Many people have been asking me to share information on how I brew kombucha. The process is very straight forward and simple once you gather all of the supplies. I use a continuous brew method, but it took 3 ferments before I felt ready to transition into a continuous brew. I am outlining how to do a traditional 8 day brew + continual brew.
The initial purchases might set you back about $30 if you don't have any glass bottles with plastic lids, or larger mason jars. But if you already have these items, all you need is a Kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). I found mine on Etsy for $5 + shipping, and it came with written instructions, along with plenty of starter tea. Starter tea is the host for your SCOBY, and holds all of the good bacteria you need to properly ferment your Kombucha.
Before you buy your Kombucha SCOBY, gather the supplies you will need to start fermentation. Trust me, you will be eager to get started as soon as it arrives in the mail.
You will need:
Organic Black Tea
Spring or Distilled water. I prefer Spring
White Vinegar for sanitation
**It is important to rinse all bottles, jars, and pots with vinegar then hot water after you wash them prior to use for your Kombucha brewing. This sanitation step prevents the risk of other bacterias interfering with your Kombucha cultures.
Now.. enough blabber.. let's take it step by step.
1. Boil 1/2 gallon of water. Once boiled, remove from heat, and drop in 4 bags of black tea (or 4 tbsp). Let this steep until it's a nice rich dark tea.
2. While tea is still hot- remove bags or strain out loose tea. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar.
3. Pop your sweet tea into the fridge. Some people let it cool on the counter, but it takes much longer and calls out to fruit flies. Speed it up a bit, throw it in the fridge.
4. When tea has reached room temp, add this to your Kombucha brewing jar. leave room for the SCOBY and starter tea.
5. Place a coffee filter over the opening of the jar, and secure with a rubber band. Don't use cheesecloth, the holes are too big and your Kombucha will definitely be attracting fruit flies.
6. Let this sit in a corner for about 8 days. Take a taste after 8 days. If you like the taste, good! If it needs to sit longer, let it sit longer. There is no science, you'll just know. You can drink as is, or, like most people, you can start your 2nd ferment- F2. You will use all of your Kombucha tea save for a cup. This will become your new "starter tea" or "SCOBY hotel" that will sustain the SCOBY and produce future Booch.
7. For F2-Use a swing top bottle (like this ) or any glass jar with a non-metal lid. Fill with 1-2 oz of fruit juice. You can blend fresh fruit with a splash of Kombucha tea, or use an organic 100% fruit juice. I've dropped some of my fav flavor combos below.
8. Fill the bottle to the shoulder with Kombucha. You want to leave room in the bottle. Don't fill to the brim.
9. Let these new F2 bottles of booch sit on the counter for 3-4 days. You must burp the bottles everyday. This means ever soo slightly releasing pressure in the bottle. Only let out enough air for you to hear a whisper of pressure release. Don't flip the tops wide open or remove the lid.
10. After 3 days, take a taste of your Kombucha. Is it fizzy enough? If you want it to gain carbonation, leave it on the counter for more time. If you like it, transfer all bottles to the fridge to slow the fermentation process.
11. ENJOY! All of the probiotic, electrolytic, mineral-rich goodness.
Continual Brew Method-
Brew at least one ferment exactly as above. You want to help establish your new scoby to it's environment and develop enough starter tea to do a continual brew. In a continual brew, you simply leave behind half of your Kombucha tea, and can drink the fruits of your labor after 3-4 of fermentation. We do an F2 twice a week, and drink about one 16 oz Kombucha each, every day.
1. After your full first (we did 3 ferment before switching) ferment has finished, leave HALF of the starter tea behind in your brew jar with the SCOBY. The half that you pour out can be drank per your liking.
2. Fill the rest other half of the jar with sweet tea. A 1 cup sugar to 1 gallon tea ratio as previously stated.
3. After 3-4 days, you can strain half of the Kombucha again. Leave half of the starter tea behind, and continue on.
*Notes- I started with 1/2 gallon brew, and moved to 1 gallon brew immediately after. My SCOBY produced another SCOBY, which I put into a jar with a cup of starter tea. From there I was able to brew 2 batches of Kombucha at once.
Why Continual Brew? Well, we have two gallon jars with spouts on them that we utilize for our Kombucha making. We are able to get about 10 bottles of Booch every 3-4 days. Since neither of us drinks alcohol or soda (save for the occasional half of a coke if we go out to eat.. haha. Makes me feel like my teeth are rotting out -_-) we like to have our little drink treat! We used to drink LaCroix, but it starts to add up, and there is no nutritional value. We figured, why not drink something deeeelicious, help our tummies out, and save money?
We spoil ourselves when it comes to food, but not in the sense you might think. We love smoothie bowls, Kombucha, homemade pickled veggies and herbed hummus, kimchi + fermented pancakes, lots of mineral rich bone broths and the occasional (ok frequent) date shake. Living an abundant lifestyle does not need to cost a lot of money, but it does take up a bit of my free time to prepare. Most of the foods I love the most take time to prepare, but nothing makes me feel more alive than having my hands involved in making the thing that sustains me. I just love to get my hands involved, and I love food. I don't eat bad food, because life is too short. I don't spend a lot of money on food, because I live on a very tight budget. Solution? Cook great food!
In addition to loving the taste, I drink Kombucha because I have very sensitive gut issues. My skin often flares up from certain foods, and drinking Kombucha and eating Kraut daily has reduced a lot of the issues that I have struggled with for years. My probiotic rich diet couples with only using products that I create, my skin has looked the best it's ever looked. I've been receiving regular compliments on my skin, which never in my life has happened. For me, internal and external health are equally important. Your skin is a mirror to your body's needs and functions. I feel energized, and my skin shows it!
As promised above, here are a few of my favorite pairings for F2
Cayenne + Pineapple
Strawberry Ginger / Blueberry Ginger
Strawberry Kiwi Passion Fruit
Ginger, Turmeric + Cayenne
Carrot Beet + Ginger
If you have a favorite pairing, let me know in the comments below!