Kombucha Homebrew

Some people like cream or honey with their tea, but how about some bacteria? Enter: Kombucha. Kombucha is thought to originate in the Far East. The first recorded use of Kombucha comes from China in 221 BC during the Tsin Dynasty. It was known as “The Tea of Immortality.”

Kombucha is made by adding specific strains of bacteria, yeast and sugar to black (or green) tea, then allowing it to ferment for a week or more. During this process, bacteria and yeast form a mushroom-like film on the surface of the liquid, which is why it is also referred to as “mushroom tea.” The mushroom-like blob is a living symbiotic colony of bacteria, better known as SCOBY. This is what is used to ferment new Kombucha.

My mom has been making her own Kombucha for awhile now, and kindly gave me a SCOBY to get my tea started. There are also kits* you can buy that include both the starter tea and SCOBY to get you started.

These are the base ingredients needed to get a batch started:

  • Water (free from chlorine and fluorides)
  • White cane sugar (which the SCOBY will feed on)
  • Tea bags or loose tea (black tea* works best, but there are other options, like green tea, that you can use after your Kombucha is reliably culturing for a few batches)
  • Starter tea (tea from a previous batch of Kombucha) or distilled vinegar (the acidic liquid help keep the proper pH)
  • An active SCOBY (which acts as the starter culture)
  • Glass container* (make sure it is safe at high temperatures), cheese cloth (or coffee filter), and rubber bands to secure the cloth

If it is your first time making Kombucha, and you don’t feel completely comfortable with it, I’d suggest starting with a smaller batch. Or, if you are adventurous, like me, go ahead and go for a gallon! Here are the different ratios, substitute accordingly.

Kombucha Ingredient Ratios:

One-Quart Batch:

  • 2 tea bags (or 11/2teaspoon loose tea)
  • 1/cup sugar
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup starter tea or vinegar

Half-Gallon Batch:

  • 4 tea bags (or 1 tablespoon loose tea)
  • 1/2cup sugar
  • 6-7 cups water
  • 1 cup starter tea or vinegar

Gallon Batch:

  • 8 tea bags (or 2 tablespoons loose tea)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 13-14 cups water
  • 2 cup starter tea or vinegar

Gather all of your ingredients and let’s make Kombucha!

First, pour sugar and hot water into the glass jar. The water does not need to be boiling, as long as it is hot enough to steep the tea. 

Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves. 

After the sugar is completely dissolved, dip the tea bags into the water and let steep.

Let the mixture cool until it has reached 68-85 degrees F. Take the tea bags out after the first 10-15 minutes, or leave in the liquid until it has completely cooled, completely up to you (keep in mind, the longer the tea is left in the liquid, the stronger it will be).

After the tea is cooled and tea bags have been removed, add the starter tea (or distilled white vinegar, if using as a substitute).

Give the liquid a nice stir, the slip in an active Kombucha SCOBY.

Cover the top of the jar with a square of cheese cloth (or coffee filter) and secure with a rubber band.

Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed, out of direct sunlight, for 7-30 days, or to taste. I kept mine in the kitchen pantry. The longer the kombucha ferments, the less sweet and more vinegary it will taste. Also, periodically check to make sure to the temperature is kept between 68-85 degrees F.

After it is done fermenting, pour the kombucha off the top of the jar into another container for consuming. Keep the SCOBY and enough liquid from the bottom of the jar to use as a starter tea for the next batch.

Now your homebrew is complete, cheers! Drink to your gut health.

KITCHEN UTENSILS:

Kombucha Homebrew

  • Servings: 1 gallon
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

Base Ingredients:

  • Water (free from chlorine and fluorides)
  • White can sugar (which the SCOBY will feed on)
  • Tea bags or loose tea (black tea works best, but there are other options, like green tea, that you can use after your kombucha is reliably culturing for a few batches)
  • Starter tea (tea from a previous batch of kombucha) or distilled vinegar (the acidic liquid help keep the proper pH)
  • An active SCOBY (which acts as the starter culture)

Ingredient Ratios:

    One-Quart Batch:

  • 2 tea bags (or 11/2teaspoon loose tea)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 1/2cup starter tea or vinegar
  • Half-Gallon Batch:

  • 4 tea bags (or 1 tablespoon loose tea)
  • 1/2cup sugar
  • 6-7 cups water
  • 1 cup starter tea or vinegar
  • Gallon Batch:

  • 8 tea bags (or 2 tablespoons loose tea)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 13-14 cups water
  • 2 cup starter tea or vinegar
  • Directions

    1. Add sugar and hot water into the glass jar. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves. The water does not need to be boiling, as long as it is hot enough to steep the tea.
    2. After the sugar is completely dissolved, dip the tea bags into the water and let steep.
    3. Divide up the vegetable into separate portions, place in Tupperware, then keep in refrigerator. Leave out the portion you are wanting to cook, placing it in mixing bowl.
    4. Let the mixture cool until it has reached 68-85 degrees F. Take the tea bags out after the first 10-15 minutes, or leave in the liquid until it has completely cooled, completely up to you (keep in mind, the longer the tea is left in the liquid, the stronger it will be).
    5. After the tea is cooled and tea bags have been removed, add the starter tea (or distilled white vinegar, if using as a substitute).
    6. Give the liquid a nice stir, the slip in an active kombucha SCOBY.
    7. Cover the top of the jar with a square of cheese cloth (or coffee filter) and secure with a rubber band.
    8. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed, out of direct sunlight, for 7-30 days, or to taste. The longer the kombucha ferments, the less sweet and more vinegary it will taste. Also, periodically check to make sure to the temperature is kept between 68-85 degrees F.
    9. After it is done fermenting, pour the kombucha off the top of the jar into another container for consuming. Keep the SCOBY and enough liquid from the bottom of the jar to use as a starter tea for the next batch.
    10. Enjoy your homebrew!

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