Hey y’all. It’s hard to ignore the popularity of kombucha these days…but really why would you want to? It’s delicious and has so many health benefits for you. From probiotics, to antioxidants, to aiding against diseases, kombucha has become a staple in my every day eating habits. If you love the ‘buch just as much as we do, join the fun and start brewing your own today!
First off, you’ll need a scoby. The mighty symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast….sounds kinda gross but it’s what gives the ‘buch the almightly health benefits. While you could purchase a premade scoby here it’s much more fun and cheaper to start one yourself.
Here’s what you’ll need…
- Gallon size glass containers
- Cheese cloth or coffee filters with rubber bands
- Large sauce pan to boil water
- Wooden or plastic spoon (we prefer wooden utensils in the kitchen)
- 7 cups water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 black tea bags
- 1 cup unflavored original kombucha (don’t worry you won’t have to buy anymore once you’re done with your first batch!)
Creating the SCOBY…
Make sure your hands, equipment, and working area is clean and pristine before beginning. Also, ensure no metal of any kind will come in contact with your tea now and whenever you brew in the future as this will effect the taste and quality of your kombucha.
- Bring water to rapid boil, remove from heat, and stir the sugar in until completely dissolved. Place the tea bags in the water and allow to steep until tea is completely cooled. Once cooled, discard of the tea bags.
- Pour the sweet tea into your gallon glass container. Pour 1 cup of your unflavored store bought kombucha on top. Stir to combine.
- Cover the jar with cheese cloth or alternatively coffee filters and secure with rubber band. Place your jar of brew in a dark, room temperature, undisturbed area for 1-4 weeks. We choose the cabinet above the stove.
- Periodically check on your brew and the formation of the scoby. First there will be small bubbles that will then begin to group and connect into a thin film on the surface. The film will continue to thicken and develop, once it reaches approximately 1/4 inch thickness it is ready to use to make your first batch of drinkable ‘buch. The conditions of where you store your brew will determine the length of time it takes to reach the desired thickness. The tea used to create the scoby will be extremely vinegary and more than likely not pleasant to drink, you can use it to clean your counters or simply discard of it.
Now that you’ve got a healthy scoby you’re ready to brew your first batch of kombucha. You’ll need exactly the same equipment and ingredients as listed above. Also, you can play with the type of tea (green tea, rooibos, etc) you use to brew. Make sure you include some black tea though since that’s what momma scoby thrives on. Avoid some teas with added flavors since the oils can disrupt the scoby.
Sooo you’re ready to begin your first real batch of ‘buch…
- Bring 7 cups of water to rapid boil. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of sugar until it is dissolved. Place 4 tea bags to steep until completely cooled. Remove the tea bags once cooled.
- Once completely cooled and tea bags have been removed, stir in 1 cups of original unflavored store bought kombucha (yay it’s your last time you’ll ever buy kombucha again!).
- Make sure your hands are completely clean. Depending on your pouring skills, you may or may not need the funnel for this step. Once your brewed tea and 1 cup of kombucha is combined you’ll need to transfer it to your gallon size glass container where you grew the scoby. With clean hands, gently remove the scoby and place on a clean plate. Pour out the tea you used to grow the scoby. You don’t need to clean out the jar before pouring in your fresh brew in. Once the new brew is transferred, with clean hands gently place the scoby on the top.
- Cover the jar with cheese cloth or coffee filters and secure with a rubber band. Place jar in the same location you grew your scoby. Somewhere room temperature, dark, and undisturbed. It will need to ferment 7-10 days. Check the brew and scoby periodically.
- After 7 days, begin tasting your ‘buch daily by pouring a little into a cup to taste. Remember not to use any metal. When it reaches your desired levels of sweet and tart it’s ready for the next step.
- Now you’re ready to begin your next brew and infuse the current one before bottling. Reserve 1 cups of the current batch for your next brew and follow the steps above. Once you make and cool your sweet tea, combine in another gallon glass jar with the 1 cups of reserved ‘buch and add your scoby. Cover and set aside.
- Now that the scoby is removed from the current brew you can add your desired flavors and infusions. You can use dried lavender, honey, fresh ginger root, peppermint, fresh fruit or juices, herbs, spices… it can really be anything you want that will add flavor and benefits to your ‘buch. Once you add the desired infusions, cover with an airtight lid and set aside for another 1-2 days in a cool, dark place to allow for the carbonation to accumulate. Once the ‘buch is infused and carbonated to your liking, strain, bottle, and store these bottles of finished ‘buch in the fridge. Make sure you are checking daily during the infusion/carbonation process to ensure it doesn’t get over carbonated and explode, it’s possible, so just be mindful to avoid this. Best consumed within 2 weeks of refrigerating.
Please remember that the scoby is a living organism and needs to be taken care of. If you see any signs of mold it will need to be discarded and a fresh one started. Between batches when you remove the scoby to transfer, take a look and remove the bottom layers if it’s getting too big. You can gift this excess to a friend so they can begin their own homemade kombucha journey! Alternatively, the extra scoby can be composted. Please comment to share any tips or tricks you have for making kombucha. Got a question? I’ll help to the best of my ability. We’re all on this journey together 🙂
Much love, Nikki
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