Man, oh man, I love me some kombucha.
Kombucha is the original soda pop. It’s fizzy, but not too much, and you can flavor it any way you like. Literally, the flavor combinations are limitless, but even so, it’s just as good plain.
I really like that on top of being delicious, it’s also good for me! The naturally occurring probiotics feel great to my gut—they help me with digestion and also boost my immune system.
I especially like to drink kombucha when I’m traveling because you can find raw kombucha it in nearly any grocery store (unlike raw kefir). However, it’s expensive to buy in the grocery store on a regular basis, which is why I make it at home.
Making kombucha at home can be done on a shoe string budget. All you need is a large vessel, filtered water, white tea, green tea, sugar, and a SCOBY.
I got my SCOBY from my dear friend, Shaye Elliott, who blogs at The Elliott Homestead. SCOBY (sko-bee) stands for “Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast.” We affectionately call ours “The Jellyfish.” ;)
If you have a friend that brews kombucha, you can ask them for one of their SCOBY babies, or you can buy one online from my friend Hannah Crum at Kombucha Kamp.
Watch the video below for a quick, visual kombucha how-to.
How to Brew Kombucha
1.) Boil half the filtered water in a large pan.
2.) Once the water comes to a rolling boil, turn off the heat, and add the tea bags.
3.) Seep the tea for 20 minutes, then stir in the sugar.
4.) Once the sugar is dissolved, add the remaining half gallon of water.
5.) Test to make sure the water is completely room temperature, then pour into your large glass vessel, and add your SCOBY on top.
6.) Cover with a cloth, secure with a rubberband, and set in a warm spot. The top of the refrigerator works great.
7.) Allow to ferment for 2-4 weeks. If you live in a warm place, the fermentation process will happen more quickly. If it’s cold, it will take longer. As the tea ferments, the SCOBY culture will consume the sugar in the liquid. It’s a good idea to taste your tea periodically until it reaches the flavor you desire. I prefer mine less sweet because I flavor it with fruit juice, which is sweet. If you let your tea go too long, it can acquire a more vinegary taste. If this happens, it’s easy enough to fix this by adding more sugar-water and letting the tea fermented just a few more days until the flavor mellows.
8.) If you want to increase the carbonation in the tea, you can do what’s called “Second Fermentation.” This is where you downpour the tea into smaller vessels, flavor with fruit (optional), close tightly with a lid, and set out at room temp for 3-7 days before refrigerating. We use quart mason jars (buy here), but you can also use fancy stopper bottles (buy here).
What about you? Do you brew kombucha? How do you do it? What are your favorite flavors?
More things you can do with kombucha
Kombucha Popsicles from Healy Real Food Vegetarian
Kombucha Jerky from Holistic Squid
Kombucha Waffles from Natural Family Today
Candied Kombucha Mother from The Cultivated Life
Kombucha Jello from 20 Something Allergies
Hi. Couple of questions. I just got my first SCOBY. (i’m very excited!). I have sucanat. Can I use that? Also how would I go about making ginger kombucha? That’s my favorite kind.
Yes, I think sucanat is just fine to use. We make make ginger kombucha by flavoring during second fermentation. I peel and dice a 1.5 inch piece of fresh ginger, place it in these bottles, and then let them sit out at room temp for 3 days before refrigerating.
Sorry…follow up question. Could I flavor it with the ginger ale (wapf) that I just made?
I love kombucha, but I only let it brew for 6 days. I tried 8 days, but it was way too sour for me (but my house is REALLY hot, so maybe that has something to do with how quickly it brews) I’ve been flavoring it with lavender and hibiscus flowers – yummy!
This Scoby you speak of..I believe I find miniature ones in GT Kombucha bottles sometimes…It actually freaked me out the first time I had the slimy stuff. I’m not sure where to get a large Scoby. Could I fish that out..let it grow to a decent size..thinking I could even reuse the bottles.
I started out with a small SCOBY, but they will grow to the size of the jar you’re using. I started out with a quart size mason jar (so a little SCOBY) and then I moved it into a big gallon container like the one linked to in this blog post and it is the same size as the gallon container.
Awesome video! Awesome music! Have you done anything on continuous kombucha brewing. I started my first batch of bucha and am on the second ferment but am interested in the continuous brew. Thanks for the inspiration and education!
Thanks! I want to do another more in-depth video about continuous brew in the next month! Stay tuned! :)
Where can I get a scoby?
Check with your local Weston A. Price Chapter leader to see if you can get one locally. Or you can buy one online, along with a starter kit from http://www.KombuchaKamp.com.
what about the scoby? do you keep it in a jar? is it the same scoby that is sued over and over or does it grow? – sorry ive never used it before! how do you store it. can you make two batches at once? would it be separate then or double recipe?
Hey Faye! Sounds like you have a lot of questions! My friend Hannah at http://www.KombuchaKamp.com has a whole website full of information you might find helpful. I suggest you check it out! :)
Thanks! I just don’t think my brain was working properly. I watched it a couple times while tired. Then I just watched it now before reading your reply and it made total sense this time. haha :) I get my SCOBY tomorrow! I am so excited! :)
So, using the glass jars with the glass lids that you linked to will work? And it looks like in your video you have 2 jars. I think I am just confused. haha And I am trying to get this all right the first time I do it.
In the video, the two gallon jars are (1) the previous batch of kombucha that I flavored with pomegranate and lemon and (2) the kombucha I was currently brewing. And yes, the jars I linked to will work.