no milk monday

kombucha cherry

how to make kombucha

8 Comments

Because I am have so much free time and nothing better to do, like laundry, I am going to attempt to make Kombucha.
Who knows, it may even save us 3.50 a day.
The best part is dragging my best friend, Mallory, into this and of course making her try it first.
Fingers crossed.

How to Make Kombucha Tea

July 27, 2009 in D.I.Y., Food

kombucha-bottles
Three bottles of grape-flavored kombucha made at home.

I was surprised when I received so many requests about how to make kombucha tea. With a 16-ounce bottle costing $3.50 at Whole Foods, it’s nice to know how to make it at home. It’s not hard at all.

The benefit to drinking kombucha is the probiotics that help your digestive system, and a lot of people just like the taste. It’s hard to describe, but the taste reminds me of dry champagne.

Store-bought kombucha can be too strong for my taste, but when you make it at home, you get to adjust it to suit your preference.

Ingredients:
2 quarts water, filtered
4 organic black tea bags
¾ cup white granulated sugar
½ cup kombucha from the last batch
1 SCOBY

Q: What is a SCOBY and where do you get one?

A: SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. It’s what transforms the sweet black tea into kombucha and provides the healthy probiotics. You can receive one from a friend who makes kombucha, you can order one through the mail, or you can grow one from a bottle of store-bought kombucha tea (that’s how I did mine, see directions below).

Directions to Make Kombucha Tea

Be careful to keep everything really clean. I make each batch in a half-gallon canning jar, which produces enough for three 16-oz bottles.
kombucha-tea
Day 1:

  1. Boil a quart of filtered water.
  2. Add 4 tea bags and let steep for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in 3/4 cup of sugar and let cool.
  4. Pour tea into a half-gallon glass canning jar and then fill the jar with cool filtered water.
  5. Add the SCOBY and 1/2 cup of kombucha from the last batch as a starter.
  6. Cover jar with a muslin cloth or paper towel and secure it with a rubber band or the canning jar ring.
  7. Let it sit undisturbed in a dark place for about 5-10 days. The longer it sits, the less sweet it will be. You can sample it with a straw to see how long you want to wait. I usually let it sit for 9 full days.

Day 10 (or sooner, if you prefer):

  1. Remove the SCOBY from the jar, and place it on a plate.
  2. Reserve a half cup of kombucha to start the next batch.
  3. Pour the kombucha into bottles. I use glass swing-top bottles with rubber gaskets from a homebrew store that sells equipment for making wine and beer. A batch this size fills three 16-oz bottles.
  4. Add flavoring if you like. Since we like grape flavor, I add a little less than 1/4 cup grape juice to each 16-oz bottle.
  5. Let the bottles sit at room temperature for 5 days. This improves the flavor and adds carbonation.  After 5 days, transfer the bottles to the refrigerator. They’re ready to drink!
With this routine, every nine days I start a new batch of kombucha, and each batch takes two weeks to be ready to drink. I use my calendar to help me remember when to start a new batch and when to move the bottles to the fridge.

Q: I avoid refined sugar. Can I use an alternative like honey instead?

A: From what I’ve read, the SCOBY does best with sugar in the most simple form possible. Most of the sugar will be consumed before you drink the kombucha anyway.

Q: I’m not ready to make the next batch. Can I store the SCOBY?

A: Store your SCOBY covered with some kombucha in a jar until you’re ready to start the next batch.

How to Grow a SCOBY

kombucha-scoby

  1. Start with a new 16-ounce bottle of plain store-bought kombucha. A popular brand is GT’s and this link may help you find it locally.
  2. Pour the kombucha into a wide-mouth glass canning jar, and cover the jar with muslin cloth or a paper towel.
  3. After about four days, a SCOBY will start to form. Add some sweet black tea to help the SCOBY grow. (Sweet black tea made with a cup of water, one tea bag, and 1/4 cup granulated white sugar.)
  4. After about ten more days, the SCOBY should be ready. You probably won’t want to drink any of this starter batch of kombucha (because of the taste), but do save a half cup of it for a new batch.

