Do you love kombucha but don’t love the price tag? Well, you are in luck! You can easily make your own kombucha at home with this easy guide.
We will walk you through the steps of how to make kombucha at home. We will also provide some tips for those just starting out.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started on your own kombucha today!
What You Need
- A healthy SCOBY
- 1 cup of previously made unflavored kombucha (aka starter liquid)
- 6 bags of organic black tea
- 1 cup of organic cane sugar
- 12 cups of filtered water
- A 1-gallon glass jar (at least 1 gallon)
- A breathable cloth (but not too breathable… no cheesecloths)
- A rubber band
- Strong glass bottles with strong lids (flip-top bottles are the best)
- Fruit or something to flavor it with (optional)
- A heating pad (could be optional if you are placing it in a warm spot)
- A temperature strip
Below is everything that I used to get started. These are budget-friendly options. If you’re interested, you can see the equipment that I’m currently using here.
Step 1: Brew Your Tea
- In a pot (or electric tea kettle if you’re fancy like me), bring 4 cups of water to boil
- Once the water is boiling, remove it from the heat and place your 6 organic black tea bags in the water.
- Let the tea steep for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Add Sugar
- Add 1 cup of your organic cane sugar into your brewing vessel (1-gallon glass container).
- Pour your warm tea into the glass container.
- Stir the tea to make sure all of the sugar is dissolved, making some super awesome sweet tea (but don’t drink it… I know it’s tempting).
Step 3: Add More Water and Let The Tea Cool
- Add 8 cups of cold, filtered water to your tea.
- Make sure your tea is cooled to at least 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius). Anything warmer may end up harming your SCOBY)
Step 4: Add Your SCOBY and Starter Liquid
- Take your healthy SCOBY and 1 cup of already brewed kombucha and pour it into your glass jar
- Take your cloth and secure it to the top of your glass jar with your rubber band.
- Place your glass jar in a warm place that is not in direct sunlight.
Step 5: Wait and Watch (I know…. uggghhhhhh)
Welcome to the “1st Fermentation”!
When brewing kombucha at home, the first fermentation is the most important step. This is when the tea is first fermented with the SCOBY. With any luck, they’ll make a baby SCOBY (queue romantic music).
- For the first few days, you probably won’t notice a whole lot. Your SCOBY is getting in the mood and checking out its new crib. It’s important to not disturb it during this time. It can get cranky.
- Monitor the temperature of your kombucha. I found the optimal temperature to be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything under 70 degrees really slows down the fermentation. If you find it constantly under 70 degrees, place a heating wrap around it (just make sure it doesn’t get too hot).
- Hopefully, after a few days (it could take a week depending on your environment), you’ll notice a milky white layer at the top of your brew. This is a GOOD sign that your SCOBY has been gettin’ busy and fermenting. I know it’s tempting, but DON’T disturb it.
- Once the layer on top becomes more opaque and solid in color, take a clean spoon and get a small taste. If it’s still sweet, let it keep fermenting. If it’s too acidic, it has gone too long (it isn’t ruined… just add more sweet tea to take down the acidity). Ideally, we’re looking for something in between being sweet and tart.
Step 6: Bottle Your Kombucha
Once your kombucha is tasting good, it’s time to flavor and bottle it!
Technically you could drink it as-is if you want. However, the 2nd fermentation is where you have a chance to flavor and carbonate your kombucha to make it unique.
- Place some fruit or other sweetner like honey into the bottom of your bottles. Get creative! Just make sure that it is something sweet – otherwise, you’ll be wondering why your kombucha isn’t carbonating.
- Fill the remainder of your bottle with your freshly brewed kombucha. Leave about an inch of room at the top
- Place the cap on your bottle and make sure it is tight. If you’re using the recommended flip-top bottles, you’ll be good to go.
- Place your bottles in a warm, dark environment. I keep mine in a cooler with a heat wrap around them. This will allow the second fermentation to kick off quickly.
- After a couple of days (not longer), I like to “burp” the bottle to see how carbonated it is. I would recommend doing this over a sink just in case it’s already super carbonated. If you don’t hear anything, give it another couple of days. If it’s already slightly carbonated but not to your liking, place the cap back on and let it ferment longer. Just don’t go too long or you may risk an explosion (which is rare if you use the correct bottles).
- Once your brew is carbonated perfectly, place it in the fridge. This will not only chill it, but it will stop the fermentation.
Step 7: Drink Your Kombucha!
Need I say more?