Instead of taking on what I thought would be the incredibly difficult task of making my own kombucha I kept buying bottles from the store each time saying, ugh I should make my own. I finally decided that there was no better time or place than right now to stop my whining and start the discovery process of home brewing kombucha. This might have been given a slight nudge by the fact that I was gifted a SCOBY and some starter tea for my birthday this year!
If you are new to the kombucha game let me do some splaining.
Water. Sugar. Tea.
Making Kombucha is really as simple as brewing a big batch of tea like you would for a southern, cause if there is no sugar it’s just dirty water.
Well, I don’t really need any reason other than if being delicious, but there are so many benefits I would really be doing you a disservice by not telling you.
One of the main things that kombucha is know for is its ability to prevent and fight cancer! There are lots of studies that have been done on this, but I won’t bore you with hairy details.
Kombucha is also known to be a good detox for the liver and pancreas. I wish kombucha had been the rage back during my college days.
The probiotics found in kombucha aid in digestion and gut health. Think the benefits of yogurt, but in delicious flavored tea form.
And don’t even get me started on the immune boosting benefits from the raging amounts of antioxidants that kombucha contains.
First things first - Clean out whatever vessel you intend to put your kombucha in. I used a little white vinegar to do this. It is not only important that the jar, growler, container is clean, but that you have the ability to cover it easily. Also something else to think about in jar selection is eventually you have to remove the SCOBY, so you might want to think about being able to get your hand in the jar. I went with a half gallon wide mouth mason jar.
Next choose really good quality ingredients to brew your tea. For a half gallon batch I used 1/2 cup of organic cane sugar and 4 bags of organic black tea.
As with everything, there are lots of discussions on the interwebs about using other teas, sugars, etc. This is just the most basic form of the tea and I don’t want to cloud your mind with other details.
The next step is to boil water. For a half gallon batch you will need to boil 6-7 cups of water. Some will evaporate in the boiling process. You can use regular tap water for the process. Everything that might be negative in your water will be removed if you boil the water long enough. I boiled mine for 20 minutes.
After the tea is completely cooled (I have said it three times so you will remember) add one cup of your starter tea and the SCOBY.
Cover the top of your jar with a cloth and rubber band. I have seen people use really thick paper towels and a rubber band. I banned paper towels from our home several years ago due to the unnecessary waste created so I used a piece of fabric. Thicker than cheesecloth but thinner than shirt material.
Things to think about for your happy home:
The fermenting process is optimal at 75-85 degrees. So find a warm spot, but one that is out of direct sunlight.
You can let your tea ferment for 7-30 days. The fermentation process is totally dependent on your taste preferences. The longer you allow your tea to sit with the SCOBY in it the more vinegar like it will become. I typically stop my fermentation at the 7-10 day mark. Once you reach the 7 day mark, your kombucha is ready to drink.
Keep in mind that if you want to continue brewing your own kombucha you will need to save some of your newly brewed tea to become the SCOBY hotel as well as your starter tea for the next batch.
It is also just as simple as making the original batch. I poured my kombucha into 16 oz bottles and then added my flavorings based on ratios I had seen online. If you are using fresh ingredients which is what I recommend the ratio is 10-30% fruit to 70-90% kombucha. In other words..rampage…go wild…the kombucha is your oyster.
We made two different kinds of kombucha with our first attempt - Lilikoi (that’s passion fruit) and Ginger/Turmeric. Once you flavor your kombucha if must sit for another 7 days or so. I know! The wait continues. Just consider this a lesson in patience and delayed gratification because it will be oh so gratifying.
We were not disappointed when the tasting day finally arrived. My favorite of our first attempt turned out to be the Ginger/Turmeric. I didn’t get very much of either one because the person in the house who doesn’t really like kombucha (Linz) drank all of them. Apparently home brewing is the way to go to encourage a new found love.
You can flavor yours with whatever you like. I have seen a mojito version, a strawberry kiwi version, you name it, it’s out there. For my next batch I am going to make an Arnold Palmer by adding fresh lemon juice.
Here is a play by play for your very own kombucha tea! Get brewing and enjoy the health benefits of this delicious “sweet tea!”
6-7 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
4 black tea bags
1 cup starter tea
- Boil water for 20 minutes to remove any impurities in the water.
- Pour water over 1/2 cup of sugar.
- Stir to dissolve fully.
- Add tea bags to sugar/water mixture.
- Let tea cool completely! Tea should be at room temperature before going to the next step.
- Add 1 cup of starter tea to your cooled sweet tea.
- Place SCOBY in tea.
- Cover with a cloth of some kind and secure with a rubber band.
- Let the wait begin. 7-30 days.
- Start tasting your tea at the 7 day point to decide when to stop the fermentation process.
- When you are happy with the flavor pour tea into storage bottles for drinking or flavoring.
- Make sure you save at least one cup of tea to start a new batch and be the home of your SCOBY.
Ginger Turmeric Kombucha
16 oz Kombucha Tea
1 Tbsp fresh ginger
1 tsp fresh turmeric
- Follow the recipe above
- After you have placed your kombucha into their bottles add ginger and turmeric to the bottle. I sliced my ginger and turmeric into matchstick pieces so they can be easily removed at the end of the flavoring process.
- Allow tea to sit at room temperature for 7 days making sure to burp your bottles every other day to avoid the potential for explosion.
- At the end of the 7 days refrigerate or not and enjoy!