Q: I’m not sure if my SCOBY looks right. How would I know if it’s contaminated?

A: Try searching Google for photos to compare. If your SCOBY has brown tendrils on it, that’s probably extra yeast, and you can just remove those. If you think your SCOBY has mold on it, be safe and start over.

We liked this homemade kombucha so much that now we have two jars of it brewing side by side. When each batch is ready, you can pass along part of your SCOBY to someone else or continue to use it.

That’s the basic kombucha recipe. Try adding different varieties of fruits or juices to vary the flavors!
(UPDATE)

    

after using a couple different teas and flavoring methods , i thought i would share my experience and preferences.

successful flavoring options

organic black:  “robust” with a hint of cider flavor
organic green: (preferred)  light fresh flavor with a hint of earthy greens – this is what you find in common grocery store buchas

cherry- blueberry green kombucha 
1/5 cup cherry juice concentrate
3/4 cup of fresh blueberries {stuffed right into the bottle}

cherry kombucha
1/5 cup cherry juice

blueberry kombucha
1 cup fresh blueberries/ 1/5 cup blueberry concentrate

cranberry raspberry kombucha
1 cup cranberry raspberry juice

cranberry raspberry ginger lemon kombucha
3/4 cup cranberry raspberry juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1     ginger, chunk (peeled)

ginger lemon
1   ginger, chunk (peeled)
1/4 cup lemon, squeezed
dash of lemon rind, zested

pink lemonade kombucha
1/4 cup lemon, squeezed
1/5 cup pomegranate concentrate/ or 1/5 cup cherry concentrate

i choose not to eat the flavored pieces, although I hear they are great. Instead, I pour mine over a glass of ice and enjoy.



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Author: nomilkmonday

Dairy-free

8 thoughts on “how to make kombucha

  1. I am so interested in trying this! I am not sure if I have the fortitude to follow through with all these steps. I have had digestive issues (tmi?, lol) and I would love to make this at home to see if it helps. The link however about where to find the store bought kombucha didn’t work though-it seemed to either be nonexistent or just not linking correctly.

    Can you add any juice to flavor it? Juice or puree?

  2. I am so glad I found your site. I don’t get to Whole Foods very often as it is out of the way to where I live and work. But I did venture in there this morning and found some GT Kombucha. I’ve been drinking the hot Happy Kombucha from David’s Tea and have hooked many friends on it. But today was a surprise as I found the bottled kind. I picked up the Trilogy flavour, which is raspberry, lemon, and ginger. Needless to say, I’ve spent most of my morning looking to find someone in my area that has a starter. I’m going to try making a scoby from the bottled kind like you suggest and see how it goes. Your instructions are specific and easy to follow! Thanks so much! Happy Kombucha!!

    • i am confident that you will be forever changed once you start making your own.
      i have just posted flavoring ideas to help with the second stage of the brewing process.
      keep me updated and know that I am happy to help with any questions you may have along the way.
      i ordered my scoby from ebay (of all places) – but do not be alarmed as your new “baby” forms on top will look different then the one(s) you purchase.
      happy kombucha making, and you won’t even need luck – just a bit of patience :]

  3. Pingback: kombucha perfection | no milk monday

  4. hahha scoby…seems so complicated

    • Food allergies can cause a miryad of skin issues. The redness behind the ears sounds like eczema. GAPS diet can sometimes help this, or if you want to start slow, avoiding gluten and dairy (you might already do this- sorry I get all my bloggers confused and am too lazy at the moment to backtrack and study your diet) My daughter’s eczema clears when she eats a low salicylate diet, specifically having a problem with apples. Look at what he is craving or what might be out of balance in his diet, and unfortunately, that is usually the culprit. AWESOME idea about the SCOBY too. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Hi! I saw you at Trader Joe’s a couple of days ago and you said I could find a recipe for kombucha on your site. Checking it out now. Much thanks!

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