Hi everyone. Last weekend on Instagram I posted a picture of me making kombucha and I had a lot of questions and interest on how to make it. So, today I’m showing you how.
What is Kombucha?
First, a little about what kombucha is. Kombucha is a form of mildly fermented tea. In its most basic form it is made from black tea and sugar. The sugar serves as a food for the scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). This may sound questionable to some of you, but the results are a healthy dose of probiotics, B vitamins, enzymes and more. Our family drinks it for the gut health benefits, but there are many other health claims which you can find here:
How to make it:
First, you will need to find someone with a scoby or you can pick one up at your local health food store. I purchased an Oregon Kombucha starter locally, but you can also get one here:Kombucha Starter Kit by Oregon Kombucha | Organic Black Tea and Scoby w/ Starter Liquid – Raw Culture Brews 1 Gallon of Delicious Kombucha, Guaranteed
For supplies you will need a large jar or crockpot liner that can hold a little over a gallon. You will want to avoid the pretty jars with spigots at the bottom as the scoby strings clog it and it is difficult to get clean. Next, you will need a clean cloth or a paper towel to place over the top of the jar. Kombucha needs to breathe. Also, have a large elastic band or string handy to keep the cloth or paper towel secure. Later you will need approximately 12 bottles with lids.
You’re Ready to Go!
Start by boiling a gallon of water. When the water comes to a boil, shut it off and add 10 tea bags to the pot and let them steep for about 4 minutes. Next, remove the bags and add a cup of sugar. Don’t worry about the sugar content. I know I cringed when I saw the amount of white sugar in the recipe. The scoby eats the sugar leaving behind a minimal amount at the end of the brew time.
Don’t Miss This Step!
You can transfer the tea to the jar when it is somewhat cool, BUT let the tea cool to room temperature before adding the scoby and all of its surrounding liquid or it will die. Cover the jar with a paper towel and secure it with an elastic band. I like to use a chalk pen to mark the date on the jar so I don’t lose track of how long it’s been fermenting.
Let it Grow!
Place your jar somewhere warm. Kombucha grows quickest at around 80 degrees, but will still grow at a cooler temp. I keep mine in a cupboard above the stove. Depending on the size of your scoby, let your kombucha ferment anywhere from 7-30 days.
After the initial fermentation period, pull the scoby from the jar and transfer it to a smaller jar for storage. Be sure to add a cup of the fermented tea to the scoby. At this point you can start your second batch or place the jar in the fridge for later use. Kombucha and scobys can be stored in the fridge for months.
Now, transfer the kombucha to separate jars. There’s no exact rules to this part. I add about a cup of tea to a jar and a handful of frozen fruit. We love mixed berries or strawberries. You can also add juice. Grape juice is one of our family favorites. The key to carbonating your kombucha is to seal the jars tightly and leave them at room temp for 24-48 hours. When this is complete, place the jars in the fridge to stop the fermentation process.
That’s it! It is a lot of explanation for a relatively simple process. Once you get the hang of it, feel free to experiment with different types of teas and fruits. Let me know if you try it out and what your favorite flavors are!
Until next time,
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- 1 gallon water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 10 teabags black tea
- 1 bag frozen mixed berries or other fruit
- 1 jar juice (optional) interchangeable with fruit
Boil one gall on water in a large pot.
Once water comes to a boil, remove from heat and add tea bags.
Let tea steep for approximately 4 minutes. Add one cup of granulated sugar.
Let tea cool to room temperature. Add scoby and the surrounding liquid.
Let tea ferment for 7-30 days depending on the size of your scoby.
At the end of fermentation process, remove the scoby and 1 cup of the tea. Place in a sealed jar for storage. Store in the scoby in the fridge.
Gather 12 bottles / jars. Add approximately one cup of kombucha to each jar followed by a handful of fresh fruit or a couple ounces of juice.
Seal the jars and leave them at room temp for approximately 3 days.
Place jars in fridge to stop fermentation process.