How to Make Your Own Kombucha
Kombucha is that trendy health drink that everyone seems to be drinking. Or maybe you're part of the population that doesn't know what kombucha even is. Or maybe you have tried it, but hate it (used to be me, but IMO it's an acquired taste). But maybe you're like me, obsessed with kombucha and spending every cent of your hard earned money on this bubbly fermented tea.
The solution isn't to give up drinking kombucha. After all, it's healthy, full of probiotics and antioxidants. So what should you do? Make your own! I know it sounds scary, especially because you may have seen photos of what THE MOTHER looks like, but it's actually pretty easy.
Video How To on Instagram Stories!
I got a kit from The Kombucha Shop which came with everything you need for a brew + more. Their kits have everything, but here are the basics of what you need. Try to use organic everything whenever you can for a higher quality brew.
One Gallon Glass Jar
1 SCOBY/the Mother
1/2 lb. Organic Sugar
15g Organic Loose Leaf Tea Blend (Black or Green)
Cotton Cover & Rubber Band
Optional: PH Strips and a thermometer
Let me get all your questions out of the way first:
What is a SCOBY and where do I get one?
SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast, and it's what eats the sugar in the brew and helps ferment the kombucha. It's leathery, slippery, slimy, and it's the mother culture for your cultures. You can purchase one from some place like the Kombucha Shop's kit, get some SCOBY from other Brewers (I have a bunch!), or you can grow your own.
Which kinds of tea?
Black, oolong, white or green teas. Avoid teas with extra oils, mixes, or herbs because it can promote mold growth. Black tea is the best for beginners because of its high caffeine content. It will be fun to play around with different teas after a couple brews!
All other questions and answers can be found on The Kombucha Shop's FAQ page.
Boil 4 cups of water in a pot.
Turn off the water once it's done boiling. Add 3 tablespoons of your tea (loose leaf tea can be in a pouch or you can use tea bags) to the water and let it brew for 5-7 minutes.
After 5-7 minutes, take out the tea bag and add 1 cup of organic sugar into your brew.
Once the sugar is dissolved, move everything into your glass jar.
Add 8 cups of cold filtered water to your glass jar with the brew. If you have a thermometer, check to make sure the water is between 68-86 degrees F.
Add your SCOBY into the mixture. If you have PH Strips, you can check to make sure your mixture is below 4.5. If it isn't, you can add white vinegar!
Cover your glass jar with the cloth and rubber band.
Store your kombucha at room temperature for 7-30 days.
You should see another layer of SCOBY forming at the top of your brew in the first few days. Taste it after 7 days using a non-metal spoon or straw! The longer you leave your kombucha results in less sugar and a more vinegary flavor.
Once your kombucha has the taste you want, take out the SCOBY and put it into another glass jar with enough liquid to cover the culture. If you plan on making your next brew right away, you can put this SCOBY on the side and follow the steps above again. If not, cover up the SCOBY in an airtight container and put it in the fridge until your next brew (up to 3 months).
Strain your kombucha liquid into an airtight bottle and leave it in a dark space that’s room temperature (I used my cabinet) for 2-3 days for natural carbonation to form.
2a. If you want to add extra flavors .or even a little bit of extra sugar, put them in an airtight bottle with the ingredients (fruit, juices, extracts, herbs, etc.). I used lemongrass, lychee, dragonfruit, and pandan for the flavors and played around with the ratios to make it taste the way I want it to. I think usually 20% of fresh fruit works well as a reference.
After 2-3 days, put the second fermented bottles in the fridge and then enjoy!