Do you have a scobi I can have?

    Thanks,
    Edward

    1. I am sorry, I have been away. I need to get a scobi myself. I had no trouble making kombucha in Penang, so just make it in the coolest room you have, but don’t worry too much.

  8. Hello Ian,
    Do you still brew kombucha tea? If you do, I would like to have the kombucha baby if you have any…I live in Penang too…Thanks!!

  9. Hi . I just read about kombucha tea kefir . Do you still have any scoby to offer ? Don’t mind to pay . Thanks a ahead .

  10. I have spare scobys to give away. Am located in Selangor. Email me if interested 🙂
    apamau1010 at yahoo dot com

  11. Hi are you still in Penang? I’m on perhentian besar and looking to make my own kombucha. How can i get a scooby? Can you send me an email so I can ask some other questions?

  12. Dear, I live in Penang. I am interested to start the kombucha culture and want to get the starter culture. May I know where can I get it from Penang? Do you sell?
    swee

      1. Hi.. Can you also give me details where kombucha mother calture can be buyed?I’m intrested to brew my own.
        My email prabakarums@yahoo. com

  13. Hi,

    I want to ask if there is possible to buy / get Kombucha somewhere in KL or Malaysia? If yes, please let me know.

    Thanks!
    Martin

  14. Hello,
    Good article, but does not mention where one can get a culture. Very grateful if you guys out there cab point the way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s