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Are you obsessed with kombucha but don’t love spending so much money on all those lovely bottles? Learn how to make kombucha at home! It’s incredibly easy to brew and it cost just pennies! Plus there are so many flavor options, you will never get bored.

What Is Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage. It’s been around for centuries but has gain popularity in the last few years and for good reason.

Thanks to the fermentation in kombucha, it is teaming full with probiotics which means it’s not only a delicious drink but it’s a healthy drink!

SCOBY for Kombucha

How is Kombucha Made

Kombucha starts as tea with sugar and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is added in which feeds off the kombucha as it ferments. After about a week or so of fermentation the kombucha is done. This is referred to as a “first ferment” and this is not carbonated like the bottles you find in the grocery store.

In order to achieve that bubbly goodness, kombucha is then fermented a second time usually with fruit for flavoring. This is referred to as a “second ferment”

Knowing how to make kombucha at home might sounds difficult and confusing but I promise, it is not! If you can make tea, then you can make kombucha!

how to brew Kombucha

Health Benefits of Kombucha

As I’ve already mentioned, kombucha is a healthy drink. I’ll be completely honest and say that most of the benefits of kombucha have yet to be officially proven…yet. That said, many of the nutrients in kombucha are linked to certain benefits so a connection can be made. 

Some of the more likely benefits of kombucha are:

  • Promotes Gut Health – Kombucha is full of probiotics and probiotics are very good things for your gut. [1,2]
  • Contains Many Nutrients – In just 8 ounces of  kombucha there is 25% folic acid, 20% of vitamins B2, B6, B1, B3, and B12!
  • Immunity Booster – Kombucha is rich in antioxidants which can help boost immunity.
  • Detoxifier – Kombucha is full of enzymes and helpful bacteria which help your liver in detoxifying your body [3]
  • Can Help Joints – Kombucha contains glucosamines and thus it may be a good preventative and a way to ease arthritis.

how to brew kombucha

Facts To Know Before Making Kombucha:

Metal hurts SCOBY’s. No metal should come in contact with your SCOBY/Kombucha.

Keep it clean. Just like all cooking, you want to use only clean quipment and hands to prevent bad bacteria growing.

Temperature matters. Brewing Kombucha works best at 70-75 degrees. Colder temps will mean longer brewing times. Hotter temps means shorter brewing times. (watch those 2nd ferment bottles in the summer! You don’t want them to over-ferment and explode)

No mold please! Yes, we are brewing some crazy looking stuff but mold is still a big no-no. If you see white, green, or black then it’s probably best to toss the whole batch. (I’ve been brewing for years and have never had mold but it’s important to know even if it’s rare)

How To Make Kombucha At Home

How To Make Kombucha At Home

What You Need For 1st Ferment:

14 cups water (divided)
1.5 tablespoons tea blend
1 cup sugar
2 cups “tea starter” (comes with new SCOBY or from your previous 1st ferment)
1 SCOBY
1 gallon glass jar
1 medium size pot
1 glass bowl
1 muslin tea bag

What You Need For 2nd Ferment:

3- 32oz flip top bottles (note: ultimately you need 6 bottles as you’ll be drinking 3 while brewing 3)
10-12 cups of 1st ferment kombucha
Enough flavoring ingredients for 3 flip top bottles (see below)

Directions:

-1st Ferment-

Place 1.5 tablespoons of tea blend into tea bag. (set aside)
Heat 5 cups of water in a medium size pot (roughly half full) to almost a boil.
Remove from heat.
Place tea bag into the pot. Let steep for 9-15 minutes. (I do 9)
Remove tea bag and add in 1 cup of sugar.
Stir until disolved.
Let pot of tea cool while you prep your flip top bottles

-2nd Ferment-

Fill three flip top bottles with flavorings of choice. (see below for ideas)
Bring your gallon jar which is full of the last batch’s 1st ferment to the same counter as the flip top bottles.
Scoop out 2 cups of the 1st ferment kombucha from the gallon jar and put into a decent size glass bowl. (this is our starter tea)
Remove SCOBY from jar and place in same glass bowl.
Pour the remaining 1st ferment kombucha into the three prepped flip top bottles.
(most use a funnel to do this, I pour into a clean french press and use that to carefully pour into the bottles.)
Allow flip top bottles to 2nd ferment in a warm, dark place for the next 5-7 days.
Transfer to refrigerator or drink!

-Back to that 1st Ferment-

You now have an empty gallon jar!

Top off that pot of tea with water so that it balances the tea temperature to room temp. (too hot and it will break your jar!)
Pour the diluted room temp tea into the gallon jar.
Top off gallon jar with room temp water leaving enough space for the 2 cups of “starter tea” and SCOBY which you will then add in as well.
Cover back up with the jar’s cloth (you can lightly set the plastic lid on top to prevent fruit flies from going crazy)
Allow your 1st ferment kombucha to brew in that gallon jar in a warm, dark place for 7-10 days.
Repeat the process again

Kombucha Flavoring Ideas

Flavoring with fruit
Add about 1/2 cup of fruit, puree, or juice per 32oz flip top bottle.
Fruit ideas – pineapple, strawberry, peach, any berries, apples, cherries (really any fruit minus banana. I’ve also found my kids do not enjoy lemon)

Flavoring with herbs/spices/extracts
Add about 1/4 tsp for spices and extracts (plus sugar) /  1-2 tbs for herbs (plus sugar)

Add in 1 tbs sugar for any bottle that does not contain fruit because the kombucha needs a “sugar” to eat to carbonate.
Herb/spice ideas – lavender, ginger, chai, mint.
Extracts – vanilla for “cream soda”, rootbeer extract for “rootbeer” etc

For more flavoring ideas, check out these 52 ways to flavor kombucha!

Helpful Kombucha Links:
How to Clean Kombucha Bottles
10 Mistakes Kombucha Brewers Make

 

Sources:
1. Jayabalan, R., Malini, K., Sathishkumar, M., Swaminathan, K., & Yun, S. E. (2010). Biochemical characteristics of tea fungus produced during kombucha fermentation. Food Science and Biotechnology, 19(3), 843-847.

2. Kurtzman, C. P., Robnett, C. J. and Basehoar-Powers, E. (2001), Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis, a new ascosporogenous yeast from ‘Kombucha tea’. FEMS Yeast Research, 1: 133–138. doi: 10.1111/j.1567-1364.2001.tb00024.x

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19420997