Interested in brewing your own kombucha? It’s an easy and inexpensive way to enjoy that delicious, tangy, healthful, probiotic beverage!
In my last post, I explained how I grew my own SCOBY from a bottle of store-bought kombucha. (It’s absurdly easy). That was Stage One.
Next, I’ll explain how you can brew your first batch of kombucha with your brand-new, homegrown SCOBY.
After that, I’ll share what I’ve learned about flavouring and carbonating your kombucha.
Stage Two: Brewing Your First Batch of Kombucha
First, you’re going to need a vessel in which to brew your kombucha. To be honest, this was the trickiest part for me! It needs to be glass (NOT plastic or metal), it needs to have a large enough mouth to be able to transfer the SCOBY in and out, and it needs to be big enough to hold your whole brew for about a week.
I’ve found the best vessel for me is a 96-oz (a.k.a. 3/4 gallon a.k.a 3-liter) glass jar (i.e. a family-sized Vlasic pickle jar). It doesn’t need to have a lid. You could start with a quart-sized jar and work your way up to something bigger (just halve the recipe I offer below).
(To give you a point of reference when determining how much to make: I’m the only one who drinks it in my house, and I drink about a glass a day. I brew a new batch every week, to keep my SCOBY happy. This sized jar gives me more than enough.)
Once you’ve got your vessel and your SCOBY ready, you need to brew a batch of sweetened black tea. So you’ll need tea (in bags or loose) and white sugar (preferably organic). You can experiment with other teas later, but black works the best to start. You could try Ceylon, English Breakfast, or Darjeeling. (Learn more about tea options here.) I personally use mostly Ceylon with a little green tea. So far, I’ve just been using a cheap box of Lipton tea; I want to find something better yet.
And don’t worry about all that sugar — it will be eaten up by the bacteria, leaving you with a low-sugar beverage.
The proportions I personally use for the sweetened tea are as follows:
- 10 cups water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 tea bags (I currently tend to use 5 black, 1 green)
- 1 1/2 cups kombucha from previous batch (or the stuff you grew your SCOBY in)
With this, you will get a little over 2 liters (half a gallon) of finished kombucha to drink. (Some, you will have saved for your next batch of kombucha.) That’s more than enough to last me a week (until the next batch is ready).
Anyway, to brew the tea, I throw the first three ingredients into a big pot, stir it, bring it to a boil, and then let it cool to room temperature. I don’t even time it or anything. It might take a couple hours to cool completely. (You just don’t want it to be too hot and kill your precious SCOBY).
Once it’s cool, Pour the sweetened tea, along with 1 1/2 cups of the old kombucha (in which you grew your SCOBY), into the big glass vessel. Then, with clean hands, place the SCOBY to float on top. (It doesn’t matter if it sinks; it’s just nice if it floats because then it will continue to get thicker. If it sinks, you’ll just get a really thin new SCOBY on top of the liquid which you could grow into a bigger SCOBY later.)
Cover your glass vessel with a kitchen towel, cheesecloth, or a coffee filter, and secure with an elastic. Then set it somewhere safe, out of direct sunlight, to ferment. The SCOBY will transform that sweetened tea into a delightful beverage.
Now you have to wait another week. Kombucha-brewing demands patience!
(Tip: Some folks will tell you to wait anywhere from 5-10 days; I have found that a week is perfect. That also makes it easy to keep brewing continuously — I know that I always brew a new batch every Wednesday.)
If all goes well, by the following week your tea mixture will have turned into a delightfully tangy, slightly effervescent drink reminiscent of cider. Yummo!
You can drink it just the way it is, but you also might choose to chill, carbonate, and/or flavour your lovely kombucha. Whatever you do, be sure to save some kombucha for your next batch!
Come back tomorrow and I’ll share a few ideas to make your kombucha extra-tasty! (Along with some tips for continuous brewing.)
Did I miss anything? Do you have any tips to add?