How to Make Kombucha for Beginners
You do not need any special supplies to start making home brewed Kombucha. All you need is a few basic pantry ingredients and a SCOBY with some starter liquid. First, let me explain the SCOBY acronym.
- S- Symbiotic
Kombucha is a probiotic that produces healthy bacteria and introduces it to your gut. Here is a great article to give you all the particulars of how the bacteria is produced. All you really need to know is that the Mother Culture (SCOBY) introduces the bacteria to the tea. The yeast feeds the bacteria and in order to feed the yeast you need sugar. Easy, right?
- Gallon glass/ceramic jar, sterilized in dishwasher or with boiling water or vinegar
- white sugar (works best), use 1 cup per gallon of water
- tea of choice, loose or bags
- filtered water, 1 gallon
- SCOBY and 1-2 cups of starter liquid
- Begin by boiling your water. Add sugar to your brewing vessel and then pour in hot water and tea bags/leaves.
- Allow hot tea to cool to ROOM temperature before adding your SCOBY and starter liquid. High temperatures will kill the culture and your brew will be unsuccessful.
- Once liquid has cooled, add SCOBY and 1-2 cups of starter liquid. Not enough liquid can cause your brew to mold so a little more is always better. NOTE: Before touching the SCOBY with your hands, run hands under very hot water. This will kill any bacteria on your hand that could contaminate the culture. Also, do NOT use any anti-bacterial soap on your hands or supplies as this could kill the culture. Some prefer to rinse their hands with vinegar.
- Cover the vessel with a paper towel, cheese cloth or coffee filter and rubber band. You want to keep out all pests, especially fruit flies.
- Place in a warm spot for anywhere from 7 days to 1 month.
- You can taste the brew everyday until it reaches the desired taste. The longer it goes the more vinegar-like it will taste. To taste, insert a straw, gently, underneath the newly formed SCOBY. Use one finger to cover the hole of the straw and create suction. Still being gentle, lift the straw out of the vessel.
2nd Fermentation and Bottling Your Booch
If you wish to do a second fermentation you need to remove the SCOBY and some starter liquid for your next batch. If carbonation is your objective you will need to use and a air tight container to trap the carbon dioxide. Here are a few suggestions for bottling.
- Add the fruit or other ingredients for 2nd ferment to the bottle and fill the rest of the way with kombucha.
- Put the cap on and place in a covered area for 2-7 days, depending on how you like it. The longer you leave it the more vinegar-like it gets because it will continue to ferment.I put mine in a cabinet in case the bottles decide to explode. I only do 2 days because we like ours on the sweet side.
- After achieving your desired taste, place the Kombucha in the fridge to stall fermentation.
If you decide to skip the 2nd fermentation, then follow the same steps as above with the exception of leaving the bottle out of the fridge.
Our favorite types of fruit to add to Kombucha are strawberries and peaches. I have tried several different combinations but have yet to come up with my own ‘unique’ concoction. Just play around and have fun!