Kombucha

I was asked (awhile ago – my apologies for the delay) to post a how-to brew kombucha blog.
For anyone who doesn’t know what kombucha is, click here to find out..
Here we go!

What you will need to make one gallon of kombucha is:

  • 1 gallon of pure filtered water
  • 5 tea bags (black tea – nothing flavored with oils, I use 1/2 black tea, 1/2 honeybush)
  • 1 cup of white sugar (for the scoby to eat…not you)
  • Vinegar
  • A large rubber band and a coffee filter
  • And of course, a scoby accompanied by kombucha from the last batch (for starter)

Begin by combining 5 tea bags with 1 cup of white sugar in a stainless steel pot with a quart or so of filtered water. Bring to a boil, and steep for 7-10 minutes. Let cool. The scoby can only survive at room temperature…adding tea thats too hot to it will kill it.

While your sweet tea brews, I’ll teach you how to process an already fermented batch of kombucha. Here’s what my kombucha looks like when I pull it out of the cupboard after 10 or more days.

After sanitizing my hands and a glass bowl with vinegar, I remove all the scoby’s and set them aside covered in kombucha to wait for the new tea.

I then sanitize store-bought kombucha bottles with vinegar so I can fill them up.

A quick tip on how to get the labels off store-bought kombucha bottles so you can re-use them – heat them in your oven for five minutes or so…

Using a pot holder, pull them out carefully, and using tongs or your nails, grab the edge of the label…the bottle will be extremely hot…

The label should pull right off. There may be a bit of glue left on the bottle, to get it off either you can rub your finger on the bottle until the glue balls up, then use the ball of glue to pull up the rest of the glue using a blotting motion. Or you can spray the bottle with WD-40 and wash the oily residue off with dish soap.

Ok…lets get back to brewing. Fill the sanitized kombucha bottles with your finished kombucha. Be sure to remember to sanitize the funnel as well.

Now they’re all full and ready for your fridge! Or if you want to you can put them back into the dark cupboard for whats called a “double fermentation”. This adds extra carbonation, so be sure you don’t fill them too full or they could explode.

Now that your gallon glass jars are empty, you can start the process over again.. if this is your first time, this is where you’ll pick up after brewing your sweet tea.

Separate the sweet tea evenly between your jars like this..

Then add filtered water..

Drop in your scoby, and add a portion of the starter that it was soaking in..

I have more than one scoby in each of my jars, so yours will probably look different than this.

To cover your kombucha and protect it from fruit flies while fermenting, you will need a large rubber band and a coffee filter

Cover your kombucha and place it in a warm, dark place for optimum fermentation.

There are many ways to flavor your kombucha either during the double fermentation process or while it chills in your refrigerator. My personal favorite is to drop a chunk of fresh ginger into the bottle and leave it from a few hours up to a few days. You can also use juice, fruit, fresh herbs, and berries to flavor your kombucha.

Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have about brewing, and I’ll do my best to give you an answer!

Enjoy!

9 thoughts on “Kombucha”

  1. Morning Miss Carli, I was wondering since you have been using this drink have you noticed a difference in how you feel? Or do you use it to help with general health?

    1. Hi Holly! I mostly use it for general health, but the main draw for me is that it’s lacto-fermented. Dayly struggled a lot with digestion issues stemming from her surgery at birth. However, now with the help of raw milk and kombucha, she has no signs of digestion issues, and her immune system is all caught up! Good digestion and healthy immunity go hand in hand, and anything lacto-fermented aids in digestion. Our favorites are kombucha and sauerkraut! :)

  2. Thanks so much! How much longer do you leave the jars in the cupboard in order for more carbonation?

    1. I leave them in for another five days or so Faith. It’s really up to you how carbonation you like…you can sanitize a straw and taste it to see if it’s to your liking as well :)

    1. Usually I allow mine to double ferment first, then I add fruit to each bottle the day I plan on drinking it. Fruit seems to infuse easily into kombucha, making it a quick step in the process :)

  3. This is the best kombucha instruction and illustrations I have seen. WD 40 to remove the gummy residue on the bottles=brilliance. I had a clean up on my group of them that only took 10 minutes. THANK YOU!!

  4. Thanks for the great instructions! I have two questions.
    How long do you keep the brew Fermenting in the
    Big jar? I heard 14- 30 days. Is this right? And how
    Long can you store the bottles in the frig before they
    Go bad? We all love it and my daughter started me
    On this & it’s exciting to make our own! Thanks again.

    1. Hi Denise! Thank you for the questions! I leave my tea in the big jar for 14-21 days…I have left it longer, but it got pretty vinegary. Always feel free to taste your kombucha with a vinegar “sanitized” straw. If its to your liking – have at it! :) My bottled kombucha has never made it very long in the fridge because I drink it, but I’ve noticed kombucha in the store has a shelf life of two weeks or so! Again, “old” kombucha just means that it will have a strong vinegar flavor, but it’s still alright to drink if you can handle it :)

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