A few months ago I would have never dreamed I would ever have a desire to brew kombucha at home. I had gone to dinner with some of my girl friends and one of them was drinking this drink out of a glass bottle. I was super intrigued about this new-to-me drink. Kombucha.
I had literally never heard of kombucha 8 months ago. And now, I won’t consider myself an expert, but I am definitely a kombucha convert!
Others have so many questions about kombucha anytime I open my mouth to talk about it. And well, since it is something I’ve absolutely come to love, I’m going to share all of my kombucha knowledge with you today.
“Is this like Pokemon?”
I’m not even joking. Those were the first words out of my husband’s mouth when I first started talking about kombucha. I had so much excitement about all of the probiotic health benefits of this drink and I just couldn’t contain it. And he thought I was crazy!
Now, I don’t honestly know much about Pokemon, but it feels like a foreign language to me.
If you’re feeling that way about Kombucha, keep reading. I’m going to answer some of the most common questions I’ve heard about my new favorite drink and teach you how to brew kombucha at home.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented, fizzy, slightly sweet and slightly sour tea. It can be made from either black or green tea. Herbal teas are not recommended for brewing kombucha.
How is Kombucha made?
Kombucha is made by adding sugar to brewed tea, along with a SCOBY and allowing it to ferment at room temperature.
What is a SCOBY?
SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It is essentially a snotty blob that houses the good bacteria that feed on the sugars during fermentation.
This may sound gross, but don’t let it deter you from trying kombucha! You don’t drink the SCOBY. Ha!
Why do people drink kombucha?
Many people (including me!) believe Kombucha has amazing health benefits, specifically relating to adding healthy bacterias back to your gut.
How to brew Kombucha at home
So you have heard the hype and want to try to brew your own kombucha at home. That is a great plan. And brewing kombucha at home is so simple!
What You’ll need:
- Black tea (you could also use green tea, but I think starting with black tea will yield best results)
- A SCOBY (where to find SCOBY below)
- Starter tea- about 2 cups
- Gallon sized glass jar
- Cheesecloth or a coffee filter
- Rubber band or twine
Where to find a SCOBY and starter tea
Facebook post to friends and family to see if anyone has an extra SCOBY and starter tea. People who brew kombucha at home regularly will often have extra to spare. Once you have made a couple batches of kombucha, your original SCOBY will have grown into a size where it can be split off.
If you don’t know anyone local who brews kombucha at home, there are places you can buy a SCOBY and starter tea. Etsy is a great place to look.
Process for brewing kombucha at home
You will want to have everything ready to brew your kombucha at home around the time you receive your scoby and starter tea.
For 1 gallon:
- First, heat one quart of water to boiling and pour over 8-10 black tea bags in a quart sized mason jar. Seep 10-15 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of sugar to tea and stir to dissolve
- Pour your sweetened tea into 1 gallon glass jar
- Add 2 quarts cold water to sweetened tea in glass jar and stir to combine. Water should be pretty close to room temperature. If not, wait until tea mixture is close to room temperature before moving to step 5.
- Add scoby and starter tea to your 1 gallon glass jar with sweetened tea
- Cover jar with coffee filter or cheesecloth and secure with a rubberband or twine.
- Place jar in a dark place that will stay around 65-75 degrees for 10-14 days.
- After 10-14 days you will want to taste your kombucha and make sure its ready. This will take some time to perfect, but it should not be very sweet, may be mildly effervescent or bubbly, but not taste like vinegar.
- When your kombucha is ready, you will want to remove the scoby with clean hands and put into a large measuring glass.
- Reserve 2 cups of the tea in the large measuring glass with your SCOBY ( his will be your SCOBY + starter tea for your next batch)
- Strain the rest of your tea into another clean jar and you are ready to enjoy or to bottle for a 2nd ferment.
- Repeat process with SCOBY and starter tea from this batch.
FAQ about Kombucha
Where can I find kombucha?
Kombucha is sold in most grocery stores and health food stores. It is usually in the produce area because it needs to be refrigerated.
Does kombucha contain alcohol?
Kombucha is labelled non-alcoholic in stores, but may contain up to 0.5% alcohol. This alcohol is naturally occurring since alcohol is created in the breaking down of sugars during the fermentation process.
Are there different flavors of kombucha?
Yes! I will have a post about the 2nd fermentation of kombucha coming soon!
There are many different flavors of kombucha.
Fruits, flavors, and infusions are added during the second ferment of kombucha.
Several store bought kombucha tea drinks contain ginger and other foods with additional health benefits. My favorite store bought flavors are pineapple and watermelon.
What is a probiotic?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits when consumed…
Although people often think of bacteria and other microorganisms as harmful “germs,” many are actually helpful. Some bacteria help digest food, destroy disease-causing cells, or produce vitamins. Many of the microorganisms in probiotic products are the same as or similar to microorganisms that naturally live in our bodies.
When do I drink kombucha?
Anytime! I love to drink it with lunch. It is also a great little (healthy) treat to have mid afternoon, or if for some reason I haven’t had any all day, I’ll drink a few sips of it at night.
Is kombucha carbonated?
After the original, first ferment where the sweetened black or green tea is made into kombucha it is not carbonated.
For the second ferment, fruit juices or fruit pieces can be added to the tea and put in an airtight jar. CO2 is a byproduct of the fermentation process and when CO2 is trapped inside the jar, it causes your drink to become naturally carbonated.