Kombucha… all of a sudden it’s everywhere. It’s sold along side of other drinks in your local convenience store, on tap at trendy restaurants and you probably know someone who’s making it at home.
Just in case you’re a complete kombucha newbie, it is a sweet, fizzy and probiotic beverage that is touted as:
- a healthy alternative to pop
- a a go-to cure for everything from cancer to sunburns
- dose of probiotic goodness
Due to the caffeine, acidity and sugar content I’m not sure that I’d recommend it as a healthy alternative to water. Regardless, all things are good in moderation! So here is everything you need to know about how to make kombucha.
What is a SCOBY
Culturing kombucha is very easy, all you need is a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts). A SCOBY is thick and rubbery culture that grows across the top of a culturing kombucha tea. It starts out as thin layers but will slowly build up to be quite thick.
You can divide a SCOBY by cutting it apart. Then you can make a few different batches of kombucha or share with a friend. Just be sure to be clean while handling your SCOBY.
Like all ferments a SCOBY does need some TLC.
- Happy SCOBYs like to be fed a diet of sucrose and black tea. It doesn’t matter whether you use beet, cane or coconut palm sugar… they just need the sucrose. (And yes coconut palm sugar is sucrose.)
- Though SCOBYs prefer a warm room (22C / 72F) they can handle colder temperatures. It will just take longer to brew kombucha.
- Like all cultures, you should keep kombucha in a different location from other cultures (especially kefir, sourdough and other yeast-based ferments).
- If you’re going away on holiday, or just want to take a break then simply stick the SCOBY in the fridge in a jar of freshly brewed sweet tea. A healthy SCOBY should be fine for a few weeks in the fridge.
How to Make Kombucha
Kombucha is very easy to make at home. All you need is a SCOBY (see section above for more information) to make this delicious and probiotic beverage.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 cups 1x
- Category: Beverages
- Method: Kombucha
- Cuisine: Probiotic
- 1 green or black tea bag (it can be decaffeinated)
- 1/4 cup of sugar (white, coconut palm or raw sugar)
- 4 cups of filtered water
- 1 piece of kombucha SCOBY
- 1/2 cup of leftover kombucha (or cultured apple cider vinegar)
- Boil 2 cups of water and make a sweet tea with the tea bags and sugar (steep and stir until the sugar is dissolved.)
- Add the remaining 2 cups of water to cool the tea down to room temperature.
- Place tea, SCOBY and leftover kombucha in a glass jar with a large opening (so you can remove the new SCOBY after brewing.)
- Cover the jar with a tea towel and use a rubber band to keep it in place.
- Leave the jar to ferment in a warm location for 3-10 days. The exact time will depend on the room temperature.
- To determine if the kombucha is finished, pour off a little of the liquid to taste it. It is finished when it has reached the desired level of sourness. (It starts really sweet and becomes sour over time.)
- Strain the liquid into a plastic pop bottle or a swing-top beer bottle for the second ferment. Reserving a 1/2 cup of brewed kombucha for next batch. At this point the kombucha can be flavoured. See notes for more details about flavouring kombucha.
- Allow to ferment for a further 1-5 days, until it is carbonated.
- Refrigerate to stop the fermentation and enjoy within 2-3 weeks.
- Kombucha can build up a lot of carbonation, so be sure to use a bottle that can handle the build up of pressure (no one wants an explosion!) Plastic bottles are good because you can squeeze them to see how well it is carbonating.
- A new SCOBY may grow across the top of your bottled kombucha. Simply pull it out and throw it away before drinking.
- Kombucha can be flavoured during the second ferment (bottled ferment) to taste like cream soda, sparkling lemonade or whatever your heart desires. Here’s my favourite flavours.
- It is possible to brew kombucha with honey or herbal tea but it does require some extra care.
- Looking to use up your leftover SCOBYs? Try making SCOBY snacks.
Keywords: summer, spring, sparkling beverage, simple, homemade, fermented, soda pop, easy