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How to Brew Kombucha at Home

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How to brew kombucha at home

Kombucha has become super popular lately with crunchy granola types and non-crunchies alike for its wealth of health benefits and fizzy alternative to soda. The only problem with kombucha is at $3+ a bottle this delicious elixir can get expensive quickly. Brewing kombucha at home is a great way to save money and have total control over the ingredients. This post will give you the 10 easy steps to brew kombucha at home so you can start enjoying your own home fermentation. You won’t be an expert just from this post, but you will be drinking your own home-brewed kombucha.

Big Book of Kombucha

For the encyclopedia level of everything you ever could possibly want to know about kombucha get The Big Book of Kombucha. It will answer the technical questions that may arise as you get more into brewing. This round up of kombucha guides is also a great resource to learn all there is to know about kombucha brewing.

Kombucha Brewing Supplies:

Gallon Glass Jar: You can buy gallon glass jars specifically marketed for brewing kombucha on Amazon for about $12. Or you can get a gallon jar of pickles at the grocery store for about $6. Do what you want with the pickles. Your gallon jar is what you will use for your F1 (1st fermentation).

SCOBY

SCOBYs chilling in some starter liquid

SCOBY: Stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Sounds gross but is actually amazingly powerful for improving gut health and providing your body beneficial cultures. They do not feel slimy or sticky, more like touching wet wax or petting a dolphin.

The best way to get a SCOBY (and some starter liquid) is from a local friend that already brews kombucha. Every time you brew a batch the SCOBY reproduces itself and creates a baby SCOBY. In just a few rounds of brewing you’ll find yourself with extra and will be eager to give them away. Lots of brewers store extra SCOBYs in a “hotel” where all their extra SCOBYs are fine to chill out and wait to be used in brewing. If you don’t have any friends that can give you a SCOBY, Kombucha Kamp is the most reputable online seller of SCOBYs. You want to be careful buying them online as not all sellers provide quality products.

Filtered Water: SCOBYs are living organisms so give them the good stuff just like you would want to drink yourself. Straight tap water can have all sorts of minerals, chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals that inhibit healthy growth of your SCOBY.

Black Tea: Kombucha is by definition fermented black tea. Some people will say you can make it with green or herbal tea but those teas do not have the tisanes and caffeine that your SCOBY wants to eat. Organic tea is of course best to provide a healthy growing environment for your SCOBY and different black teas will produce a variety of subtle flavors in your brewing.

Sugar: The bacteria and yeast in your SCOBY need sugar to survive. Though sugar is added at the beginning of the brewing process it is processed by the SCOBY and very little is left over for you to drink, leaving you with a sweet but not sugary drink.

kombucha brewingCloth Cover for Jar: As your kombucha is brewing you want to keep dust, mold spores, and bugs out of it. Any cotton cloth is fine to use, just make sure it has a decently tight weave. Cheese cloth will not work as the weave is too loose.

Rubber Band: Any old rubber band will do, you just need one big enough to hold your cloth in place over the mouth of the jar. Now I finally have a use for all those green rubber bands Whole Foods sends me home with every week.

Pressure Safe Bottles: As your kombucha goes through F2 (2nd fermentation) it will produce carbon dioxide. This is what gives kombucha its delightful fizzy carbonation, but also what can make F2 a dangerous mess. Pressure safe bottles help ensure the pressure from the CO2 does not cause the bottle to explode. It’s a good idea to burp (open them a little) your bottles during F2 to release any excess buildup of pressure. Homebrewing bottles are great for F2 but are a little tricky to clean because of their tight necks. I prefer to just buy GT’s Synergy or Kevita kombucha and save the bottles because their wide mouthes make for easier cleaning and if I’m going to pay $3 for a bottle it better have something in it 🙂

Ingredients for Flavoring: Fruit juices, pieces of fruit, herbs, and spices all make for great F2 flavorings. See the sign-up at the bottom of this post to get my free ebook with recipes.

kombucha bottlinesFunnel: For easy bottling a funnel is a must have. Ideally one that stays put in your bottles well without having to get someone else to hold it still for your while you pour.

