How to Brew Kombucha

G’day eaters!

Life at the beach is still pretty grand. I’ll give you a blow by blow when I show you WIAW (which will be posted on Thursday because tomorrow I’m taking the day off).

But for now, I’m going to get all wordy on you and teach you how to make kombucha!

Yes, you know that really delicious, but really expensive carbonated, fermented drink you buy far too often for your budget at the grocery store?

Well, it’s so wonderfully easy to make at home that you now have no excuse for spending so much money on drinks.

Step 1: SCOBY

A SCOBY, which stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, is the mushroom that your ‘bucha grows off. If you want to buy one I hear Kamp Kombucha is really good.

I’m broke so I grew my own. If you want to do that you’ll need:

1 jar GT’s Original Plain Kombucha

1 c filtered water

1 plain black tea bag

2 T cane sugar*

1 jar large enough

1 breathable cloth**

1 rubberband

Brew the tea in the water and mix in the sugar. Once the tea cools to room temperature, pour it and the bottled kombucha into the jar. Cover the lid only with the cloth, secure it with a rubberband, and place it in a warm, dark place (I used the cabinet closest to my stove) for up to 3 weeks.

A SCOBY and a baby sitting in kombucha.

A film — the SCOBY! — should start to form after about a week. It usually forms on the top, but it’s fine if it falls. Once it’s about ¼” thick (a little less is fine), remove the SCOBY to a bowl and cover it with at least ½ c of the liquid you grew it in. Throw out the rest of the liquid. Now you’re ready to brew!

To brew you’ll need:

1 SCOBY

1 gallon jar

1 gallon filtered water

8 plain black tea bags

1 ½ c cane sugar

1 breathable cloth

1 rubberband

at least ½ c kombucha (this can be from a bottle, a previous batch, or the liquid you grew it in, but it has to be plain)

Ready to ferment!

Brew the tea and mix in the sugar. Once the sweetened tea cools to room temperature, pour it into the jar. Add in the SCOBY and the liquid it’s sitting in. Cover the lid with only the cloth and secure it with a rubberband. Place the jar in the same warm, dark place for 4-10 days.

The length of time you let the ‘buch ferment is up to your taste. The longer you let it sit the more acidic it’ll taste. I like it sour, so I left it the full 10 days, but I suggest tasting a little bit with a straw every couple of days after day 4 until you figure it out.

Once the kombucha is to your liking, it’s time to bottle.

To bottle you’ll need:

~8 16-ounce bottles with an air-tight cap

funnel

juice, as desired

A new, smaller SCOBY — a “baby” — will have formed. You can keep it or throw it out, but generally a SCOBY will only be good for about 6 brew cycles, so eventually you’ll need to keep one.

Remove the SCOBYs to a bowl and cover with at least half a cup of kombucha. Put the funnel in a bottle and pour in as much or as little juice as you’d like.

I put about a teaspoon of fresh ginger juice and a combinations of about 2 tablespoons of 100% apple-raspberry and 100% apple-cherry juice in each bottle.

Then, using a ladle, pour kombucha into each bottle until almost entirely full. Put the lid tightly on the bottles and place them in the same dark, warm spot for up to 5 days.

This next step is optional. It allows the kombucha to carbonate more and for the flavors to mellow a little. It’s not necessary, but it’s nice. After the bottles sit for up to 5 days, move them to the fridge. Once they’re chilled they’re ready to drink!

It may seem like a lot of steps, but each step requires less than an hour of work. And in the end you have about 8 bottles, a roughly $24 value, of as fresh as it gets kombucha.

Not bad for a couple of hours of work, right?

PleasepleasePLEASE do let me know if you brew some and if you have any questions. I’d be happy to answer what I can.

What do you think, eaters:

Would you ever brew your own kombucha?

What’s your favorite flavor?

Later eaters! And have a very happy, safe (no drunk driving or blowing yourselves up with fire works) 4th!

*You can try a sugar substitute, but from everything I’ve read it won’t work. The sugar is a vital food source for the SCOBY, so be careful with any tweaks.

**By a breathable cloth I mean a dish towel or a paper towel. You need to let the air in and the dust and bugs out, so a cheese cloth won’t work.

Comments

  1. Barney says:

    Thanks for sharing this brew. I'd like to try it at home. I wonder if I can make milk tea out of it?
    Brownstone Brewing Company

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