Although it seems kind of intimidating at first, you can make your own kombucha very easily once you get the hang of it. If you regularly buy kombucha at the store, making it at home will save you a lot of money. A 16 oz. bottle of store-bought kombucha will run anywhere from $3-$6. Compare that to homemade kombucha which can cost as little as 50¢ a gallon!
Of course there are the initial costs of setting up a kombucha brewing system, but it’s a relatively small investment if you like to regularly drink kombucha. If you or your family likes soda-like beverages, switching to kombucha can be a great investment in your health.
I’ve been making kombucha for years and aside from it’s delightful effervescence and delicious taste it’s also very good for you! In the photo below you’ll see just a few health benefits of kombucha:
How to make your own kombucha tea:
- 1 kombucha scoby (where to buy a kombucha scoby)- A scoby is the culture that will ferment the tea. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast.
- 1 cup of starter kombucha (i.e. already made kombucha. You can get starter kits here)- You can buy already made kombucha at most health food stores, just make sure it’s pure unflavored kombucha with nothing added to it
- 8 tea bags or about 8-10 tbsp. loose leaf tea- Organic black, green or oolong tea. I prefer oolong because it has a mild smokey flavor which I like.
- 1 gallon purified water (where to buy water purifiers that remove fluoride)
- 1 cup organic sugar– It is important that you use organic cane sugar for this because other sugars wont work. Don’t worry about the sugar content because the scoby eats up the sugar. You can tell by tasting it before fermentation and after fermentation. Before it has fermented it will taste extremely sweet, but after it’s done it will have a somewhat sour taste and mildly sweet flavor.
- Glass container that can hold at least 1 gallon. Getting one with a spigot attached adds a lot of convenience because then when you need to transfer the kombucha to the fridge you can pour it out through the spigot instead of lifting a heavy glass container and trying to pour it into smaller jars. One like this would work great.
- Cloth or dish towel to cover container
1. Make sure all utensils and hands are clean before you start. Scobys can be sensitive so you don’t want to get anything on it that will kill it. Don’t use any metals when dealing with the scoby, only use glass, plastic or wood. To make the tea you can use a stainless steel pot because you won’t be putting the scoby in the pot. Once you transfer the tea to the glass container with the scoby, you don’t want to be using any metals. Make sure your hands are clean when handling the scoby.
2. In a large stock pot bring one gallon of purified water to a rolling boil. Turn heat off and add tea to the pot. Let tea steep for about 5-10 minutes. I usually use loose leaf tea with a large stainless steel tea strainer (like this one). It’s easier than opening up a bunch of tea bags.
3. Remove tea from the pot and add one cup of sugar and mix well with a wooden spoon.
4. Let the tea sit for a while until it cools to room temperature. I usually just let the tea sit all day because it takes a while for it to cool down. You don’t want to add the scoby to hot water because the heat will kill it and it wont work.
5. Once the tea has cooled to room temperature pour it into your glass container. Add 1 cup of starter kombucha and the scoby. Cover the container with a cloth or dish towel secured with a rubber band or string. Do not seal the container with a light lid.
6. Leave the container in a location that will be warm and not in direct sunlight or subject to breezes or drafts. A closet is generally a good spot. The warmer the location is the quicker the kombucha will ferment.
7. Leave the kombucha undisturbed for about 1-2 weeks. You can check the kombucha after 1 week by tasting it. If the scoby has grown substantially (so that it is covering the surface of the kombucha) and the kombucha is effervescent/bubbly and tastes slightly sour and not too sweet it may be done. If it still tastes sugary and it’s not very bubbly, it may need more time. You can check it every few days at this point to check if it’s to your liking. If you’ve had store-bought kombucha that is a good indicator of how finished kombucha should taste. Judging when it’s done can be a personal preference as well, some people like it more bubbly, some like it less. I prefer more bubbly.
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Information and statements regarding health claims on this blog have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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