We love drinking kombucha, and we have made our own in the past before, so we decided to give it a go again, as it is fairly easy to make your own. You can also customize your kombucha in a variety of ways.
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What You Will Need
~ SCOBY “Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast”
~ Black tea for first batch, black or green tea for subsequent batches (I prefer organic)
~ Cane sugar (I prefer organic)
~ Gallon jar & cheesecloth or other permeable cover for top
~ Bottles for bottling
I found that it was easy to find a SCOBY. Some health food stores have them, but it seems easier to find them online, and this is my second time ordering on Amazon. I chose the Fermentaholics Organic Kombucha SCOBY, which comes with 12 oz of starter tea.
Preparing the First Batch
The first batch is small. Per the instructions with our Fermentaholics SCOBY, we boiled two cups of water and prepared black tea. Choose an organic tea if possible. Add in 3/4 cup of cane sugar, and allow your mix to cool thoroughly.
Once the tea is cooled down, you can add your SCOBY. This will either float or sink, and is no indicator of SCOBY quality.
There are lots of options for containers to brew your kombucha. We use a gallon glass jar with a cheesecloth tightly rubber-banded on top. We had a previous batch that we had to toss because a fruit fly got in to the jar, and I didn’t want to take any chances that the kombucha was compromised / contaminated. I fold up the cheesecloth so that it has multiple layers, and it is also recommended to use a more tightly woven fabric.
Starting off your kombucha is slower process, compared to once a few weeks or months has gone by and the SCOBY has grown larger. Check the kombucha at 7 days days to see how the fermentation process is going. The mixture will lose sweetness and gain some carbonation as the SCOBY begins to work. This should take between 7-21 days.
Ideally, you want to keep your kombucha between about 75-85 degrees F. You can put a thermometer on your kombucha container to keep track of the temperature.
Our house tends to be on the cooler side, so sometimes the process is a little slower. The Fermentaholics SCOBY bag warns that “Cold Equals Mold”, so we try to keep the kombucha from getting too cold. If your house is consistently cool, you can get a kombucha warming mat to keep the process moving along.
For your second batch of kombucha, save the SCOBY and 1-2 cups of the first batch mix.
Use the formula of 1 cup of sugar, 8 bags of tea, and 2 cups starter tea per batch. I do this, making enough tea to fill a gallon jar (allowing room for the starter tea).
At this point you keep repeating the process to make your kombucha.
After weeks to months, the SCOBY grows quite a bit under the right conditions.
You can start bottling the extra kombucha, leaving enough room in the jar for expansion (and keep in mind that bottles can explode if not properly prepared). Once your SCOBY grows and you get the hang of making batches of kombucha, you can experiment with different flavors and add-ins as well.