In Nutrition on
June 19, 2018

Beginners Guide to Kombucha

Kombucha!

We’ve all heard of it, we’ve heard the health benefits but we are also all just about done with spending $4+ per bottle at the store.

Kombucha costs pennies to make at home and really isn’t as intimidating as it sounds.

What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe you kill the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), not a big deal, just ask a friend for another one! Maybe a bottle “explodes” because you forgot to burp it. It’s an annoying mess but that’s about it.

Kombucha brewing really is a very forgiving process and after a couple of times it becomes an easy, 5 minute part of your week. 

For those of you that have been brewing, this is not for you. This is the very, very basics of kombucha, if you’d like a more in depth post I’d be more than happy to do another one! If you’ve been brewing for awhile, share some tips and tricks down below!

There’s one thing I want you to keep in mind throughout this whole process…..

 

Don’t overthink it! Get a good foundation, get some extra SCOBY’s then start experimenting!

 

What You Will Need (For a gallon of  Booch + Food for Mother) :

  • SCOBY + 1-2 Cups Starter
  • 6-8 Bags/Servings Black or Green Tea (start with black or green, you need the caffeine to help your SCOBY grow)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Gallon-ish Distilled or Filtered Water (do not use tap, the chlorine can kill the scooby-bebes)
  • A Large Bowl of Ice
  • 1-2 bottles of your favorite Suja or Naked Juice (pick something fruit based without preservatives, you can always make your own juice/smoothie as well)
  • Gallon Jar  (I bought this two pack, one for my brew and one for mother)
  • Fermentation Bottles (I ordered two of these, don’t skimp on bottles, you NEED fermentation bottles)
  • Funnel With or W/Out Strainer (not a need, but definitely helps)

A tiny, starter SCOBY, this may take a month + to turn your tea to booch

A large, healthy, thick SCOBY. This may only take a week to ferment a gallon.

Before You Start:

  • NEVER use antibacterial soap (or any soap) on anything that will be touching your SCOBY.
  • Wash everything and your hands with vinegar
  • It seems like a lot of sugar/caffeine but your final kombucha will have little to no sugar as that is what the SCOBY feeds off of.
  • Dat’s it. K.I.S.S.

First Fermentation

  1. Brew your tea and sugar with about 1 gallon of water, no need to measure. I bring it to a boil then let it sit 10-20 minutes, I like it pretty dark and strong. Just make sure the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Pour in your big bowl of ice to bring it to room temperature. This will also slightly dilute your tea and increase the volume. Make sure all ice melts and it is room temperature, not too cold. Alternatively, you could just let it cool down to room temperature, in that case start with more water.
  3.  In one of your 1 gallon jars add your tea mixture almost to the top, leaving maybe 3 inches of space. Take 1 SCOBY (if you only have one then it’s all in the same jar or you can cut it in half) and 1-2 cups of your starter liquid and add it to your tea mixture.
  4. Add the left over liquid to your mother jar (for 2+ SCOBY’s) to feed your mother.
  5. Cover with a kitchen towel and let sit for 5+ days (depending on your SCOBY it may take longer, rarely shorter) Taste your tea mixture daily using a straw.

*NOTE* It will not be carbonated at the first fermentation. This comes in the second ferment.

 

Notice how dark the tea is. This is at the start of the fermentation process.

After a week the kombucha is lighter and ready to second ferment (different batch than above)

Don’t Stress

  • Your SCOBY may get bumpy, extra firm, stringy, bubbly…..it’s all good! Unless it turns blue or green on the top then it’s all good! Unfortunately if it does turn blue or green you need to discard the whole batch as it’s dangerous mold. I’ve never had this happen but it’s the reason I keep two separate jars. Mold comes from outside bacteria getting into your batch, maybe a stray bug or dust.
  • A week or two has passed and your kombucha is still a little sweet? It may be because your house is a little colder which slows down the fermentation process, try moving your jar to a warm, dark place. I keep mine in the corner of my kitchen but maybe on top of your fridge or above your stove is warmer.

Second Fermentation 

  1. Once your batch is fermented to your liking it’s time to second ferment.  Pour in about a 1/4 cup of the Suja or Naked (or homemade) juice/smoothie you bought into your fermentation bottles.
  2. Add your tea mixture into the fermentation bottles.
  3. Cap and leave for 3+ days BURPING EVERY 8-12 HOURS. <– Super important, you don’t want your bottles to explode. Just briefly let the air/bubbles out. If you don’t like it carbonated, burp more often, if you prefer more carbonation burp less.
  4. Once you’ve reached your desired carbonation, put the jars in the fridge. At this point you no longer need to burp your booch.

Keep your fermented foods in a warm, dry place away from light.

Yummy, carbonated kombucha!

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