Kombucha How-To Guide

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know about my love for kombucha. I started my journey of brewing my own earlier this summer and never looked back! Since investing in my home brewing kit, I have not consumed any store bought kombucha (unless of course I’m out of town or something). I really love it and I hope you try it too! Be sure to scroll down to read the “Kombucha Q & A” for common questions and concerns with kombucha and get my Pumpkin Spice Kombucha recipe. I linked as much as I could so you can easily pick up the items below. Let’s jump into it!

Equipment/ingredients needed:

  1. 1 gallon glass (no plastic!) jar
  2. 1 SCOBY
  3. 12 Black tea bags
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. Tea kettle
  6. Cheese cloth
  7. Rubber band
  8. 16 oz glass bottles or re-used kombucha bottles
  9. 1 gallon distilled water
  10. 1 cup regular kombucha
  11. Plastic funnel
  12. Flavorings of your choice (i.e. blueberries, mango, black cherries, ginger, lemons, etc.)

Kombucha 12.jpg

The Brewing Process

Step 1: Wash the glass jar, dry, and set aside.

Step 2: Boil 8 cups of distilled water then let the 12 tea bags brew for about 10 minutes. Discard the tea bags.

Step 3: While water is coming to a boil, pour 8 cups of distilled water into the glass jar. Add 1 cup sugar.

Step 4: Once the tea is done brewing, add the tea to the glass jar and stir to combine. Let cool for about an hour or so until the temperature comes down to 70-80 degrees. Kombucha 6.jpg

Step 5: Add the SCOBY and 1 cup of regular kombucha.

Step 6: Cut cheese cloth to cover the top of the glass jar and hold in place using a rubber band around the top of the jug. Kombucha 8

Step 7: Store in a dry, warm (ideally between 70-80 degrees) room away from light for about 7-14 days.*

*The kombucha can sit for up to a month like this. The longer you let it ferment, the more vinegary and acidic it becomes. It totally depends on your preference of flavor for the kombucha.

 

The Flavoring Process

Step 1: Add fruit, herbs, spices, or other ingredients of your choice to fill about 20% of the 12-oz bottles. Don’t overthink this part. Just throw in a little bit of this and that especially when using fresh fruit.

Step 2: Using the funnel, pour the kombucha into each 12-oz bottle leaving about an inch from the top. Kombucha 3

Step 3: Put the tops on and store in a dry, warm (ideally between 70-80 degrees) room away from light for about 4 days.

*Step 4: Each day the kombucha will carbonate more and more so you’ll want to burp (or open) the bottle once a day to let the air out. It is very important not to forget this step! If you forget, the potential of a Mount Vesuvius explosion is possible. I’m warning you from a place of personal experience lol. I recommend doing this in the sink of the kitchen to help avoid a sticky mess. For me, every kombucha batch has been a little different and it definitely depends on the type of ingredients you add. For example, fruit is a sugar so it tends to ferment and create more gas to let off.

Step 5: After 4 days (and burping each day), place your kombucha in the refrigerator and enjoy at any point! Kombucha 10.jpg

 

Kombucha Q & A

WTF is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented tea that is often considered a functional food due to its proposed health benefits. Its origins are relatively unknown but it’s said to have started in China, Russia, Europe, and eventually the United States.

What is a SCOBY?

A SCOBY stands for a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Gross right? WRONG. It’s science and this little “mother” of weirdness works kombucha magic. The yeast and bacteria in the SCOBY ferment with the sugary tea resulting in a liquid containing vinegar, B vitamins, and other chemical compounds depending on the variations in preparation. The SCOBY can be reused for multiple batches and should produce more SCOBY’s as you continue to brew.

How do I know if my SCOBY has gone bad?

I get this question a lot because in general SCOBY’s are ugly, yet magnificent creatures. If your SCOBY is actively growing mold on the top of it or has fuzzy white, red, green, or any odd color to it, it’s time to ditch the batch and order yourself a new SCOBY.

How can I preserve or store my SCOBY long-term if I’m not brewing another batch of kombucha?

For 3 months or less, you can store it in a glass jar with enough regular kombucha to cover the SCOBY. Put the top on the jar and store in the refrigerator. For 3 months or more, you can make a SCOBY hotel by taking another 2L glass jar, stack your SCOBY’s on top of each other, and pour 50% kombucha and 50% newly brewed tea mixed with sugar (cooled to room temperature) over the SCOBY’s. To make the tea mixture, brew about 3 cups of black tea and combine with ½ cup sugar. Every so often, pour more kombucha in to keep the SCOBY’s covered and provide more food (aka sugar) for the SCOBY’s. Cover with cheese cloth and store at room temperature in a dry location out of direct sunlight.

What are the potential health benefits of kombucha?

The proposed health benefits of kombucha include reducing inflammation and improving gut health and digestion due to the healthy bacteria or probiotics found in kombucha.

Does Kombucha have alcohol in it?

Yes. Kombucha has about 1% or less alcohol content depending on the duration of the fermentation process.

What’s your favorite thing about brewing kombucha?

I really enjoy the process of trialing different flavor combinations. As the seasons change and different ingredients come into season, I’m enjoying it more and more. With fresh fruit, it’s truly hard to go wrong with flavor combinations. The only flavor addition I didn’t love was grapefruit, but I’m already not a big grapefruit lover so I think I’m just bias. 😉

Now, it’s time for my favorite flavor combination, Pumpkin Spice Kombucha! I hope you guys enjoy and feel free to leave comments with any additional questions. -EAB

Pumpkin Spice Kombucha

Course Drinks
Keyword kombucha
Servings 1 16-oz bottle
Author Liz Bissell

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping tbsp 100% Pumpkin puree
  • 1 heaping tsp Pumpkin pie spice
  • 16 ounces Homemade Kombucha
  • 1 16-ounce glass bottle

Instructions

  1. Using the funnel, add the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice to the bottle.

  2. Next, fill the bottle with homemade kombucha. Store the bottle in a dry place out of direct sunlight.

  3. For 4 days, burb (or crack the lid to let air out) the bottle once a day (ideally over the sink). After the 4 days, refrigerate the kombucha and enjoy once chilled. Keep refrigerated.