One of my favorite indulgences when I’m grocery shopping is lavender kombucha. (We shall not speak of Trader Joe’s salted caramel sauce). It’s bubbly, tart and has the distinct flavor that only lavender buds can bestow upon a beverage.
Yes, it’s hippie refreshment at its finest.
Kombucha is a drink made by placing a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) in a jar full of super-sweet tea. The jar is covered with a coffee filter or cheesecloth and very carefully placed in a dark, out of the way spot for a week. The result is a mildly fermented, bubbly beverage (there is no alcohol – ok, maybe just a little, depending on how long you ferment it).
Because the SCOBY is a living organism, the result is a live food. Kombucha is full of probiotics and it’s a great drink for the whole family. My kids love it (especially my toddler) and even my husband has started drinking it.
Unfortunately, it’s also expensive to purchase. And even though it comes in a recyclable glass container, I still prefer to refuse before I recycle.
Naturally, I had to learn to make it myself. I had made kombucha before, but had never added anything to it. After a lot of unsuccessful Googling, I decided that I’d need to figure out how to make lavender kombucha on my own.
After taking note of the warning not to mix lavender with the SCOBY (the essential oils would have unpleasant side effects on the organism), I figured out that I’d need to make kombucha and then do a secondary fermentation with the lavender buds, which basically means that you let the lavender buds sit in the kombucha for two more days.
Ready to get started on the first round?
You will need (for 1 gallon of kombucha):
- 6 bags of tea (I use 3 black, 3 triple berry)
- SCOBY – ask around for one or check out Cultures for Health (check out their free ebooks)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 quarts water
- 1/2 cup kombucha (for a starter) or vinegar.
- 1 gallon sterilized jar (I use ones like this … but I reeeeeeeeally want this jar.)
- Sterilized stirring spoon
- Sauce pan
- Rubber band
- Coffee filter or cheesecloth
1. Pour one quart of water in the sauce pan and turn on medium high heat. Add the cup of sugar and stir until it’s dissolved. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat.
2. Add the tea bags and let them steep for 15 minutes. Once they’ve steeped, remove the bags, cover and let cool.
3. To the gallon jar, add the other 2 quarts of cold water and the cooled tea (the SCOBY can’t get too hot). Stir in the 1/2 cup of starter/vinegar.
4. Top with the SCOBY, cover the jar with the cloth/filter and secure it with the rubber band. Put it away in a dark place where it won’t be bumped or anything. Mark one week from the current date on your calendar so you can check your kombucha. If it goes too long, it will turn into vinegar (though I now prefer to ferment it for about 2 weeks). Your toddler will
probably still be more than happy to drink it.
Now it’s time to kick it up a notch.
Once your kombucha is done, remove the SCOBY and put it in another clean jar. Top it with some of your fresh kombucha – just enough to cover it. Put it away until next time or leave it out and get started on another batch.
This is where I have to fend off a parched toddler insisting that he must have “bucha” right now (I also have to do that when I’m pouring starter into the sweetened tea. He’s crazy for kombucha!)
Let’s add some flavor now, shall we?
1. Put 2 tsp of lavender buds in each jar. Pour kombucha over the lavender buds, leaving about 1 inch head space. Cover with lids and put back in your dark, out of the way, fermentation place for 48 more hours.
2. Remove kombucha from fermentation cave, strain out lavender buds, cover back up and refrigerate.
3. Repeat the process to get more kombucha brewing, because you know that toddler is going to guzzle it all up.