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A Simple Guide to Brew Your Own Kombucha

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Every since I started brewing kombucha, it has become a big part of our life. We almost stopped drinking any other carbonated drink including sodas and sparkling waters. 

Brewing kombucha from home is surprisingly simple and straightforward. I don’t spend too much time brewing kombucha or stay at home long enough to have time for home-cooking. I also don’t believe that I have the talent to share how to cook and make things. This is just not my expertise. 

Still, I brew kombucha from home. If you are interested as well, I strongly suggest trying it out. If I can make it, you can surely brew your own kombucha. 

If you have a busy life like me, I understand if you think you are not the person who could brew kombucha from home. If someone asks me to brew beer from home, I would definitely hesitate – although tempting.

When it comes to kombucha, however, it is a different story. The recipe is so simple that even I can manage it! 

Well, to make things clear, yes, it takes about 30 minutes in the kitchen and at least a week in the shelf to go through the two fermentation processes. So it requires some time to brew kombucha. But, it is not too complicated.

If your plate is already full and you don’t want to add more stuff, I suggest you to just brew the classic kombucha like I do (with a hint of ginger is good enough). If you have time to play around with flavors, of course, go for it. There are literately unlimited ways to flavor your kombucha.

If you are interested in reading our story about kombucha, check out our posts on 5 reasons why we drink kombucha every day and Introducing healthy drink, home-brewed kombucha.

It takes two steps to brew kombucha: first and second fermentation processes. First fermentation is to grow bacteria, and second fermentation is to flavor and add the carbonation.

In total, it takes around 7-10 days to finally brew it, but you don’t need to spend too much time in the kitchen. All you need is more patience to wait than an actual standing time in the kitchen.

In my case, I break the steps down so that I don’t spend more than 15 minutes (including preparing and cleaning) at a time in the kitchen to make kombucha. Maybe next time, I can talk about what I do to cut the time.

I hope you are ready to learn how to brew your own kombucha. Let’s dive in.

Brewing kombucha from home is surprisingly simple and straightforward. It just takes two steps to brew kombucha: first and second fermentation processes.

Kombucha

First fermentation prep

Description: This step is mainly to make a fermented sweet tea using scoby. It looks like there are so many things to prepare, but we are simply making a sweet tea and drop the scoby into the tea.

To brew a one gallon kombucha, you will need all below:

What you need

Ingredients

Kombucha Recipe

First fermentation

Step 1. Make black tea

  • Turn on the stove to boil the water. Add the dried tea leaves as well.
  • When the water starts boiling, turn off the stove and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Step 2. Add sugar

  • Drain the tea to the 1 gallon jar slowly (and don't let the leaves fall into the jar. If you have a special tool for this, that would be good, too)
  • Add the sugar into the jar and shake the jar well.
  • Slowly add 9-10 cups of water as sugar melts.

Step 3. Add the bacteria

  • Make sure the tea is not too hot.
    (I don’t typically use any thermometer as the scoby can live up to around 90 degrees. If the jar is too warm, you might need to wait until it cools down. But if you followed the exact instruction here, probably your sweet tea is already lukewarm, which is perfect to move on to the next step.)
  • Add the scoby and starter tea to the jar and seal the top with the cheese cloth and the rubber band.
  • Let it brew between 7 and 10 days where you don’t get a direct sunlight. Make sure to not disturb the fermenting process.

Kombucha

Second fermentation prep

Description: This step is to add a flavor and carbonation in your kombucha.

After 7 days have passed, bring back the jar and check the color of the liquid. It should be somewhat dark orange. Under light, it would even look lighter. You should see a new scoby formed on the top of the tea. It might not be very thick, but it’s okay. The color or the size of the new scoby doesn’t tell everything, but the color change from black to orange can be a sign that it’s ready.

The most obvious way to know when it’s ready is to actually taste the tea. It’s totally safe to taste the kombucha now. Well, actually you should try to taste, so you grow the sense to know when it’s done. Tasting is indeed the ultimate measure. If you took out too early, it would taste too sweet. If too late, it would taste vinegary. In between is the sweet spot.

I like to move onto the second fermentation when I can notice a hint of both sweetness and vinegary tastes.

Interestingly, my 1st fermentation becomes ready in 5 days. It’s first because it’s so hot in Texas and I keep the home temperature to 85 when I’m not at home. And secondly, because my starter tea is from my scoby hotel, which is stronger than a typical starter tea. 

If what I said confuses you more, don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Unless it tastes just like a sweet tea or a vinegar, you are in a safe range. And you are ready to move on.

Now let’s flavor the tea and add the carbonation.

What you need

Ingredients

KOMBUCHA RECIPE

Second fermentation

Step 1. Bottle the tea

  • Take out the scoby from the jar as well as 1 cup of kombucha. You need these raw kombucha and scoby for the next time you brew kombucha.
  • Shake the jar well so the yeast sunk on the bottom can be mixed
  • Pour the tea to the bottles using a funnel

Step 2. Add ingredients

  • Add sugar (and optionally some ginger) to each bottle.
  • Airtight the cap and keep the bottles in the room temperature for 1-3 days.
  • Make sure to refrigerate the drink for a few hours before opening the bottles to drink.

Well, that’s it!

If you try to understand what you are doing before following the instruction, the steps would make much more sense. I hope you have the courage to start your own kombucha batch. The first time is typically slower, but after then, you will get used to it and eventually love it (and won’t be able to stop). 🙂

If you have tried brewing kombucha and want to make your kombucha more carbonated, please check our post on How to make your kombucha extremely fizzy

Additionally, in case you haven’t heard, I want to introduce a book many kombucha brewers love. 

It’s called The Big Book of Kombucha written by Hannah Crum and Alex LaGory.

This book has many different kombucha recipes that you could follow easily. (Click here to find this book from Amazon.com)

Hope this post was helpful. 

Happy brewing! 🙂

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Brewing kombucha from home is surprisingly simple and straightforward. It just takes two steps to brew kombucha: first and second fermentation processes.

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Leonie Nicol
Leonie Nicol
2 years ago

Hi i have just read all your information about Kombucha tea and found it very interesting, as soon as i bottle the tea i place it in the refrigerater i think this is where i am going wrong because mine is not fizzy which hopefully i now can. Also i was unaware that you should shake the first tea when making the second brew i clean the kombucha bottle before starting my next brew, now i will shake the bottle so that all the yeast will go into the second brew. hopefully my next tea will have fizzy in it… Read more »