Making your own kombucha at home is really quite easy – it's become a new weekly thing in my household and I LOVE the taste! It is so good, and so healthy as it contains 1 billion probiotic strains. So many good bugs for your gut! Here's a tutorial on how I do it.
Kombucha Coocha – What the Heck is It?
Kombucha, also known as the “magic elixir of life,” is an ancient beverage (goes back more than 2,000 years!) produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria (also known as a SCOBY, which is an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, a cousin to the “mother” of vinegars because of its ability to reproduce, or “mushroom” because of its appearance). Sounds weird and strange in our times, but back in the olden days, it was the way food and drinks were made. It made unclean water healthy enough to drink and preserved foods for a very long time since no one had refrigeration. It actually gets fizzy, just like soda, so it is a very healthy way to kick and replace a soda habit!
Your Gut Will LOVE It!
Kombucha has an array of health benefits:
- It detoxifies the liver and body.
- It aids in cancer prevention (high in Glucaric Acid, which studies show it helps prevent cancer!).
- It supports the joints.
- It aids in digestion and gut health (high in enzymes & probiotics).
- It boosts the immune system.
Why? Because it is full of probiotic strains which are known for their ability to support health and wellness in the entire body. Processed foods, chemicals, preservatives, food dyes, pesticides, herbicides all contribute to wrecking the insides of our intestines and the balance of good vs. evil bacteria gets thrown out of whack. Probiotics are essential as they get that good bacteria back in so our immune systems can work properly. I use essential oils and probiotics, along with a real food diet, on a daily basis to further support my immune system.
(This article goes further into depth on the health benefits of kombucha.)
Kombucha has become my family's new obsession – the kids love it, I love it, and my husband loves it. Part of the reason is that I rarely buy anything other than almond milk and the once-a-month organic, unfiltered apple juice. So, fresh, clean water it is most of the time! The thing is, Kombucha is EXPENSIVE to buy at the store – $3.50 for just 16 ounces. You can make it at home for a whole lot cheaper and still reap those wonderful probiotic benefits!
- A SCOBY (see note below)
- Glass mason jars or a gallon jug for brewing
- Organic sugar (this one is my favorite) (white sugar works best, avoid )
- Organic black or green tea (I like Numi's organic Earl Grey tea because it has citrus rind peels and bergamot in it for extra flavor)
- An electric tea kettle (this is the one I have) makes this process even easier
- White distilled vinegar (if you have no current kombucha starter culture) (only white distilled works, apple cider will not)
- Extra flavor – you can add fruit juice, dried herbs and fruit, etc. but only after you've fermented the tea. But that's another post for another day!
Additional Information on Supplies
THE SCOBY: You can get the kombucha starter SCOBY culture, either from a friend or like this one from Amazon. I suggest getting one that is a kit, with organic tea bags, instructions and everything as it makes getting started a LOT easier.
THE JUG: I personally use a gallon jug so I can make a lot at one time as we drink it daily.
TEA: Green tea ferments faster than black, but doesn't have as strong of a flavor. English Breakfast teas, like the one I suggested from Numi, will make a nice, strong tasting kombucha which is how I like it.
UNUSED SCOBYS can be stored in kombucha tea at room temperature for up to six weeks, in a container like a mason jar with a tightly covered lid. Give extra scobys to friends or compost.
WARMER TEMPERATURES help the tea to brew faster. Cooler temperatures will slow the process and fermentation will cease when it's below 60°F. Then, the SCOBY turns to pure mold and it's disgusting! (speaking from experience here!)
How to Brew It
See the chart below to know quantities, as it varies according to your container.
- Combine hot water and sugar in a glass jar, leaving room at the top of your container for a portion of either vinegar or kombucha starter and a SCOBY. Stir to dissolve.
- Add tea. Steep for about 5-10 minutes and remove tea bags.
- Cover the jar with a towel and let the hot tea cool to room temperature (68°-85°F).
- Add the kombucha starter culture (from a previous batch or white distilled vinegar if it's a new batch) and the SCOBY but not with a metal spoon – plastic or stainless steel only.
- Cover the jar with several layers of cheesecloth or any other breathable cloth that will not let tiny bugs through (even coffee filters work) and a rubber band (to keep bugs and dust out).
- FERMENT scherment – Set on your counter or someplace in your house where the temperature stays 68°-85°F, and out of direct sunlight and ferment undisturbed for at least 7 days.
- For a stronger taste, ferment 10-16 days, and for homemade vinegar, ferment 21-30 days.
NOTE: If you are brewing several batches, keep them at least 4 feet away from each other to avoid cross-contamination.
- ONE QUART
- TEA: 1/2 teaspoons loose tea or 2 tea bags
- SUGAR: 1/4 cup
- WATER: 2-3 cups
- VINEGAR OR STARTER TEA: 1/2 cup
- HALF GALLON
- TEA: 1 tablespoon loose tea or 4 tea bags
- SUGAR: 1/2 cup
- WATER: 6-7 cups
- VINEGAR OR STARTER TEA: 1 cup
- TEA: 2 tablespoons loose tea or 4 tea bags
- SUGAR: 1 cup
- WATER: 13 or 14 cups
- VINEGAR OR STARTER TEA: 2 cups
After 7 Or More Days
- Remove the SCOBY from the brewing jar to another jar, along with 1-3 cups of kombucha tea (to use as starter culture), but again, with a stainless steel or plastic spoon, NOT metal. Then store on the counter until you're ready for the next batch.
- Drink and enjoy your homemade fermented tea!
- Drink within one month of bottling. Carbonation increases over time, so be careful when opening those new bottles! Chilling minimizes the carbonation.
I like to drink mine cold straight from the fridge – love the way it tastes that way! The bubbliness of it makes me feel energized and I think more clearly when I drink, so I've been able to go off my coffee addiction by replacing it with this golden liquid!