How to make Kombucha

8:29 PM


This past summer I went to a conference and heard a doctor speak about the importance of probiotics. My mind was blown. Good for your immune system, weight, and so much more!

Once I returned home, I began making an effort to get probiotics in regularly... and Costco started carrying kombucha which meant I was hooked. But man is it expensive to buy! My kids started drinking it all the time and sharing one bottle with all of us just wasn't my favorite thing ever but I couldn't tell them no when they wanted something healthy.

Luckily, I had a friend of a friend who makes her own kombucha. I requested a lesson and the rest is history. Shout out to Michelle for being so awesome and opening your home to a semi-stranger.  I've finally gotten the hang of doing this on my own so I'm finally ready to share! 

Kombucha is REALLY easy to make once you know how and get your hands on a SCOBY. The one thing I was impressed by is how FIZZY this Kombucha is! It's seriously just as good as store bought--but better because it's WAY cheaper. 


WHAT YOU NEED: 

  • SCOBY: You can get this from a friend or you can order online. I recommend this Kombucha Kamp SCOBY on Amazon for a 1 gallon batch or this Kombucha Kamp SCOBY for a 2 gallon batch.  Your kombucha will make another SCOBY each time so you'll be able to make larger batches or share with a friend over time. (Be sure if you get a SCOBY from a friend that they also give you some starter tea--it comes with the two I've linked).

  • JAR: You'll need a Jar or Beverage dispenser to brew your kombucha in. You can use a simple gallon glass jar, a glass beverage dispenser, or a Ceramic Crock... although Kombucha doesn't go well with metal so be sure the spigot is plastic inside and out. Be sure the size container goes with the amount of Kombucha you'll be brewing. We started with 2 gallons and will be doubling that to 4 gallons. 



  • FRUIT JUICE: So far my favorites are Blueberry, Cherry, and Concord Grape. Look at the ingredients and check for one that just has juice. 

  • BOTTLES: I use these clear swing top jars and these brown swing top jars. They may be a little hard to open and close at first but loosen with use.  You'll want something that holds in the carbonation. Regular mason jars dont work well for this. 

  • WATER: This one is pretty simple. I use water filtered from my Berkey so that I don't have that tap water chlorine taste. 

That's it! Not too complicated. Ok. so let's get on to the recipe. This is seriously so easy... the hard part is knowing what's normal and what to expect. So I'll try to give some details. This recipe makes a 2 gallon batch of Kombucha so you can half or double accordingly. 

RECIPE:


FIRST FERMENT: 
2 Gallons of Water
16 tea bags (8 oolong + 8 Green) 
3 Cups of Sugar
SCOBY
2 Cups Starter Tea

  • Boil your water. Once it comes to a boil, turn off the stove and put your tea bags in. Put the lid on your pot and allow it to sit overnight until completely cool. We're going for room temperature here. 
  • At some point in the cooling process add your 3 cups of sugar. If your tea is room temp you'll need to stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. 
  • Once room temp, pour the tea into the jar or container of your choice. 
  • Pour in the starter tea and give it a little stir (wooden or plastic spoon)
  • Gently place your SCOBY in the jar. It may float or sink. 
  • Place a cheese cloth, paper towel or thin rag over the opening and secure with a rubber band. 
  • Set this on your counter to do it's magic for 2 weeks. 
  • Move onto the second ferment below. 


     
What to expect: You should notice your SCOBY growing. It will begin to form a layer on top of your tea. About a week or 10 days in, You may notice it starts to bubble... like its getting carbonated. There may be some stringy pieces of SCOBY or something floating on the bottom. Totally normal. It will begin to smell a little vinegar/fermenty (lol). 










SECOND FERMENT: 
Brewed Kombucha
Fruit Juice of Choice
16oz Bottles
Funnel
Plus your next batch of brewed Tea 

  • Wash your hands and gently remove your SCOBY and place it on a plate. 
  • Give your kombucha a stir being sure to get the bottom too. It should fizz a little for you. Take out the starter tea you'll need for your next batch. 
  • Add ¼ cup of the fruit juice to each of the empty bottles you'll be using for your second ferment. The purpose of the second ferment is to flavor and create more fizz. 
  • Fill your bottles to the shoulders with kombucha.... this leaves room for them to fizz when you open them. 
  • Pour the fresh tea into your container, add the starter tea and SCOBY and start the next batch. 
  • Seal the lids on your bottles and set them at room temperature for 3 days. Each day you'll "burp" your bottles which just means opening them and letting them fizz then close them back. On the 3rd day move to the fridge and enjoy your kombucha. I drink all mine before we hit 2 weeks but it will last longer than that. 

What to expect: The kombucha may start to form baby SCOBYs in the bottles..... It's similar to the "mother" in your ACV bottle.... I just skim it off when I pour my Kombucha to a glass. I told my Kids it's what makes it fizzy. When you "burb" your bottles you should notice an increase in carbonation each day. If you do not burb your bottles--they may explode and leave you a mess. I've once forgotten to burp till the next morning and they popped really fast when I "burped" them. 









Note** these time frames are flexible. You can experiment. The longer your leave the first ferment, the less sweet it is and the more vinegary. The second ferment is for fizz so if you dont like fizz, you can shorten that time.... or honestly you can even drink it directly after the first ferment. 

If you're local to me, I'm happy to share my SCOBY ;) 

Now go, brew Kombucha, and prosper! 



The Big Book of Kombucha also has everything you need to know for trying new recipes and trouble shooting. 

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