Most people have a habit of spending tons of money on coffee each week. For me, it’s kombucha! For being a lactose intolerant gal who often has digestion issues, kombucha has been my saving grace while I’m still working on improving my gut and digestive health. I’m sure many of you can say the same.
However, what hits home harder for me is how much money I’m spending on it – so why not save some cash and make it at home? I promise you, it’s not as hard as it may seem, but like all with all things – practice makes perfect. And don’t worry about all the money you have already spent on kombucha – save those awesome glass bottles so that you can bottle your future brews.
Luckily for me, one of my sweet friends taught me how to make kombucha – and now I can teach you!
A DIY Guide to Making Kombucha at Home
What You’ll Need:
- 1 Gallon Glass Brewing Vessel (make sure it’s a wide mouth, so you can fit your SCOBY!)
- 4-6 Tea Bags of Organic Green or Black Tea
- You can also use 1-2 tablespoons of loose leaf tea.
- Starter Culture (SCOBY)
- Purified Water
- 1 Cup Starter Liquid
- 1 Cup of Organic Sugar
- Yes, organic white sugar sometimes does do best.
- Pot or Tea Kettle
- Towel/Cloth Cover (Cotton Towel works great)
- Rubber Band
- Funnel (for bottling)
Phase 1: Making Food for Your Kombucha
I know this sounds odd, but in order for it to eventually feed you, you need to feed it.
- Boil 4 Cups of purified water
- Grab your 1-Gallon brewing vessel and pour the water into the vessel
- Add your tea to the vessel and steep tea about 8-15 minutes
(I like to do longer for a stronger tea taste)
- Take out tea at the end of your chosen steep time.
- While water is still hot, add 1 cup of Organic Sugar and stir to dissolve
Sterilized utensils work best, as you don’t want to introduce any extraneous bacteria to your mixture.
- Fill your vessel to be 3/4 full with purified cold/room temperature water
This way, you can bring down the temperature of your tea. If your tea is still too hot, wait until it cools to room temperature/body temperature.
Phase 2: Introducing Your SCOBY
A SCOBY walks into a bar (in this case, your vessel!)
- Add your lovely SCOBY to the vessel
- Add 1 Cup of your Starter Liquid
- Cover your vessel with your cloth cover and secure with a rubber band so little critters can’t get in.
- Set your covered vessel in a warm place out of direct sunlight.
- Do not disturb for a week (yes that means 7 days!)
Phase 3: Testing the
The time is now.
- After 7 days, you can taste your kombucha! Use a clean straw to take a sip!
Your kombucha should have an acidic, slightly apple cider-ish taste to it. If you’ve had plain kombucha, that can be a good comparison. (However, take note that store-bought kombucha is professionally made)
If it’s too sweet, you can brew your kombucha for longer, and can taste it every day until it’s reached optimal flavor.
If it’s too tart, try brewing for a shorter amount of time. Your space may be warm enough that it doesn’t harm the kombucha, and instead allows it to thrive better! Every kombucha space is different.
Common Brewing Times: 7 days – 14 days depending on temperature of your kombucha space.
Of course, practice makes perfect! Treat your kombucha with love and take time to experiment with what conditions work best for your brew.
The Final Phase: Bottle That Baby (and add some flavor!)
Add a little flavor to your life (and some homemade kombucha!)
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Remove your cloth cover from your vessel.
- Have a clean bowl handy (one that can hold at least 3 cups of liquid)
- With clean hands, remove your SCOBY from your vessel and place in the clean bowl.
- Pour or spoon out two cups of liquid from the top of your brew into the bowl with your SCOBY. This will be your starter liquid for your next batch.
- Remember those old kombucha bottles you saved? Ensure they are clean! Or, grab a nice clean glass bottle – the ones with flip/stopper tops work wonderfully.
- FLAVOR TIME! Add herbs, flowers, fruit, or spices directly into your clean bottles. This is where you can experiment.
- Take your funnel and insert it into your first bottle.
- Pour your kombucha through the funnel, into your bottle.
- If you’d like to strain the yeast, you can add an unbleached coffee filter to your funnel.
- Repeat for as many bottles as you need.
- Ensure the lids are on tight, and set aside for 1-3 days.
- Everyday, burp the bottles by opening them just a tad to release some carbonation and avoid an explosion. (It can happen.)
- Once your bottled kombuchas have reached the desired flavor/carbonation level, move them to the fridge.