I recently started making my own kombucha again, after taking a break from brewing for about a year and a half. It's honestly so fun and so simple. I think any one who has the right tools for the job and can set a reminder in the phone to check the kombucha as it brews, can do this well.
To start you'll need:
- A large glass jar (I use half gallon jars, but many people use 1 gallon jars)
- Coffee filters
- Organic green or black tea bags
- Organic sugar
- Filtered Water
- A scoby
- Some patience
This recipe will use ratios appropriate for a half gallon batch of kombucha. Just double the recipe if you are using a one gallon jar.
1. Boil 7 cups of filtered water. Pour the hot water into your sterilized jar (just wash it in the dishwasher before brewing kombucha so that it's nice and clean). Then add 5-6 tea bags of your choice. I use organic black or green tea. Just make sure not to use any herbal or flavored teas. Let the tea steep for 10 minutes.
2. Once the tea has finished steeping, remove the tea bags and compost them. Add 1/2 cup of organic sugar and stir until dissolved.
3. Let your sweet tea sit on the counter until it has cooled down to room temperature. (This is where the patience first comes into play).
4. Once the tea has cooled, you can add your scoby. Make sure you have clean hands before touching your scoby. Also, never allow any metals to touch your scoby. it can damage it. Use wooden or silicone spoons or tongs, or just clean hands.
5. After the scoby is added to your tea, top the jar with a coffee filter and secure the filter on with a rubber band or just use the metal rim (like in the picture below). You want your kombucha to have good airflow, without allow anything to get into your jar. I find that coffee filters work well (as a bonus, they're compostable).
6. Allow your scoby to go to work for 7-14 days. You'll begin to notice a faint, vinegary smell as the kombucha brews. Deciding when the kombucha is ready is mostly about taste preference. The longer it brews the less sweet it will be, but you don't want to let it sit too long. I usually wait about 10 days. As your kombucha brews, a new scoby will begin to form. Often it will form along the top of the tea, or will grow on the existing scoby. This means it's working! You can taste your kombucha to see if it's done brewing, but putting a straw into the kombuca and taking a little taste. you don't want to drink it just like a soda. Instead, stick your straw in a few inches, put your finger over the top of the straw to develop suction, then remove the straw from the jar and taste your kombucha. If you try to drink straight from the jar with the straw, you can contaminate the kombucha with your germs.
7. Once the kombucha is brewed to your liking, remove the scoby with clean hands and put in a separate jar with one cup of the brewed kombucha. Strain the remaining kombucha through a collander and into a large bowl. Add the strained kombucha to a jar that hsa a tight seal. I use these. Then add flavors of your choice. You can add whole fruits or fruit juices, ginger, mint, or other herbs. Some of my favorite combinations are strawberry-blueberry-mint and lemon-ginger-mint.
8. Seal the container and let sit for a few more days. You can let it brew in the refrigerator or on the counter, but I recommend the fridge if you're using whole fruits or herbs. It may take a few extra days in the refrigerator, but you avoid the threat of mold (which is a big plus for me). You can use mason jars, empty kombucha bottles, etc. for this stage. Just make sure whatever bottle you use has a tight seal, as that will help develop some bubbles in your kombucha.
9. Once the second ferment is completed, strain out any whole fruit pieces or herbs and put the flavored kombucha in bottles of your choice. I usually put mine back in the bottles I used for the second ferment, but you can use single serving sized bottles as well.