During this extra stay-at-home time, I’ve enjoyed some new hobbies, like brewing kombucha. Upon request, I’m making a quick and easy “How to Make Kombucha” for inspiring home brewers.
If you are really serious about home brewing kombucha, I highly recommend “The Big Book of Kombucha” by Hannah Crum and Alex LaGory. It has everything in there you want to know, trouble-shooting, recipes, and so forth. You can also visit their website at KombuchaKamp.com.
What I’m sharing is a quick start. This is what you’ll need for a 1 gallon batch.
BREWING – DAY 1
- 1 SCOBY (get from a local brewer or order online)
- 2 Tablespoons of Black Tea, loose-leaf (or 4 -6 tea bags)
- 1 Gallon Chlorine-Free Water
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Cup Starter liquid (from brewer or previous batch)
- 1 Large Pot or Tea Kettle (for brewing sweet tea)
- 1 or 1.25+ Gallon Jar (to hold fermenting kombucha)
- Cotton Cloth and Rubberband to cover the jar (not cheesecloth, nothing that porous)
- Utensil to stir
- A warm, dim, well-ventilated area to store jar. If you don’t have an area warm enough on it’s own, use a warming pad.
- Stick on thermometers (optional, but helpful)
BREWING THE BOOCH
Once you have your SCOBY, ingredients, tools and about 30 minutes of time – you are ready to brew.
- Steep tea in 1 quart (4 cups) water just below boiling for 5 to 15 minutes
- Remove tea (strain out leaves or remove bags)
- Stir in sugar until dissolved
- Mix remaining 3 quarts (12 cups) water – either in the large pot or jar.
- Check water temperature. It should be between 80° – 100° F. degrees (warm, not hot, to the touch of a CLEAN finger). If over 100° F., set aside until it lowers to 90°-95° F. before adding SCOBY.)
- Make sure there is enough room in jar for SCOBY and starter liquid. Reduce the amount of tea to make room.
- With clean hands, place your SCOBY into your jar and slowly top with your started liquid.
- Cover with a cotton cloth and secure with rubber band.
- Place in a dim, well-ventilated area. Maintain a temperature between 75° – 85°F (24-29°C). Use a seedling/brewing heating pad if necessary.
FERMENTING DAY 1 – 21ish
Without disturbing your brew, you can peek in on it from time to time. Say “hi” and send it good vibes!
TASTE TEST around DAY 5 to 7
From day 5 onward, you can begin to taste test your booch brew using a clean straw, spoon, or shot glass to see if the flavor is to your liking. Try not to disturb the SCOBY very much as you taste. Once it’s just right, move on to HARVESTING.
HARVESTING – DAY 7 – 21ish
Congratulations! Time to harvest. Now that you have fizzy bubbles under your SCOBY and the taste is rock’n, you are ready to harvest.
- flavoring (optional – but definitely recommended!)
- The sky is the limit! This is the fun part. Try any combo of lavender, mint, orange, apple, cherry, strawberry… what flavors do you like? Use syrups, strong juices or dried specimens.
- My favorite is 1 T. black cherry syrup, 1 T. elderberry juice or syrup and smidge of dried ginger root.
- Clean working area to bottle your booch
- Clean bowl to place your SCOBY or a Jar to hold extra SCOBYs (known as a SCOBY hotel, motel, home, hang-out or palace – get creative!)
- 6 – 16 oz. bottles with tightly closing lids
- 1 Funnel (that fits into your storage bottles)
- 1 glass measuring cup (2 cup / 16 oz is preferred) * this is optional, but helpful
HARVESTING YOUR BOOCH
- Wash your hands (don’t have soap residue on them though)
- Remove cloth and rubber band from jar
- Remove 1 cup of liquid from the top (this will be your new starter liquid). Place in bowl or SCOBY hang-out jar.
- Carefully remove the SCOBY (and separate it into two!) Look! It made a clone (or a big baby). Set them aside in the bowl or SCOBY hang-out jar.
- Put your flavoring in your bottles. Usually about 2 tablespoons.
- For a less-messy pour, I pour about 16 ounces of kombucha from the large jar into a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. From there I pour it into the bottles with a funnel. Go ahead and use your own messy method, but I find this works best.
- Cap the bottle tightly. (And if you were messy, wipe down the bottle.)
- If the flavor is just right, put it in the refrigerator. Or, preferably, if you want a little extra fizz and flavor, store on the counter for 1 to 3 more days at room temperature. Then refrigerate.
- Use the starter liquid and SCOBY to re-start the process again. Make sure to start a SCOBY hotel, hang-out or palace with any SCOBYs you don’t put to use. Store them in a jar in sweet tea. Room temperature is fine. Try not to let it get hotter than 90°-100° F. and do NOT store your SCOBYs in the refrigerator.
- Drink. Brew. Repeat.
P.S. – I’m posting this without step-by-step photos for now. But next harvest, I may add them. 🙂