Last pregnancy, I craved carbonation and LOVED kombucha. At $4 a bottle, that really adds up, but I was nervous to attempt home brewing. It seemed somehow risky. Between pregnancies, I decided to purchase a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast- it’s like, the fairy dust that turns sweet tea into kombucha!) and got brewing. It’s SUPER easy to do, and nearly impossible to mess it up, once you’ve learned the basics!
After 6 months of brewing, my husband and I realized our brewing vessel was filled with extra SCOBY’s, and we decided to give them away. You’re either reading this because you’ve received one of my SCOBY gifts, or because Google sent you my way. Either way, I’m super excited for you to get brewing!
(Resource alert! Some of this is modified from KombuchaKamp.com. They’re a FANTASTIC Kombucha resource and shop.)
This makes 1-Gallon. Scale the recipe up or down based on the size of your brewing vessel.
- 1 cup sugar (white, refined works best)
- 4-6 bags tea – for loose leaf, 1 bag of tea = 1 tsp
- Kombucha Starter Culture – SCOBY (this is where I bought mine, via Amazon)
- 1 cup starter liquid (comes in the bag with the SCOBY)
- purified/bottled water (or filtered)
- tea kettle (or large pot)
- brewing vessel
- cloth cover
- rubber band
- Boil 4 cups of water.
- Add hot water & tea bags to pot or brewing vessel.
- Steep 7-15 minutes (we do a full 15 minutes), then remove tea bags.
- Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
- Fill vessel most of the way with cold or room temp purified water (to lower temp of water to lukewarm), leaving a couple of inches from the top for breathing room, and for the SCOBY and starter liquid.
- Add SCOBY and starter liquid.
- Cover with cloth cover and secure with the rubber band.
- Say a prayer, send good vibes, commune with your culture, or just say something nice (optional but recommended, since SCOBY’s are living cultures).
- Set in a warm location out of direct sunlight (unless vessel is opaque).
- Do not disturb for 7 days. (Takes longer, up to 21 days, in cooler environments.)
- After 7 days, or when you are ready to taste your kombucha tea, gently insert a straw beneath the SCOBY and take a sip. If too tart, then reduce your brewing cycle next time. If too sweet, allow to brew for a few more days. Continue to taste every day or so until you reach your optimum flavor preference. Your own Kombucha Tea Recipe may vary.
- Decant & flavor (optional).
- Drink as desired! Start off with 4-8oz on an empty stomach in the morning, then with meals to help with digestion or as your body tells you it would like some more! Drink plenty of water as it is a natural detoxifyer and you want to flush the newly released toxins out.
Kombucha brews and thrives best in a dark place between 75-85 degrees. You can use a heating mat if it’s too cool in your pantry or cabinet.
How to Bottle and Store Your Kombucha
- With clean hands, remove the culture(s) and place in a clean bowl.
- Ladle or pour 2 cups of liquid from the top of the brew over the cultures. This is your new starter liquid.
- Cover the bowl with a cotton cloth and sit aside.
- Find clean glass bottles with tight lids. Mason jars will use carbonation, so they aren’t recommended. Flip top bottles are excellent.
- If you’re flavoring your kombucha, add your fruit/juice/flowers/herbs directly into the bottles.
- Use a funnel to pour from your vessel into your bottles.
- Close the bottles and store back in your cabinet for 1-3 days, burping to release carbonation if necessary.
- Once the desirable carbonation and flavor level is reached, put the bottles in the fridge. Refrigeration slows flavor changes.
How to Start Your Second Batch of Kombucha
Follow the directions above, using the contents of your bowl (the SCOBY, baby SCOBY, and starter liquid) to create the new batch.
As your second SCOBY grows, you can move it to a hotel, and continue brewing with the original and a baby.
How to Make a Kombucha Hotel
Place your SCOBY with a cup or two of mature kombucha (starter liquid), and a couple of cups of new sweet tea, in a bowl. Cover with a cloth and store as you would a regular batch. Leave it undisturbed for a few weeks this first time, allowing the strength of the hotel to increase and for a thick SCOBY to grow.
Now, you’ll have a second fully grown SCOBY! You can start another batch brewing, or gift it to someone else.
How to Flavor Kombucha
I’ve actually never flavored mine, but you can add any fruits, herbs, juices, or flowers (mmmm, hibiscus) you like! (One of my girlfriends told me that blueberries and thyme is a great combination.) Think of your favorite cocktails or summery drinks. Any combinations you find you love in other beverages, you’ll also love in your kombucha.
How to Continuous Brew Kombucha
Continuous brewing is great because it makes for a much faster brewing experience. Instead of creating a full batch of sweet tea and using 10% mature tea (and waiting 2 weeks), you’re adding 25-50% sweet tea mix to whatever is left in your vessel (and waiting a week, if that).
Once you’ve poured a couple of bottles from your vessel, brew the corresponding amount of sweet tea mix, add lukewarm purified water, and add it to your vessel. Easy!
Questions? Comments? Leave them in the comments below!