A couple months ago, my mom went through a three month period where she was either sick, or getting over being sick. I empathized with her, after all, I have a 7 and 3-year-old who bring home germs like they’re going out of style.
When I asked if she was interested in learning how to make kombucha at home, she was excited to learn! I started making kombucha in November of last year and had managed to make it through the entire winter and flu season without getting so much as a cold. It is actually the longest I have ever gone without getting sick, since I became a parent!
70% of Immune System Lives in the Gut
The reason I recommended my mom learn how to make kombucha is because almost 70% of the entire immune system resides in the gut (source).
So how do you help support the system that accounts for 70% of your immune system? Well, a lot of people think daily intake of probiotics can help!
What are Probiotics
Probiotics are live bacteria that are found in fermented foods or supplements that help improve the health of your digestive system (source).
Probiotics are abundant in several foods, including yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, apple cider vinegar, raw cheese, and kombucha.
Learn more about the health benefits of kombucha.
What is Kombucha
Kombucha has been around for more than 2,000 years and was originally consumed in China. It is a fermented tea, made from either green or black tea, fermented with sugar and a tea fungus known as a SCOBY, over a one to two week period.
How to Make Kombucha
I have had a lot of friends who love kombucha and spend hundreds of dollars buying bottled kombucha at the store every year. Many of them are interested in learning how to make kombucha, but they’re intimidated by the process.
I totally get that! I was nervous when I made my own batch. But after I fermented my first gallon of kombucha, I was amazed at how easy it was and how great it tasted! It truly is a simple process, and I’ll break down the steps so you can try it at your home!
Step 1: Get the Scoby
For any batch of kombucha, you’ll need a scoby.
What is a scoby? It’s an acronym for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It is a living home where bacteria and yeast naturally forms. The scoby will float to the top of the container where your kombucha is, creating a barrier from the air and other undesirable bacteria during the fermentation process.
I’ll warn you, the scoby is pretty gnarly looking:
The scoby duplicates during every fermentation. You start with one, and it grows another one over the week or two your kombucha ferments.
Pro tip: Whenever handling a scoby, make sure to wash any residue off your hands, then pour a good dose of vinegar on them and rub it around. That way you don’t damage or kill the scoby.
There are three main ways to acquire a scoby:
- If you have a friend who knows make their own kombucha, they likely have a few that they would be happy to gift you.
- If you don’t know anyone who makes kombucha, you can buy one (because Amazon has literally everything).
- I haven’t tried this, but you can also grow your own scoby.
Pro tip: Each time you make a batch of kombucha, your scoby grows an offspring. Learn how to make a scoby hotel, so you can use it to store your extra scobies.
Step 2: Make Tea
Once you have your scoby, it’s time to make kombucha!
Bring two cups of water to a boil. Stir in 1 cup of sugar, stirring until dissolved.
Add 8 black tea bags to the hot water and steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and allow to cool to room temperature.
Make sure the tea is cool enough, or the heat could kill the scoby.
To a large glass container (with no metal)*, add tea mixture. Add in scoby with one cup of starter tea from the last batch of kombucha (if you don’t have starter tea, you can add distilled white vinegar as a substitute).
Pour in 13 cups of distilled water.
Place a coffee filter or tight-weave towel over the top of the jar, and secure it with a rubber band. This will keep out all of the dust and fruit flies as it ferments.
*I picked up this container from my local Walmart, because the spigot doesn’t contain any metal, and it provides a natural filter for the kombucha. That way, I can dispense the kombucha straight from my brewing container into my bottles.
Step 3: Let it Ferment
Place the kombucha out of direct sunlight in an area that is 68-85 degrees (Fahrenheit). Allow to ferment for 7 – 30 days.
The longer you ferment the kombucha, the more vinegary it becomes and the less sweet it will taste. I personally love it right around 3 weeks, but my mom prefers to bottle it around day 10 for a sweeter drink.
Step 4: Bottle the Kombucha
Once your kombucha has finished fermenting, it’s time to bottle it!
I purchased Grolsch beers, which are made with glass jars and non-metal sealed lids to keep the kmobucha secure for the last 2 days of fermentation.
The secure lids are super important if you’re going to continue fermenting the kombucha for a couple days after they’re bottled. Because the kombucha is under pressure, if you don’t have a secure lid, it could pop off under pressure and potentially be a hazard, or at the least, messy.
You can also purchase kombucha bottles from Amazon, but they’re a lot more expensive and you don’t get to drink a beer.
I do pour single servings of kombucha into mason jars on the day I am going to consume them, but I don’t store kombucha in the jars for longer than a day.
When you have your bottles, you can pour your kombucha out of the top of your jar, filtered through a cheesecloth, a sieve, a coffee filter, or funnel. I like brewing kombucha in a metal free container like I showed above. That way I can dispense the kombucha straight into the bottles, as it self-filters.
Place the scoby in a scoby hotel. Remember to pour vinegar on your hands before handling the scoby.
Here are more elaborate instructions on how to bottle kombucha.
Extra Carbonated Kombucha
You can continue to ferment your kombucha after it’s bottled by setting it, undisturbed, away from sunlight for another 2 – 3 days. This which will increase the carbonation. Transfer to the refrigerator for up to 3 months (in a metal-free container).
If you want to flavor your kombucha, you can do that too! Learn how to flavor kombucha with a variety of fruits, herbs, and spices.
A Printable Recipe for How to Make Kombucha
- 15 cups distilled water, divided
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 black tea bags
- 1 scoby
- Bring two cups of water to a boil. Add in 1 cup of sugar, stirring until dissolved, then remove from heat.
- Add 8 black tea bags and steep for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove tea bags and allow mixture to cool.
- Once room temperature, add tea blend to a gallon glass jar, Add in scoby and fill to the top with distilled water.
- Top jar with a coffee filter, secure with a rubber band, and set out of direct sunlight in a place that is 68-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow to sit, undisturbed, for 7 - 30 days.
- Filter kombucha through a cheesecloth, sieve, or coffee filter into all glass jars. Secure bottle with lids and transfer to the refrigerator, or set on counter top for 2-3 additional days (max) to increase the carbonation.
- Kombucha will keep in your refrigerator for about 3 months.
Pin this Recipe – How to Make Kombucha
Want to make your own kombucha but are not quite ready or don’t have all the ingredients? No problem – just click the image below to pin this to your favorite pinterest board so you can come back whenever you’re ready!
I hope this has been a helpful guide on how to make your own kombucha! If you have any questions about the process, drop a comment below and I’ll reply!