If you read my earlier post on how good kombucha is and is for you, hopefully it gave you the push you needed to try it yourself-or even make it part of your regular diet. (If you missed it, you can read it here.) And now that you’re hooked on it, you’ve probably considered making it yourself. Good news! Learning how to make kombucha at home is pretty simple and much cheaper than buying it.
Not only is it much cheaper than store bought kombucha, but you can also be much more creative in the flavors. We’ve tried several store bought flavors, but let’s face it, some of those are just, well, boring. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some good ones out there and we’ve copied some of those, but most of our favorites are ones we’ve come up with ourselves-Cranberry Grape, Cherry Pomegranate, Mixed Berry, Raspberry Lemonade, Cherry Lemonade. And I usually add some fresh ginger to all of mine for added flavor and health benefits.
If you’ve thought about making your own brew, but that’s as far as you got, now is the time to get to it. Yes, I’ll admit making your first batch of fermented anything can seem a bit overwhelming. What do I do? How do I know if I did it right? What if something goes wrong? Will I know if something goes wrong? Is it really safe? And the fears and questions go on. Just calm down and remember,
fermented foods and drinks have been around for thousands of years.
This was the way people preserved foods before refrigeration, freezing, or canning was around. So that means it was done by everyday folk, all around the world without knowing exact temps and having all the modern conveniences and sanitation that we have today. In other words, you can do this!
Now that your ready, here’s what you need:
Make sweet tea. Fill a glass jar with almost 1 gallon of hot water. Mix in 1 cup sugar. Add in 8 tea bags (2 TBS) of black, green, or white tea. (Any tea that is not flavored with oils and preferably organic. I use this kind.)
Let cool to room temp then strain out tea bags.
Add your SCOBY (purchase SCOBY here) and about 2 cups unflavored kombucha (store bought or previous batch). *If this is your first brew and you don’t have any kombucha, add about 1/4 Cup white distilled vinegar instead.
Cover and sit on counter out of sunlight, for 5-10 days.
A new SCOBY will have formed sealing the top of your brew during this time. The longer it brews the more sour it will be. You can begin tasting your brew around day 5 and bottle it when it tastes pleasantly sour to you.
Bottle your brew in individual bottles (these are the ones I use ) or in one or two large bottles reserving the SCOBY and about 2 cups for your next batch. At this point you can add any fruit, herbs or seasonings to the bottles. Your brew is finished at this point (but not carbonated) and can be drank cold or room temp. *Update- On the video I say I don’t like to reuse storebought bottles because the caps don’t seal and are hard to clean, but I’ve found these Caps for Kombucha bottles which work great and are an extremely cheap way to start out if you already drink Kombucha and save your bottles. 🙂
For a carbonated brew, leave your closed bottles on the counter for 1-3 days. The longer it sits the more carbonated and sour it will taste, so start tasting after 1 day and continue until it suits your taste. Then place in the fridge to stop the carbonation and keep it at that taste. And if your wondering what all this LOOKS like, here’s a video 🙂
A few helpful hints to remember when brewing kombucha:
1. Keep your batch covered the ENTIRE time with a breathable material. It needs air, but not pesky flies.
2. Keep your brew out of direct sunlight and don’t move it. It needs to be still to form a new SCOBY.
3. Don’t use antibacterial soap on your hands, jars or utensils (you could kill your SCOBY). Also don’t use any kind of reactive metal.
4. Don’t overthink this! Have fun with it! Now you’re on the road to filling up your kitchen with homemade kombucha and filling your body with probiotics and fermented, healthy goodness!