Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage made from a variety of bacteria and yeasts that, together with black or green tea and sugar, produce a delicious fermented beverage.
Home Brew Kombucha
- Measure out appropriate amount of ingredients:
- 14 cups water
- 5-6 tea bags
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup starter
For just a 1L jar (approx.):
- 3 cups water
- 2 tea bags
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup starter (leftover brewed kombucha from previous batch)
- Brew your tea and dissolve the sugar while still warm/hot. Allow brewed tea to sit until it reaches room temperature (either in a tea pot, jar or pot). Alternatively, you can add a few ice cubes to speed up the process but you don’t want to dilute it too much. I typically will brew my tea at night, pour into jar(s), cover with paper towel and allow to sit out on the counter until the morning before putting in SCOBY.
- Once brewed tea reaches room temperature, add some starter tea (1/2 cup to 1 cup) and your SCOBY.
- Cover jar with cheesecloth or paper towel, secure with an elastic and set somewhere away from heat and out of direct sunlight.
- Allow to sit, undisturbed, for 7-10 days. Your SCOBY may move, lay sideways, bubble, or create stringy bits. You should see an opaque layer forming on the top; this is the new baby SCOBY growing! This is a sign you’ve got a healthy brew. You may also see bubbles and stringy bits happening on the top – all perfectly normal. You may notice a slight vinegar-y smell in the near vicinity of your brew too; this is just a result of the fermentation. Your new baby SCOBY may attach to the “mother” SCOBY or it might be separate in which case, you’ll have two SCOBY’s.
- I would suggest testing your kombucha (using a wooden spoon or pour a bit out of the jar) starting at day 7 and each day after until you get your desired taste. The longer you leave it to ferment, the more vinegar-y it will taste. I typically leave mine for between 7-10 days depending on how warm my house is (warm=faster fermentation, cold=slower).
Second Ferment (Optional)
- This is where you get to play with flavours!
- You will need a second, smaller jar or other sealable glass container.
- Pour about 1 cup of liquid from your brewed kombucha into the small jar (enough to submerge your SCOBY).
- With clean hands, gently remove SCOBY from the original brew (don’t forget to sanitize/wash your hands first!) and place into smaller jar with liquid. Seal your container. If using a mason jar, I recommend placing a layer of saran wrap between the lid and the jar to ensure SCOBY doesn’t come into contact with metal or any metal particles. Find your SCOBY a nice new home to chill out until you want to start your next brew! Away from heat, out of sun
- Add fresh fruit or juice to original jar and replace lid (this keeps in the carbonation). The amounts will depend on desired taste… probably about 1/2 cup juice or fresh/frozen fruit would be sufficient for a 1L brew! **Don’t add juice to anything your SCOBY is still in as it will damage poor Scooby.**
- Allow to sit again (patience is key) for about 3 days, opening the lid of the container 2-3 times a day to let any carbonation escape as pressure can build up.
- Transfer to the refrigerator and enjoy!!
- Don’t allow your SCOBY to come in contact with metal as it can damage poor Scooby (even metal lids on jars).
- Wash your hands using white vinegar and warm water to sterilize (I use boiling water to wash my jars and pot for making tea every time too!).
- Keep SCOBY and kombucha out of direct sunlight, away from heat, away from garbage/compost.
- Don’t use other sweeteners for fermentation; honey and maple syrup don’t work and maybe harm SCOBY.
- If you have a batch and a new baby SCOBY doesn’t form, don’t sweat it. Sometimes they seem to grow more/less – every batch will vary.
- Happy to help if you have questions during your Kombucha journey!!!
Did You Know?
Did you know you can grow a SCOBY from a bottle of store-bought kombucha? So, even if you don’t have a friend who can give you one of their baby SCOBY’s, you can grow your own. All you need to do is purchase a bottle of Original (unflavoured) kombucha, pour it into a clean mason jar, cover with paper towel and secure with an elastic. Allow your kombucha to sit, undisturbed away from heat and direct sunlight, for around 2 weeks. You should see an opaque layer forming across the top i