Sunday, May 6, 2012

How to Make Your Own Kombucha

If you haven't read my previous post on KOMBUCHA WHAT IT IS AND WHAT YOU NEED TO START MAKING YOUR OWN, please do so and then come back and read this post.  It is a great introduction to making Kombucha.  

First off, I want to encourage you not to be intimidated, it really is quite simple and pretty hard to mess up.  Making your own Kombucha is so budget friendly and I am also really enjoying creating my own flavors.  I love to experiment with different fruits and really enjoy drinking it too (and I enjoy not feeling guilty over spending $3-4 dollars a bottle)!  In fact I prefer my own homemade varieties above the store bought stuff now!  Why not try your hand at making your own fermented beverage, in a few weeks you to can be enjoying the benefits of your own homemade Kombucha every day!  

Here is what you will need to get started:
  • 1 or 2 gallon glass open mouth jar ( I like these jars from Target )

  • Black, Green, or Oolong tea bags (my preference is black tea) You may use decaf if you prefer or you may also decaf the tea yourself by the following procedure: place the tea bags in a small bowl, pouring just enough boiling water over to cover the tea bags.  Let them sit for 1 minute and then pour off the brewed tea and add the tea bags to your sugar water.

  • Sugar (either white or organic, I suggest organic)

  • 2-4 cups starter (plain Kombucha tea) the amount depends on your jar size

  • Clean t-shirt or other loose knit breathable fabric to cover the jar with

  • Large rubber band to hold the fabric in place

  • Plastic or wooden spoon for stirring

  • BEFORE YOU START:  You will need to get a SCOBY from a friend, order one  online or there are also methods for growing a SCOBY from a store bought bottle of Kombucha. Growing your own from a bottle of store bought Kombucha will cost you under $4.00 and is a fairly economical way to  obtain a SCOBY if you don't have a friend  to give you one.  I personally have not tried this method, I bought a bottle to test this out but inside the bottle was 5 baby SCOBY's so I didn't get to try it.  I do, however, know people who have successfully used this method.  If you don't know a friend you can get one from and would like to grow your own, please follow these links: 

  • PREPARING YOUR JAR AND HANDS:   Now that you have everything you need to get started let's make some Kombucha.  Be sure to "wash" your jar with hot water and some white  vinegar. Don't use dishsoap on the jar as it can leave behind trace amounts of soap and damage your SCOBY and many soaps are also antibacterial, another thing you don't want.  Always be sure to start with clean hands and be sure not to use antibacterial soap in washing them.

  • NO METAL:  When making Kombucha, be sure to not let any metal come in contact with your SCOBY or Kombucha as that can also damage your SCOBY.  This is why I mention using a plastic or wooden spoon.  You may use a ladle or glass 1 cup measuring cup to ladle out the fermented Kombucha. 
 I'm going to be giving directions for making a 1 gallon batch of Kombucha so if you are making 2 gallons please double these amounts. 

  1.  In a large pot bring 13 cups of cold water to a boil, remove from heat and stir in 1  cup of sugar and add 8 tea bags ( I like to remove the string and tags).  Let the mixture brew for 15- 20 minutes and then remove all of the tea bags and allow the mixture to cool slightly (or completely if you would like).  Pour into your 1 gallon jar,  and let the tea completely cool until it is room temperature.  
  2. Once it has cooled to room temperature, you can add your 2 cups of starter Kombucha (either from a bottle of store bought unflavored Kombucha or from a friends batch of Kombucha).  
  3. Then before adding the SCOBY check once more to be sure it is your brew is at  room temperature and not hot.  Add your SCOBY to the fresh brewed tea, then cover the jar with a coffee filter or breathable fabric and secure with a large rubber band.  
  4. Move your jar to a dark location somewhere out of the kitchen to ferment.  I like to keep mine on the top shelf of our coat closet, surrounded with some cardboard to keep it dark.  Once you find a good home for your Kombucha, let it sit for 7-10 days and then check it to see if it has fermented to your liking.   The temperature in your home will affect the amount of time it takes to ferment.  During the summer when  it is warmer I find it takes around 7-10 days, but during the winter it's more like 14-16 days.  The longer it sits the more sugar it will eat and the more vinegar like it will become.  Once your Kombucha is done with it's first ferment, you can bottle and flavor your Kombucha for a second fermentation, just remember to set aside enough plain Kombucha starter for your next batch before bottling.  
One Gallon jar

2 gallon jar

Look for directions and suggestions on how to bottle in my next post on Kombucha.

Items to collect while your first batch of Kombucha is fermenting and before bottling:

  •  small plastic funnel for filling bottles
  • cheesecloth for straining the mixture when bottling or plastic mesh strainer like this one:
  • bottles for bottling. I recommend flip top bottles as the best option, you can find them online or in stores, I bought mine at Costco with sparking lemonade in them for about $2.50 per bottle.  I've also found some at Ross.
  • juice or fruit for flavoring the bottled Komucha if you would like and some fresh ginger 
  • plastic ladle 
  • glass measuring cup
  • 1/4 cup measuring cup for juice and/or Tablespoon
These are the bottles I bought from Costco, 6 bottles for $14.99 

Finished product!  Doesn't that look good!

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you, I hope I can find those nice flip top bottles at my Costco