How To Make Home Brewed Kombucha – If I Can Do It, You Can Too

Lately, I’ve been seriously channeling my inner domestic goddess.

With summer on its way, I’m attempting to grow my own herbs, cook recipes with more than three steps, and keep plants alive and happy (let’s all keep our fingers crossed for that one). My current success rate has me feeling good and I think I’m ready to advance to the next level of house-renting millennial…

So I’ve decided to enter the world of home brewing and make my own kombucha.

I was so spoiled in Portland and I didn’t even realize it. Within a two block radius, we had three convenience stores that sold my favorite brand of kombucha (oh, how I miss you Brew Dr). There was literally a self-serve kombucha shop that offered several varieties on tap and had takeaway containers ranging from 16oz cups to 64oz growlers.

You can find kombucha in New Zealand, but at an exorbitant $5+ for a small bottle, it’s more of an occasional splurge than a grocery shop staple.

Missing my gut-regulating fizzy tea, I was inspired to make my own kombucha when a friend mentioned she was giving away some extra scoby. She explained that it wasn’t hard to make and assured me that if shit hit the fan, I could always start again with fresh scoby.

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a low-calorie probiotic tea, usually a combo of green and black tea, that’s fermented using a scoby. Scoby is a mixture of healthy bacteria and yeast that is the heart of every kombucha.

Why Drink Kombucha?

Kombucha contains probiotics that are good for your gut health and can help with digestion and inflammation. It’s a healthy alternative to soda that packs a punch with antioxidants and is totally refreshing on a hot day.

Why Make Your Own Kombucha?

Besides the sheer fun to playing mad scientist, tweaking your recipe to get your favorite flavors in each batch, it’s really nice to know what ingredients are in your drink. You control the ratio of black to green tea, it’s easier to limit how much sugar is added, and you’re able to add different fun flavors with each batch using fruit, juice, herbs or flavor extracts. Also, it’s extremely cost effective if you’ve got yourself hooked on the stuff and aren’t made of money.

The active prep time for making kombucha is about 30 minutes, then it’s a week give or take to ferment the tea and then another week after that to add flavors and fizz. If you brew kombucha weekly then you can set up a system where one brew is fermenting, one brew is being infused with flavor and getting fizzy, and you’ve got one bottle ready to drink.

IMG_0307.jpgHere’s what you’ll need for a one-quart batch…

  • 1.5 teaspoons of loose tea or three tea bags (I like to use 2 black tea bags and 1 green)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2-3 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup starter tea or vinegar
  • Scoby (source from a friend or learn how to make your own here)

BEFORE YOU START: Scoby does NOT like metal. When making kombucha make sure to use glass bowls/jars and wooden or plastic spoons.

Here’s the recipe!

  1. Using a nonmetal bowl, combine sugar and water, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add tea bags to the water and steep; you’re basically brewing a giant batch of tea.
  3. Cool the tea to room temperature. The tea may be left in the liquid as it cools or removed after the first 10-15 minutes, leave it in longer if you prefer a stronger cuppa. Remove the tea bags with a wooden or plastic spoon.
  4. Pour the cooled tea into a glass jar along with your scoby and starter tea or vinegar.
  5. Cover the jar with a cloth or coffee filter and seal with a rubber band.
  6. Place the jar somewhere away from direct sunlight and let sit for approximately one week. Taste the tea periodically until you’re happy with where it’s at.
  7. After one week, pour most of the liquid into a second glass jar, leaving a bit of starter tea in the original jar.
  8. (Optional) Add any bits of flavor you’d like to the fermented tea in the second jar, I’ve added frozen raspberries to my first batch but any fruit, juice, herbs, or flavor extract would work.
  9. Leave the flavored batch for a week; if it’s sealed tightly it should start to develop some fizziness.
  10. Repeat the process, adding a fresh batch of brewed tea and sugar to your scoby and starter tea.

If you’re regularly making kombucha, you’ll see your scoby start to grow. After a couple weeks, start halving your scoby, either tossing the excess or sharing it with a friend so they can make their own kombucha too!

Happy brewing my friends!


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