I love kombucha. I was introduced to it (and hated it) when I was an undergrad. My friend John re-introduced me to it several years ago in graduate school. That’s when I fell in love with ‘bootch and discovered two things:
1) you can get a small discount at Whole Foods if you buy a case of it at a time and
2) I love kombucha with chia seeds floating around in it. I’m kind of a weirdo that likes that texture.
Drinking the probiotic elixir daily didn’t last long; it was an expensive habit that took up a lot of fridge space.
Skip ahead to the DIY Kombucha Recipe below.
Fast forward to the end of September. My in-laws were in town visiting
us Oliver. And I somehow convinced my mother-in-law and one of my sister-in-laws to go to the kombucha class with me at Grain to Glass in North Kansas City. Grain to Glass is a fun little homebrew shop that has a little bit of everything: supplies for brewing (beer, cider, wine), a bar with rotating beers on tap, and a few fridges with bottled beer. It also hosts brewing competitions, beer tastings, and classes for all things related to brewing.
Both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law already make their own kombucha, but their interests were still peaked to learn more from a guy named Keith who has been making kombucha for years and teaching others to do the same. The bonus features of this class were that you had the opportunity to try his homemade kombucha, receive a SCOBY (more below on this), see his “SCOBY Hotel”, and acquire some of his kombucha knowledge. Grain to Glass also had kombucha kits available for purchase (for $12, I believe) that included everything you needed (minus the SCOBY) to get started.
Now that I’ve successfully made three batches of kombucha at home and feel a bit more comfortable with the process, I’ve also made a post with some knowledge that I learned from Keith, the internet, and making my own kombucha. I also answer the questions I get the most at kombucha on that post.
- 14 cups (3.5 L) water
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 8 tea bags
- 1 SCOBY
- 1-2 cups (250-500 mL) kombucha (starter tea)
- Coffee filter or muslin cloth
- 1 thick rubber band
- 1 gallon glass jar (4 L glass jar)
- Soda straw
- 1. Bring 2 cups (500 mL) of water to boil.
- 2. Remove water from heat and add sugar, stirring to dissolve.
- 3. Bring another 12 cups (3 L) of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add 6-8 tea bags. Allow them to steep*
- 4. Let the tea and sugar water to cool to room temperature (at least 1 hour, but up to overnight).
- 5. Add the room temperature sugar water and tea to the 1 gallon glass jar.
- 6. Add the 1-2 cups (250-500 mL) of kombucha (starter tea from the previous batch of finished kombucha**) to the jar.
- 7. Add 1 SCOBY to the jar.
- 8. Cover the jar with a coffee filter. Secure filter with the rubber band. Set the lid aside as it is unneeded.
- 9. Let the sweetened tea + SCOBY sit at room temperature in normal lighting*** for at least 5 days and up to 1 month.
- 10. At the 5 day point, draw up a sample of the freshly fermented kombucha using the straw. Taste for desired sweetness/tartness. Fermentation may take longer than 5 days (or up to 4 weeks), depending on desired taste. The longer you allow the tea to ferment, the more tart and tangy it becomes.
- 11. When brewed to you desired taste, remove the original SCOBY and the newly generated SCOBY with a pair of tongs and place them on a clean plate.
- 12. Check the SCOBYs for green or black mold. If you find mold, discard the SCOBY and the kombucha/tea - start over with fresh ingredients!
- Remember that brown or stringy bits are totally normal as are shades of brown.
- 13. Set aside 2 cups (500 mL) of newly finished kombucha and one SCOBY to begin you next batch of kombucha.
- 14. Pour the remaining kombucha into bottles. If you'd like to carbonate or flavor your kombucha, then now is the time. To flavor your kombucha, add fruit, juice, herbs, or additional tea. If you'd like to carbonate your kombucha, cap the bottles and set on the counter for 1-3 additional days.
- 15. Chill the bottles before opening.
- 16. Take care when first opening your kombucha as the contents will be under pressure.
- *I usually allow my tea to steep for 5-10 minutes. You can steep the tea bags overnight.
- **You can use unfiltered, unsweetened, commercial kombucha as the starter tea.
- ***Keep the solution out of direct sunlight, but don't keep in a cupboard or out of the sun.