I recently posted a photo on my Instagram of the process of ‘harvesting’ my kombucha when it was done fermenting. I received so many questions about this and as I too was once digging around for a simple method, I felt it was time to offer some quick and easy directions.
Now I know there are several variations on brewing kombucha — some people brew for a few weeks, then add more sugar to further carbonate. Some like to add fruit or other flavored teas.
The ones you buy in the store are often enhanced with forced carbonation, sugar and sometimes ‘natural’ flavours.
For right now, what I’m sharing is my most basic, almost foolproof method for brewing. I say ‘almost’ because when it comes to fermentation, there are no guarantees. We’re working with living cultures, here!
The hardest part about making this is actually waiting the weeks for it to be ready!
1 gallon of clean water (preferably not straight from your tap)
1 cup organic white sugar
8 organic caffeinated tea bags (I recommend an organic Earl Grey)
1/2 cup kombucha (optional*)
1 SCOBY (get one online, at your local health food store or from a health loving friend!)
Fill your gallon jug with water and then pour that into your pot. (This is an easy way to measure the volume you need.)
Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Add sugar and tea. Stir and allow to steep with the lid off. You want your water to cool to room temperature.
Once water has cooled to where you can stick your finger in and it’s neither too hot nor too cold, transfer it to your clean gallon jar. Stir in the 1/2 cup of kombucha*. Use your wooden spoon to add your SCOBY.
Cover with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Keep in a slightly warm spot, like beside your oven or on top of your fridge. By the window in the winter would be a bad idea as the cooler the area, the longer it will take to ferment.
Be patient. Let sit for 2-4 weeks. Start tasting it after two weeks and then every few days until it’s to your desired taste.
*If you don’t have a 1/2 cup of kombucha, it’s okay. This simply acts as a starter. It just might mean your kombucha will take a little longer to ferment.
I personally like to leave my kombucha for about four weeks. I want that sugar digested fully by the SCOBY so my brews are fairly strong and not that sweet. Usually 1/4 cup is all I can sip on at one time. This is truly healing kombucha. If you like your kombucha sweeter, that’s cool too. Just know that when you’re buying the storebought kind, if it tastes super sweet, that’s because it is. I’d recommend fermenting until it’s no longer sweet and than sweetening as you like, for example, by squeezing in a little fresh orange or blueberry juice.
Additional Notes You can add flavoured tea bags to your brew by using 4-6 black tea bags and then adding, say, 2-4 peppermint or ginger tea bags.
It’s best to keep your SCOBY away from direct contact with metal. I don’t know why, but I remember someone telling me this.
It’s best to use a plain organic white sugar. It’s the sugar the SCOBY wants, so adding a whole coconut sugar or sucanut can interfere with the process. Once you’ve done it a few times with organic sugar, I invite you to play with other sweeteners. Let me know how it goes!
I know that kombucha brewing can be a personal thing. If you have your own preferred methods or tips, I invite you to share them below.