Making your own kombucha is a snap. The whole process takes less than an hour, and at the end, you have a whole gallon of your own tart, fizzy fermented drink to enjoy whenever you want, at a cost that is less than you would pay for one small bottle at a health food store.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- Filtered Water
- Organic tea bags – must be black or green tea (not flavored herb tea)
- White granulated sugar
- A SCOBY mushroom (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) plus finished kombucha tea to serve as a starter. Note: If you don’t have a SCOBY, here’s a webpage that tells you how to make one of your own. (You can also buy one, but they are expensive.)
Equipment You’ll Need:
- One gallon glass jar (I use a SunTea jar)
- Coffee filters or paper towels and rubber band for covering the brewing container
- Food grade funnel
- Bottles and bottle stoppers (old wine bottles work well, as do Zyliss bottles stoppers)
- stainless steel pot
The amounts of ingredients depend on the quantity of kombucha you want to make. The general recipe calls for 1 quart of water, 2 tea bags, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/3 cup starter. A one-gallon brewing container will easily hold a 3-quart batch plus a cup of starter liquid.
Steps to Make Kombucha
- First, make sure that everything that will come into contact with your brew is scrupulously clean.
- In a stainless steel pot, boil the desired quantity of water for 10 minutes.
- Pour the boiling water into your brewing container, add tea bags, and let steep for 20 to 30 minutes or longer (strong tea is best for kombucha).
- Remove bags and add sugar. Stir to dissolve completely. Let mixture cool to 70-degree range. Please be sure to respect this temperature!
- When the liquid is cool, add SCOBY and starter liquid. Place a coffee filter or paper towel over the top of the container and rubber-band tightly.
- Ferment at room temperature away from direct sunlight for 8 – 12 days. I usually drape a kitchen towel over the entire jar and let it sit on the counter. Over time, the top surface of the tea will appear glassy, then jellylike with white patches, then it will become thicker and increasingly opaque.
This is your baby SCOBY forming. Your brew is ready when it tastes pleasantly tart and fizzy (like a carbonated apple cider). If you’re able to check the pH, it should be around 3.
- Pour the finished tea into bottles and seal. Try to get an airtight seal; otherwise, the tea may become vinegary too quickly. Note: Save the SCOBYs and some starter to use for your next batch.
- Let the sealed bottles sit at room temperature for two or three days to build up carbonation, then move them to the refrigerator. CAUTION: Don’t keep these filled bottles at room temperature for more than a week to avoid building up too much pressure, and ending up with exploded bottle all over your kitchen.
What should you do with your old SCOBY?
Include it along with the baby in your next batch, give it away, or compost it. You can also store extra SCOBYs in a glass container in some finished kombucha tea at room temperature. These can be used as backups or a lovely gift to a friend. Cover the container with a coffee filter. A new SCOBY will form over the top. You may occasionally want to draw off some liquid and replace it with an equal amount of sweetened tea.