How to make Chaga extract or Chaga tea in a slow cooker
A couple of months ago we shared our perfect extraction method to make chaga tea using hot water extraction.
The method uses a sous vide machine. That's what we do in the brewery when we need to make small amounts of chaga extracts for testing purposes.
We are huge fans of these machines because they keep water at a very precise temperature for a long time. If you're after consistency, there is nothing that can beat them. Sous vide machines can be purchased for less than $200 these days. We think they are a worthy investment.
Having said that, we totally get that not everybody wants to drop that kind of money on a small kitchen appliance - but you still want to make the perfect chaga tea.
Testing chaga tea in a slow cooker
So to make things easier, and more affordable, we tested if we could make chaga tea in a slow cooker. Slow cookers heat to about 190º (Fahrenheit) on the low setting. The best way to find out how hot yours get is by using a thermometer, but it should be between 170 and 190º. This is slightly higher than our preferred temperature of 160º that we use with the sous vide - but after a number of test batches, we were happy with the resulting chaga extracts.
By reducing the extraction time from 10 hours at 160º in the sous vide to 6 hours at 190º in a slow cooker we managed to achieve comparable results.
There are two ways to make chaga in a slow cooker. You can either just add your chaga chunks (read why you should always buy chunks here) to the slow cooker and fill with water at a ratio of 25g/0.9oz chaga to 1 litre/4 cups of water. That's perfectly fine and works if your slow cooker is wide and shallow, but filtering might be a little difficult.
Using a mason jar
If you have a tall and deep slow cooker, deep enough to hold a 1-litre mason jar, then we prefer to put our chaga into mason jars. We then fill the jars with hot, but not boiling, water and use the slow cooker as a hot water bath for the mason jar.
This makes filtering out the chaga super easy - and remember, it can and should be reused up to four times. Just put it in a freezer bag or box and keep it in the freezer until the next time you want to make chaga tea.
Of course, the easiest way to get your regular chaga fix is by visiting our store and purchasing our Lively Chaga Black botanical tonic.