Kombucha: Fuzzy Feet Juice? + GT's Synergy recipe

Kombucha is an ancient, effervescent, fermented tea with an acquired taste. Thought to have been created in Asia, anywhere from 200 to 2000 years ago. Nowadays, the hipsters of new have clamored to the drink, claiming that it cures cancer and generates rainbows. I enjoy it because it's a way to get
Some homemade mango kombucha
carbonation and flavor for less than conventional fizzy drinks. On top of that, it's a probiotic.

Do you remember the first time you tried sipping coffee? More than likely, unless you had converted the coffee into a creamer cocktail, you probably thought it was disgusting. Maybe you tried it again after a while or drank it just for the caffeine. Slowly you learned to tolerate, and maybe even enjoy what you once thought putrid and miserable. While that sounds like a deep, existential crisis-inducing metaphor for life, it's certainly how myself and others started liking kombucha.

I first drank kombucha after seeing a bottle of GT's in a store and figured I'd give it a shot. If you've never had it before, the first thoughts that might enter your mind after the crisp, fizzy liquid crosses your palate, might include: carbonated pee, straight up vinegar, fuzzy feet juice, moldy musty mountain milk (patent pending), or some other combination to describe the slightly sour taste.

Soon enough I found myself liking and then loving the drink, and later learned that you can make your own for pennies a gallon; rather than the nearly three or more dollars per bottle most brands charge. Here's how.

Ingredients to make one gallon of plain kombucha (may be doubled, tripled, etc):

  • 10 tea bags, either plain green or black.
  • 12 cups of water.
  • 2 cups of starter (kombucha).
  • 1 cup sugar.
  1. Bring the water to a boil. If you're trying to get this done quick, only about half of the water, then add in the rest later. (You're essentially making sweet tea.)
  2. Add in the sugar and stir to dissolve.
  3. Pour in tea and turn off the heat.
  4. Allow the tea to steep for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Remove the tea and allow it to cool until it reaches room temperature. Add more water if you didn't boil all of it in one go in step one. This is the part that takes the longest, so you can speed up the cooling by sticking in the fridge, adding ice, or adding water.
  6. Once cooled, add the starter liquid, which is just kombucha. If you have less than two cups, don't worry, it might just take longer to ferment. You can use any store brand kombucha as well.
  7. Once everything is poured in, cover with some type of cloth to prevent contamination and allow air flow
  8. Forget about the mix for about a week, or until it tastes like how you like. Don't be scared if a weird white blob (called a SCOBY) or strings of yeast are found in your kombucha. If you want, you can strain these out before drinking.
  9. Enjoy your kombucha! If you don't enjoy the taste now, you can also always flavor or carbonate it, like the second recipe down below. You might want to save some to use as starter for the next batch you make, so don't drink it all. Some also save the SCOBY that forms, as it can make the kombucha ferment faster, and maybe even better.
While it might seem complicated, this isn't an exact science, so don't fret too much. After a few batches, you'll get the hang of things. A great place to learn more about kombucha is from other websites online, youtube videos, and forums.

After you've made the "first ferment" as it's often referred to, you can either enjoy it as is or begin to flavor and carbonate more during the "second ferment." Some brewers force carbonate at this point, or use swing top bottles to carbonate more. Here is my recipe for GT's Synergy Trilogy.

Ingredients to make one gallon of GT's Synergy Trilogy:
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries
  • 1/4 cup of ginger
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  1. Combine all ingredients into a blender. To help puree, it is suggested to pour some kombucha into the blender as well.
  2. Blend until pureed.
  3. Pour and mix into one gallon of kombucha.
  4. Strain off the larger chunks, and pour into hermetically sealed containers, in order to build pressure and further ferment.
  5. Check in 2-4 days, just be sure the pressure doesn't build too much.
  6. After your carbonation level has been reached, move to the fridge to slow fermentation. 
  7. Enjoy!


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