2 Cup Measuring Cup: Yes, you could just use a regular 1 cup measuring cup and do it twice, but trust me, a glass 2 cup measuring cup makes this whole process easier and you’ll find it has uses beyond kombucha brewing too.

1 Cup Measuring Cup: You’ll need the 2 cup measuring cup for your starter liquid and the 1 cup measuring cup for your sugar. Much easier to just have separate measuring cups for each.

Brew Kombucha in 10 Easy Steps

The very first time you make kombucha will be a little different than when you are bottling and starting a new batch but the steps are still the same. When starting from scratch start at step five.

Step 1: Pour off 2 cups of starter from your finished F1 brew and set it aside for your new batch. (The first time you brew you will use the starter that came with your SCOBY)

Step 2: Using clean hands, set your SCOBY aside either in that starter you just poured off or in a SCOBY hotel.

Step 3: Put any flavorings you want for your F2 into your bottles

Step 4: Using your funnel, bottle your F1 leaving a about an inch of head room at the top of each bottle. Watch out for fizz! Let F2 sit out at room temperature for 2-3 days and then refrigerate.

Step 5: Clean your gallon jar with warm soapy water. Regular dish soap only, no antibacterial soap.

Step 6: Brew eight bags of black tea (organic preferred) with 2 cups water. Let steep for 6 minutes.

Step 7: Mix 1 cup sugar into tea until fully dissolved.

Step 8: Pour your 2 cups starter into your gallon jar and place your SCOBY in the jar.

Step 9: Once tea has reached room temperature, pour your tea concentrate into gallon jar and top off with filtered water.

Step 10: Cover with your cloth and let sit in a warm, dark, place with good circulation for about two weeks depending on temperatures.

18 Responses to “How to Brew Kombucha at Home

  • Emily Moore
    2 weeks ago

    This is so cool!

  • I’ve actually always wondered how to brew kombucha, but haven’t had the guts to try it myself yet!

  • Lisa Kingsbury
    2 weeks ago

    I’m pretty sure my husband loves kombucha more than he loves me! I would love to try and make it ourselves, but we’ve always been so intimidated. Thank you for sharing your process for brewing your own kombucha!

  • Ahhh this is perfect. My mother just asked me the other day if I knew how to make kombucha, I am going to forward this to her.

  • Love how simple and clear the instructions are! 🙂

  • Wow, I can’t believe kombucha is so easy to make at home!

  • yasiris
    1 week ago

    I had not idea how to make kombucha. This is pretty cool!

  • Yay!! I had a roomate who made kombucha but I never learned. Thanks for sharing how to make it! Can’t wait to start brewing my own kombucha now!!

  • Audrey
    1 week ago

    Thanks for this post! I didn’t realize how doable making kombucha is!

  • Elizabeth
    1 week ago

    Ohh I’ve always wanted to make my own kombucha! Great post!

  • Very cool tutorial! I didn’t even think that you could brew kombucha at home so this was so great to see, can’t wait to try it out.

  • Valerie
    1 week ago

    You need so many less supplies to make Kombucha than I thought! I’m going to have to try this out!

  • I’ve seen kombucha in the store and passed it up because I wasn’t sure about the ingredients and process. Thank you for showing how you make kombucha!

  • Whitney Majors
    1 week ago

    I’ve always wanted to try more kombucha but it’s not very readily available where I live. You make it sound so simple to do kombucha brewing! I may have to give it a try.

  • ashleigh
    1 week ago

    I’ve never thought of making my own Kombucha! You make it look so simple and fun!

  • Alekandra
    1 week ago

    What an informational post! I never thought about making my own kombucha.

  • I’ve never actually had kombucha before! I’m going to have to check out your e-book and try to brew my own kombucha at home,

  • Ooooh, love this tutorial on kombucha!! 🙂 I’ve never made my own, but props to people who do!

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