If you are looking to improve your gut health, or even just want to enjoy a nice refreshing drink, then homemade Kombucha is the way to go. Buying Kombucha at the store costs about $3 to $4 per bottle, and making it at home takes very little time. Plus it is extremely rewarding to watch your own tea literally “come to life”.
Homemade Kombucha does not require any fancy equipment. Aside from the SCOBY, most people already have these things lying around their pantry:
- 1 glass gallon jar, or 2 1/2-gallon jars
- 1 coffee filter
- 1 rubber band
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 Active SCOBY
What is a SCOBY?
SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. This sounds gross, and it looks pretty gross too, but you will come to love your SCOBY’s and so will whomever you pass them on to.
I feel that when you buy Kombucha at the store, you miss out on some other benefits of homemade Kombucha, the main one being the sense of community that it creates. I love the culture (literally) that making homemade Kombucha brings with it.
When you make a batch of homemade Kombucha, it creates a brand new SCOBY every time, and you can either use it in your next batch, store it, or pass it on to someone else.
When you pass a SCOBY on to someone else, they get to make their own tea for their family. They then pass one on to their friends, and before you know it everyone is making tea from the same “culture” that you started with. I feel a deep sense of connection to this process, and it is one of many reasons why I have come to love fermented foods.
You also end up sharing and passing on new ideas and discoveries that you make to your Kombucha community. You will also take great comfort in knowing that if your ever need a new SCOBY you can just ask one of your friends to give you one, creating a new cycle of life within the already present web you’ve created.
Where Can I Get a SCOBY?
Making homemade Kombucha cannot be done without a SCOBY. There are a few options for acquiring one, it just depends on where you live and what resources you have available:
- Get one from a friend who makes homemade Kombucha. Consider yourself lucky that you have awesome friends if you know someone on the inside *chuckle*. Just simply ask them to give you a SCOBY from their next batch, and they may even have a stock pile sitting around that you can take one from.
- Buy one. This is what I did when I first started my Kombucha journey because I didn’t know anyone who was making it at the time. This may sound crazy, but I ordered mine on Amazon. It worked great for me, but I have heard that some people end up with a dead SCOBY this way. So if you plan on ordering one online, I would opt for a dehydrated SCOBY.
- Make your own. This is the most time consuming way, and it will take just a little patience, but here is a good link on how to make your own SCOBY.
Why We Use Sugar
The great thing about homemade Kombucha is that it’s literally “alive”. Every living thing needs something to eat to in order to survive and grow. Sugar is the easiest thing for your SCOBY to process in order to multiply and infuse your tea with all of that beneficial bacteria.
The good news is, the SCOBY will eat up most of the sugar, so you won’t be consuming all those unhealthy sweets.
I personally still don’t feel great about putting refined sugar in my tea, so I opt to use a high quality maple syrup and molasses mixture. It is a tad more difficult for the SCOBY to break these sugars down, so fermentation may take a couple days longer in some cases.
Some added benefits to using nutritive sweeteners instead of refined sugar:
- your tea will be packed lots of essential minerals and nutrients that we really don’t get enough of anyway.
- the flavor is better
- your SCOBY will be stronger and more resilient
Overall, It’s just a better way to keep you and your SCOBY in better health.
How to Make Great Tasting Kombucha
The thing I love the most about homemade Kombucha is that you aren’t limited to just the flavors they carry at the store. You can be as creative as you would like to be. It’s a lot of fun coming up with interesting flavor combos, and sometimes it’s nice to just do something simple as well.
One round of fermentation is certainly sufficient for making Kombucha and reaping the benefits, but I think it’s well worth waiting the extra week, and doing a second fermentation. This is where I add the fruit and herbs to create my flavors.
Just make sure that whatever flavor you chose to make has some fruit in it. The extra sugar from the fruit, combined with placing the tea in an airtight container is what causes the tea to become fizzy and delicious! Once your tea is finished with the second ferment, simply store in the refrigerator.
I have a rotation going for this and when I start my second ferment, I start a brand new first ferment at the same time. This allows me to have tea in the refrigerator to drink while I have my first and second ferment going, and I just rotate every week.
Stay tuned and please subscribe to my blog for more tips and some delicious flavor combos that I’ve been experimenting with.
Kombucha tea is an easy and refreshing drink with many digestive and micro biome health benefits.
- 12 C Unfloridated, Unchlorinated Water
- 1 Active Kombucha SCOBY
- 1 C Starter Tea or Distilled White Vinegar
- 1 C Sugar or replace with 1/2 C High Quality Maple Syrup & 1/3 C Molasses
- 8 Bags of Black Tea
- 1/2 C Fruit of Choice (optional, only if doing second ferment)
Set aside about 3 cups of the water in a small sauce pan and add tea bags.
Allow to come to a boil, and remove from heat.
Remove the tea bags.
Mix in sugar or maple and molasses mix until completely dissolved, pour into large glass jar and add the remaining water.
Allow to cool to room temperature, and add the active SCOBY to the tea, along with the starter tea or vinegar.
Cover the top with a coffee filter and secure with rubber band.
Allow the jar to sit in a warm place for 7-10 days.
Be sure to keep out of sunlight.
A new SCOBY will form at the top of the tea, and can be passed on to someone else, or can be used in your next batch.
When finished fermenting, place tea in a glass container or glass bottles with an airtight lid and store in the refrigerator.
***For Second Ferment (optional):
After first fermentation is complete, remove the SCOBY from the jar and place in small jar with some of the tea to store for later.
Strain the tea into a new jar, and add the fruit (optional) and cover with an airtight lid.
Allow to sit in a warm dark place, out of sunlight for about 7 days.
When finished fermenting, the tea should be effervescent and refreshing.