Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

Mango-Ginger Kombucha

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 24 days 12 hr (includes fermenting time)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings



Special equipment:
Measuring cups, Measuring spoons, Digital kitchen scale, Tea kettle, 4-cup liquid measuring cup, 2 (1-gallon) glass jars, Digital instant read thermometer, Large coffee filter, Rubber band, Medium bowl, Slotted spoon, 6 to 8 (12- to 16-ounce) clean plastic soda bottles with lids
  1. Heat 3 cups of the filtered water to 200 degrees F in an electric kettle and place the tea leaves in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Pour the water over the tea leaves and let steep for 10 minutes. (If using a traditional kettle or pot, bring the water to a boil and let cool for 1 for 2 minutes before using.)
  2. Strain the steeped tea into a 1-gallon glass jar. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Discard the tea leaves.
  3. Add the remaining 8 cups filtered water to lower the temperature to lukewarm. If the water is still warmer than 100 degrees F, leave on the counter for 10 minutes, then recheck. Anything hotter than 100 degrees F can damage the SCOBY.
  4. Add the kombucha and the SCOBY. Cover the jar with a coffee filter secured with a rubber band and place in a warm, well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight until the mixture begins to take on a pleasantly sour and tangy flavor and is lightly effervescent, 2 to 3 weeks. The ideal fermentation temperature is between 75 and 85 degrees F.
  5. When you’re happy with the flavor, wash your hands very well. Gently remove the SCOBY and transfer to a clean bowl. Reserve 2 cups of the kombucha and add to the bowl with the SCOBY.
  6. Add the mango and the ginger to the jar with the remaining kombucha. Re-cover with the coffee filter and rubber band. Let sit at room temperature until the kombucha has taken on the flavor of the fruit and ginger, 2 to 4 days. Meanwhile, you can start a second batch of kombucha with the SCOBY and reserved 2 cups of plain kombucha, following the same steps above using a clean 1-gallon glass jar (see Cook’s Note).
  7. When the flavored kombucha is ready, strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup or bowl. Discard the solids, then divide the kombucha evenly among six to eight 12- to 16-ounce plastic soda bottles with tight-fitting lids Be sure to leave at least 1 1/2 inches of headspace in each bottle for gas to expand. Twist the lids on tightly and park on the counter until the bottles are firm to the touch, indicating that the kombucha is carbonated, 1 to 3 days. Move to the fridge and chill before drinking. The kombucha will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Cook’s Note

This recipe works best when made with a SCOBY purchased from a reputable online retailer. When you purchase a SCOBY online, it will come with 2 cups of kombucha to use in the recipe. Over time, the SCOBY will grow so large that it will take up too much space in your kombucha-making vessel. So, no matter if you make kombucha continuously or if you only want to make it occasionally, at some point you will need to establish a storage vessel (a.k.a. hotel) for your SCOBY. To do so, start a batch of kombucha using the same amounts of tea, water, and unpasteurized kombucha in a clean 1-gallon jar as directed above. Place the SCOBY into the jar and cover with a coffee filter secured with a rubber band. Every 2 to 3 weeks, add about 1 cup cool sweet tea to the jar to feed the SCOBYS. Over time, it will grow additional layers; when you’re ready to make a new batch of kombucha, either peel or cut off the top 1/4 inch of the SCOBY to use in the recipe. When your SCOBY hotel gets jam-packed, portion off 1/4-inch-thick pieces to give away.