Any time someone asks me for my kombucha recipe I cringe a little because I don't really follow a recipe.
A few years ago, I followed the steps from a recipe online, I don't remember which one, and since then, I've just been winging it and it seems to work out find every time.
So when someone asks me for the recipe, I just ramble off the steps and tell them to head to Pinterest if they get confused.
But because I'm so kind, I’ve decided to finally share how I make kombucha. At least now I can tell people to head to my blog (which is obviously the best ;) )
Anyways, I know ya'll are sick of the back-stories that company recipes and DIY blog posts these days, so I’ll just get to it. Here's how to make Kombucha, accompanied by a handy, printable PDF to stick on your fridge. (For people whom like to know a little bit about what they’re making and why they are drinking it, scroll to the bottom).
How to Make Kombucha
What you’ll need
- 1 x Gallon Sized Jar
- 4 x Grolsch Bottles
- Large pot for boiling water
- Cheese cloth or coffee filter and elastic band
- 1 x SCOBY (the starter culture) - this gooey clump of yeast and bacteria is what is going to ferment your tea. You can buy a SCOBY from Amazon, or perhaps your friend is willing to give you one, or, you can "breed" your own from a bottle of store-bought kombucha.
- 14 cups Water
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Kombucha
- 1 x healthy, active SCOBY
- 7-8 Bags of Black, Green or Oolong Tea (I prefer black) or 7-8 tsps of Loose Leaf Tea
STEP 1: Boil water in a large pot, then add sugar and tea (I prefer black tea). Stir to the dissolve sugar.
STEP 2: Allow the tea to cool to room temperature, remove tea bags/leaves, then transfer to a gallon sized glass jar and add the SCOBY and kombucha.
STEP 3: Cover the jar with a breathable lid (tea towel, cheese cloth, flat bottom coffee filter), and secure with an elastic band. Allow to ferment at room temperature for 1-2 weeks.
STEP 4: Remove the SCOBY(s) and 2 cups of liquid for next batch (store in a jar in your fridge). Bottle the kombucha into Grolsch style bottles (this phase is the "second ferment"). At this point, you can choose to flavour your kombucha with fresh fruit juice (about an inch in each bottle), or just leave it the way it is. Let the bottles ferment on counter for another 3-10 days.
Note: The longer you leave it at room temperature, the less sweet it will become and the more carbonated it will be. This part is up to you and your taste preferences! Once it is at your desired sweetness and fizziness, transfer to the fridge. It will continue fermenting but at a much slower pace.
Notes, Tips and Warnings
- SCOBY killers: decaf tea, flavoured tea, honey, metal, antibacterial soap
- Use very clean equipment to prevent mold and other bacterial growth
- Keep away from other ferments to avoid cross-fermentation
- Grolsch style bottle are used because they let out carbon dioxide slowly while preventing oxygen from getting in. This prevents the bottle from bursting as the CO2 builds in the bottle (and creates the fizz!)
- While fermenting, the kombucha can attract fruit flies in the summer so make sure it’s fully covered
- Add whole fruit or fruit juice to the second ferment, about an inch in each bottle, for added flavour
- The longer you leave the bottles on the counter during the second ferment, the more fizzy and less sweet it will become!
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink made from green or black tea (or both), sugar, yeast and bacteria, and is believed to have originated in China about 2,000 years ago. It’s made by adding a colony of live bacteria and yeast, known as a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), to sweetened tea and leaving it to ferment for a few weeks until it turns into a slightly sweet, slightly tart beverage that’s separated from the SCOBY and bottled.
What is a SCOBY?
SCOBY is an acronym for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Which is exactly what it is - a slimy clump of yeast and bacteria. It reminds me of a wet, slimy ear… very alien-like, actually. Or like, a fish eyeball…in case you ever poked at those as a kid.
Is Kombucha good for you?
There is a lack of human trials and scientific evidence when it comes to determining the health benefits of kombucha (source). That being said, kombucha does contain probiotics which are beneficial for the body.