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Kombucha is a health drink, a fermented drink, made from tea and sugar ! What? Sugar? It’s confusing and people don’t know what to think of it. I aim to provide a little education and encouragement for you to give it a try! It’s easy to make, refreshing and chock full of nutrients.
First of all, the best and easiest way to try it is to buy it and now a days there are bunches of brands out there but I caution you to check the ingredients label. MANY have additional sugars and questionable flavorings. UGH…. why does this always happen to a good thing? My favorite trustworthy source other than my make your own kombucha ( recipe below) would be GT’s Kombucha.
If you haven’t ever tried it then buy one of GT’s and see what you think of it. Most major grocery stores have it. It grows on you for certain. A GREAT way to replace soda because it’s effervescently fizzy and there are lots of different flavors.
It IS however, quite spendy to keep up the healthy habit of buying this lovely probiotic rich beverage. So it’s pretty awesome that you can make large batches of it at home, continuously, and for a fraction of the cost. It’s a multi vitamin produced in the form of a from scratch beverage. You can also add a variety of your own kombucha flavorings. Here are some of the benefits:
Basically, Kombucha is a SWEET TEA which is fermented by means of a S.C.O.B.Y. ( Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). Now the scoby is a bit gross looking and is sometimes referred to as a “mushroom” which relates more to appearance because it is NOT a mushroom. The beauty of the scoby is that it consumes most of the sugar content during the fermentation process leaving you with a health drink full of nutrients !The fermentation process creates all the benefits rich in probiotics, enzymes, vitamins and minerals and none of it processed – all from the earth.
I LOVE what God made for us in His creation – YAY! This is how I make mine – keep in mind my bottling process if far from beautiful like the cool looking GT drinks but as the saying goes “It is what’s on the INSIDE that counts”.
So to begin I was given a starter culture (much like we share sourdough cultures and keep feeding them….so goes the kombucha recipe). I had about 2 cups starter liquid with a partial scoby inside – I left it to sit on the counter a few days – ” burping” it once a day to release some of the carbonation (you don’t want an explosion!) Then when I was ready I got the needed tools which are unbelievably easy to find you most likely have it all at home except the scoby.
I found an online source which details different ways to obtain a scoby. This is also one of my favorite online shops and sources of info for all things cultured.
So here are the needed supplies:
- Starter liquid – obtain from a friend, previous batch or store bought kombucha
- gallon size glass jar
- 1 cup sugar (I use cane sugar – refined is ok – no honey substitutes here)
- 4-5 black tea bags OR 2 Tbsp loose black tea – organic tea is best
- 14 cups filtered water – I use my Berkey filter – link for discount!
- glass measuring cup – stay away from metal as it can weaken the scoby and/or cause a metallic taste
I then boiled the water to brew the tea and added sugar. After about 20ish minutes I removed the tea bags and allowed the tea to cool to room temperature. Then I added the starter liquid and secured a coffee filter (you can also use cheesecloth) to the top which gives it room to breathe and set it in a dark corner of the kitchen for 5-7 days.( note my pic doesn’t show the cloth – I snapped the pic before I remembered to switch out the cover for the cloth – life happens!)
It’s important to notice the color here which is a deep fresh brewed tea color and after 5-7 days. (Less for warmer climates like me in Africa and longer in cooler climates – you’ll need to store in somewhere with no drafts and near to a warm source). When it’s ready you will see that it has lightened in color and the scoby has grown or created a baby scoby ( awww…see how cute they are?) See how much the tea lightened up? In this pic I had already poured about 2 cups of the finished kombucha and it’s scoby into a jar for my new starter – all set for a new batch! I LOVE IT! I then set the starter in the dark warm part of the kitchen until ready to prepare a new batch ( you could start ASAP or wait a few days – just remember to release some of the carbonation once a day!!) Now it’s time to BOTTLE UP your hootch ! (You know I was waiting for just the right moment to use that term~ hee hee).
There are some super cool airlock bottles for just this purpose. Totally worth the buy because they are REUSEABLE and have airlock caps which is necessary for what comes next – the Second Brew! You want to fill up your bottles with your homemade kombucha now.
I’m gonna be ultra real now, guys. I don’t have the super cool flip top bottles yet – they are on my wish list and I SHALL get them. For now in our new transition of life here in Zambia my priority was to get the kombucha brewed and into my gut! PROBIOTIC HEALTH – a must for all – a must in a 3rd world country! So I stored my starter liquid in a reused glass tomato puree jar and poured my finished kombucha into clean bottles I had on hand.
I also have a post of kombucha flavoring recipes right here on this website! THEN, you make sure you bottles are tightly capped and let sit for 1-2 days – not much longer or KA-BOOM – this is LIVE CULTURE and they surely will explode. You might see some air bubbles – this is a great sign! Simply stick them in the fridge as the cold temp of the fridge will stop the fermentation. ENJOY within a week’s time or about the time it takes for your next batch to be ready. Voila!
For Kombucha brewing tools and other homestead favorites ~ check out our Must Have Market!
Leave a comment below and let me know if you’ve tried brewing your own or contact me for any questions on How to make your own kombucha today !
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to learn more about flavoring with essential oils and other EO uses – tons of info on my Essential Oil page too!
Home Brew Kombucha
Have you tried kombucha? This is by FAR cheaper - make your own nutrient dense beverage for pennies per glass!
- 2 cups starter liquid ( brewed kombucha)
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 4-5 black tea bags ( 2 Tbsp loose leaf)
- 14 cups filtered water
- 6 air tight bottles
- 1 gallon glass jar
Boil 14 cups of filtered water
Pour boiled water into a gallon glass jar holding the sugar and tea
Stir to dissolve sugar - brew 20 minutes and remove tea bags - let tea cool to room temperature
Add starter liquid and place scoby on top - if no scoby then no worries one should form during the brewing process - keep tea in dark, warm area of house for 5-7 or more days
After 5-7 days tea should be lighter in color and you'll see a scoby or a larger scoby or scoby baby added into your original. Less days for warm climates an longer for cool climates or winter seasons. It's also perfectly normal to see strands of culture in the tea. This is a good sign.
Remove 2 cups of tea and the scoby as your next batch starter!
Pour remaining kombucha into air tight bottles and add flavoring such as fresh ginger, fruit pieces, fruit puree or essential oils ( 1-2 drops per bottle)
Place in the darkened warm area for 1-2 days to produce 2nd ferment and FIZZ! After this put into fridge to stop ferment - enjoy over ice, straight from the bottle, in a wine glass, or on the go !