Brewing Kombucha at Home
Makes approx. 1 gallon
You will need…
- 3 1/2 quarts water
- 1 cup of sugar (regular white “table” sugar is fine)
- 8 bags black tea (or 2 tablespoons loose tea)
- 2 cups of starter tea from last batch of kombucha or from a friend
- 1 SCOBY for each jar (a SCOBY is NOT a must – the starter tea IS!)
- Stovetop pot to make the tea
- 1-gallon glass jar (I use old 1 gallon pickle jars…wash them well and let them air out for about a week before)
- Tightly woven cloth (like clean cloth napkins or towels), coffee filters, or paper towels to cover the jar (I use a rubber band to keep my coffee filters/paper towels in place)
- Bottles for the “booch” when it is done brewing – I use wide mouth Mason Jars (for everything!) I normally use (3) one-quart jars (you’ll need to save 2 cups for the next batch)
- Small funnel (optional, good is you use smaller neck bottles)
- Large stainless steel strainer (optional – I strain my kombucha when I bottle it and when I pour a glass!)
*** Avoid contact between #allthingsmetal and your kombucha during and after brewing. It could affect the flavor of your kombucha.
How to make the tea…
**(if you are a southerner, you already know how to do this!)
Bring the water to a boil. Take the water off the heat and add the sugar, stir until it dissolves. Drop in the tea (bags or loose) and allow it to steep until the water cools. When the tea has cooled off, remove the tea bags or strain the loose tea from the pot, pour the sweet tea in your gallon jar, and then stir in the starter tea – be sure to use a wooden spoon (plastic will work but I prefer wooden when stirring Kombucha😉 )
Adding the SCOBY: Pick up the SCOBY (use CLEAN hands to avoid any bad bacteria getting in your tea – yeah…it’s slimy too so don’t drop it!) and gently slide it into the jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of tightly-woven cloth, coffee filters, or paper towels and secure it with a rubber band. I have found that coffee filters work best – especially when I write the start date of the brew on the filter!
Keep the jar at room temperature (in the winter time you can buy flat heat strips or use a small string of non-LED clear lights – it needs to stay between 70-80 degrees), out of direct sunlight, and where it won’t get bumped. Let it ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking the taste daily starting about day 6 (you can lift the “lid” and sneak a straw under the SCOBY and pull out a little “booch” in the straw to taste it)
It’s not unusual for the SCOBY to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways during fermentation. A new transparent looking layer of SCOBY should start forming on the surface of the Kombucha in a few days. It usually attaches itself to the old SCOBY, but if it doesn’t it’s ok!!! You may also see brown stringy “tentacles” floating under the SCOBY, or some collecting at the bottom of your jar, and bubbles collecting around the SCOBY. These are all signs that the fermentation is happening and it’s perfectly normal.
Wash your hands thoroughly and then lift the SCOBY out of the kombucha and put it on a clean plate. If it is getting too thick, you can pull the bottom layer (or two) off.
Using a glass measuring cup, pour 2 cups of kombucha into glass bowl or Mason Jar to save for your next batch. The rest of the “booch” you can strain (you don’t have to if you don’t mind the “sediment”) into glass bottles or jars for storage (again, I use wide mouth mason jars). **Note: never use plastic bottles to brew or store your Kombucha!
Putting your Kombucha in the fridge at this point stops any more fermentation. You should have a little bit of fizz from this 1st fermentation and if you are going to flavor and do a second fermentation, do not refrigerate! Your bottled and refrigerated Kombucha is good for about a month or so in the fridge.
With your reserved starter tea, start the process all over again to you’re your next batch of Kombucha Tea!!!!
And there you have it…Home Brewed Kombucha! Enjoy !!!
Until next time…