Yaupon and Lemongrass Kombucha with Raspberries, Basil, and Honey
We are in love with kombucha, and it’s not uncommon for us to drink a bottle of kombucha every other day. Kombucha can cost anywhere from $3-$6 at the store, so we make our own. This allows us to save money, and we can manipulate the brew to suit our tastes. We typically let our kombucha brew for 6-9 days--the shorter brew time makes for a slightly sweeter brew. If you like your kombucha to be more acidic, or if you are trying to avoid sugar, you can let your booch brew for 3-4 weeks.
You can tweak this recipe for Raspberry, Basil Kombucha anyway you want. The tea, fruit and herbs can be interchanged with similar items. If you want to use Jasmine Tea with Blackberries and Cilantro, godspeed to you! (that sounds good, actually.)
For this brew, we use Yaupon Tea--we love the earthy, nutty flavor. Yaupon is North America’s only indigenous plant that contains caffeine. Yaupon also contains theobromine, which is an alkaloid found in the cacao plant. Theobromine can help boost your mood, increase your energy and focus, and it assists in lowering blood pressure.
Getting homemade kombucha perfectly carbonated is a technique that takes a lot of trial and error. The big brand kombuchas that you buy at the store are typically carbonated with pressurized gas, but this recipes relies on bottle fermentation. The honey, yeast, and residual sugar feed the yeast, and the yeasts toot out little bubbles. It’s super cute.
Total Time: 10-25 days
Active Time: 20 Minutes
5 Tablespoons Lost Pines Yaupon Loose Leaf Tea
1 Cup Chopped Fresh Lemongrass
1.25 Cups Organic Natural Cane Sugar
12 Cups Filtered Water
1 SCOBY (Mother)
2 Cups of a Previous Batch of Kombucha or Raw, Organic non-flavored kombucha like GT’s
2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Raspberries
3/4 Cup Honey
Fresh Sweet Basil (20 Large Leaves—If you don’t have sweet basil, Thai Basil works great)
Regular Sized Coffee Filters
1 Rubber Band
5-16 oz Grolsch-Style Lock Top Bottles
Heat up 6 cups of filtered water in an electric kettle or a pot on the stove. In a separate container, mix the sugar, yaupon and lemongrass. Once the water comes to a boil, turn it off and let it rest for 1 minute.
Combine the hot water with the tea, sugar and lemongrass. With a wooden utensil, stir the mixture well to dissolve the sugar (a long chopstick works great for this, but you can use a wooden spoon just as well). Let this mixture steep for 30 minutes.
Strain and discard the tea and lemongrass.. Pour the sweet tea into a 1 Gallon screw-top jar along with the remaining 6 cups of filtered water. Let the tea cool until it is lower than 85° F.
Add the 2 cups of the previous batch of kombucha and the SCOBY to the cooled sweet tea mixture. Cover the top of your jar with a coffee filter secured with a rubber band or twine.
Let the kombucha brew for 1-4 weeks at room temperature. Your booch will taste more acidic the longer it brews. Once the flavor of the brew is to your liking, take out 2 cups of kombucha and the SCOBY and put aside in a jar—ready to use for your next batch.
Strain the remaining kombucha through a fine sieve and rinse out the jar it brewed in.
In the rinsed jar, mix the honey with a ¼ cup of water to make honey syrup. Then add the raspberries, kombucha and basil—stir well with a wooden utensil.
Seal the top of the jar with a plastic lid and let this mixture ferment for 12-24 hours. The berries will float, so it might be beneficial to stir the mixture a few times during this flavoring process.
Once the kombucha is flavored to your liking, strain it through fine sieve and funnel it into grolsch style bottles leaving an inch or two of open space in the neck. Close the lids and let these bottles sit on the counter for 2-3 days and then refrigerate. ***This step produces carbonation, so be very cautious when opening your kombucha. Places a towel over the lid and hold bottles over the sink when opening.