I have been a kombucha drinker for years! I love the taste of it and drinking it comes with so many health benefits! Kombucha is rich in probiotics that support gut health, antioxidants for liver health, and can help reduce the chances of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
So what is kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea that uses a live culture (SCOBY) to give it probiotic benefits. SCOBY is an acronym for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Doesn’t sound very appetizing, I know, but it turns simple tea into a delicious, fizzy, healthy brew! Because of the fermentation process, kombucha does contain alcohol. In most store bough varieties, the alcohol level is at about .5%, but can reach 3-5% in homemade brews. ALWAYS consult a doctor before trying kombucha, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or have any medical conditions that make you sensitive to alcohol.
As I mentioned before, my family has been drinking kombucha for years. When my oldest was having digestive issues around 2 years old, I started giving him about 2-4oz per day. He was cleared up and regular within 2 weeks! My husband and I can tell the difference in our health and overall well being when we drink kombucha consistently and when we fall off the wagon. It truly is a staple in our household.
So why homemade? A friend turned me on to it a few months ago. She had gotten her own starter kit and tried out a few batches. She told me that once I tried homemade, I would never want to go back to store bought again! And oh was she right! With homemade kombucha, you can control every aspect: what type of tea to use as your base, how long to ferment and how to flavor your kombucha during second fermentation. You get a brew completely customized to your tastes! I love to experiment with different flavors! Its fun to see what you can come up with and its so much easier than you think! Wanna give it a shot? Try out my recipe below and you will be a brewmaker before you know it!
Lets start off with supplies. There are 5 basic ingredients needed for kombucha. These ingredients will yield a half gallon batch:
1 cup starter liquid (mature kombucha)
6 cups cool, chlorine free water
1/2 cup of sugar
2-3 tea bags (black tea, green tea and earl gray preferred)
Other necessary supplies:
1/2 gallon glass jar
distilled white vinegar
clean cloth or coffee filters’
1. Make sure that you disinfect all your supplies with water and vinegar!! Including your hands. Do not wash anything with antibacterial soap, as that can kill your scoby.
2. Heat 1 cup of water to just below boiling. Add your tea bags and let steep for 5-15 minutes. Remove your tea bags.
3. Add the sugar to the tea while its still hot and dissolve completely.
4. Pour your tea into your glass jug, then add in your additional 5 cups of COOL, chlorine free water.
5. When your tea and water solution is at room temp (too warm could kill the scoby), delicately and with clean hands, place your scoby on top of the brew. Then slowly add in your one cup of starter liquid.
NOTE: Your scoby could remain floating at the top, it could float in the middle or it could sink to the bottom. It is all normal, so don’t panic!
6. Cover the jar with your clean cloth or coffee filter and seal with a rubber band. Place it in a warm location (preferably 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit) and out of direct sunlight.
Whew! The hard part is over! Now the waiting game begins. You will want your kombucha to ferment for 7-30 days. The sweet spot for me is usually around 3 weeks. After 3 days of fermenting, start checking on your kombucha. It should smell vinegary, you may start to see some bubbles forming at the top and you should also begin to see your new scoby forming! That’s one of the great benefits of home brewing! Once you start, you will have an ever constant supply of new scoby! Use it to brew extra batches or give to friends to start their own kombucha! A scoby can be used up to 4 times before it will need to be discarded and you will get a new scoby with every batch of kombucha you brew.
Now, you are welcome to start tasting your brew after 10 days. I usually focus on letting it ferment until I see a nice, new scoby formed. Once it is at your desired acidity and taste, you can move on to the fun part, flavoring!
Steps to flavoring your kombucha:
1. Again with cleaned hands prepped with vinegar, gently remove both scobys from your jar and move to another clean, vinegar prepped vessel. Reserve one cup of your mature kombucha per scoby and add that to your new vessel as well. You can use those scoby and mature kombucha to start brewing your next batch!
2. Take the rest of your kombucha and funnel it into a flip top bottle. I prefer the flip top, becuase it gives a great seal and allows your kombucha to quickly carbonate. Make sure you leave room at the top for carbonation and flavorings!!
3. Choose your flavor! There are hundreds of recipes out there flavoring your kombucha, you can even experiment with your own varieties! I will list some favorites below! Each of these recipes are good for a single 24 oz bottle.
3 strawberries, cut into thin strips
6-7 mint leaves
1/4 cup pureed watermelon
Juice of 1 lime
3 tsp dried rose petals
6 blueberries, smashed
3 Strawberries, cut into thin strips
4 bluberries, smashed
Once you have added your flavors, seal the top of the bottle and let the carbonation process begin! You can carbonate for 3-7 days, but I HIGHLY SUGGEST burping your bottles daily to release excess carbonation. Not doing this could result in a shaken soda bottle type explosion. No bueno.
After your kombucha has reached its perfect level of fizziness, pop it in the fridge to stop the carbonation process and ENJOY!
Let me know if you have any questions or send me your thoughts after making the recipe! I hope you learn to love homemade kombucha as much as I do!! I will link up where you can purchase many of the supplies below!