Friends! I have officially endeavored into making homemade kombucha, and it is the best. You really should try it if you have (a) every been curiously interested in making the brew or (b) if you buy it in the store. Homemade ‘buch’ ( /booch/ ) is super easy, yummy, and will save you gobs of money. And, it’s good for you. Win-win.
I had been curious about the buch home-brew for a while, and, fortuitously, a co-worker was offering SCOBYs (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast= SCOBY) up for grabs. The SCOBY is the culture which ferments a normal brew of tea + sugar + vinegar into kombucha. I figured, why not? I quickly amazon primed a couple of glass gallon jars like these and googled my way on to my first batch.
I thought for sure I was going to kill my first round of SCOBYs (yes, they are live cultures). There was little doubt in my mind something would go wrong. And, get this, I started my first batch with a flavored tea, which I found out is a no-no (something about the flavor add and the SCOBY no likey). But, guess what? Despite my unintended efforts at SCOBY death, SCOBYs are tough little suckers. First batch success! Woah! A few days after I kicked off my starter batch, the SCOBYs were doing their fermenting thing (the good-for-your-gut-stuff) and creating new SCOBYs. Side note, SCOBYs grow fast as all get out and multiply each batch.
Behold my new SCOBY friends. Yes, they are kind of gross, but one gets acclimated. They are quite remarkable when I really think about it.
Here is my process for 1/2 Gallon of Kombucha:
What you Need
– 6 to 7 cups hot to boiling water
– 4 tea bags (many say black tea but I say experiment)
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 cup distilled white vinegar
Instructions: Combine hot/boiling water, sugar, and tea bags in your lovely glass gallon container for 10 minutes to whenever the water cools to room temperature (see, you really can’t go wrong with Kombucha. Steep tea for as long as you like. It’s so easy and forgiving). Remove the tea bags and add the cup of white vinegar. Add the SCOBY, cover with cloth or a coffee filter (something breathable- SCOBYs need air too), and set aside out of the direct sun. You want to keep the tea + SCOBY in the range of 68-85 degrees.
You can leave the brew doing it’s thing anywhere from 7 to 30 days. The longer you leave it be, the move vinegary the kombucha. I typically let it sit for 7 to 12 days.
Optional step: Once happy with the fermentation, I suggest pouring into grolsch style beer bottles (seen in top photo) for a second fermentation period without the SCOBY. This is where you get the carbonation action, aka the fizzy good stuff. Leave the kombucha in the grolsch bottles for a few days for some carbonation. I pop the tops each day or so to allow some depressurization.
And there you have it, I feel like I am making moonshine but it’s just some yummy homemade kombucha.
Final thought: What are you learning these days? Beyond the health benefits and money savings of brewing my kombucha at home, I feel empowered by learning something new and making something from scratch instead of defaulting to buying it in the store. Keep your minds and lives expanding my friends. It’s a wonderful thing.
Leave any questions or comments about your process below. I would love to hear from you.