By Stephen Lee
As delicious as it is healing, this infused kombucha combines the refreshing flavor of fresh lemon juice with the calming properties of lavender. The flavor is unique and beautiful—sweet with floral notes.
Recipe from Stephen Lee’s new cookbook, Kombucha Revolution. Order your copy here.
- 14 cups purified water
- 8 to 10 tea bags or
- 4 tablespoons (18 grams) loose-leaf black tea
- 8 to 10 tea bags or
- 4 tablespoons (18 grams) loose-leaf green tea
- 1 cup evaporated cane sugar
- 2 cups starter tea (instructions below)
- 1 SCOBY (you’ll need to source your SCOBY online, at a homesteading store, or from a friend)
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
- 12 teaspoons fresh or 4 teaspoons dried lavender blossoms
Makes 1 gallon
Heat 6 cups of the water in a stainless steel saucepan to 212°F over medium heat, then remove from the heat. Add the tea, stir well, and cover. Steep for 4 minutes, stirring once at 2 minutes. Remove the tea bags or pour the tea through a colander into a second pot. Compost the tea. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining 8 cups of water to cool the tea to about room temperature (72°F or cooler). Add the starter tea and stir. Pour into a 1-gallon jar.
With rinsed hands, carefully lay your SCOBY on the surface of the tea. Cover the opening of the jar with a clean cotton cloth and hold it in place with a rubber band. Place the jar in a warm spot (72°F to 78°F) out of direct sunlight and leave undisturbed to ferment for 7 days.
Taste your kombucha using a straw. Too sweet? Let it go a few more days. Is it sufficiently tart and you love it? Great!
Time for the next step. Remove the SCOBY with rinsed hands and place on a clean porcelain or glass plate bathed in kombucha. This will be your culture for the next batch. If immediately proceeding with another batch, reserve 2 cups of the finished kombucha for the starter tea for your next brew. (To put your SCOBY to rest, see page 8.)
For the secondary fermentation, divide the lemon juice and lavender blossoms equally among the bottles (about 1 tablespoon juice and 1½ teaspoons fresh lavender per 16-ounce bottle). Fill the bottles with the kombucha using a spouted measuring cup and a plastic funnel, leaving about 1 inch of air space in the neck of the bottle. As you pour, you may want use a fine-mesh strainer to filter out yeast strands.
Cap tightly. Let the bottles ferment at room temperature (about 72°F) for 48 hours. Refrigerate and enjoy! Strain when serving if desired.
Starter tea is previously brewed kombucha or store-bought raw kombucha with no flavorings or infusions (essentially as close as possible to a traditional plain kombucha). It is added to freshly brewed sweetened tea to lower the pH and introduce a plethora of beneficial yeasts and bacteria to help kick-start the fermentation process.
Reprinted with permission from Kombucha Revolution by Stephen Lee, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.
Cover photography (c) 2014 by Katie Newburn All other photography (c) 2014 by Leo Gong