Supplies for making kombucha – (pronounced come-boo-cha)
Large stainless steel pot*
1 Gallon glass fermenting jar (clean, no soap residue left behind)
Fabric or coffee filter to cover the jar (not cheesecloth)
13 cups filtered water (or water that has sat out for 24 hours to evaporate the chlorine)
1 cup raw sugar
10 tea bags (green, jasmine, or black, unflavored), or equivalent in loose-leaf tea. (I prefer green)
1 SCOBY (symbiotic culture (or colony) of bacteria and yeast)
2 cups starter liquid (unflavored kombucha from last batch, or GTs raw plain kombucha)
*There are 2 ways to make the tea. You can keep it raw and basically do a cold brew over a 24-hour period, or you can boil the tea and speed the process up. If you don’t have a stainless steel pot then the raw route is a great alternative.
If you are going the raw route, add your tea bags to 13 cups of filtered water, cover and let sit overnight. Make sure to do this in glass, stainless steal, plastic, or ceramic, no metals! Remove the tea bags, add the sugar (stir until dissolved), and skip to step 4.
- Bring 4 cups of filtered water to a boil, turn off the heat, and add the tea bags. Stir at 2 minutes, stir again at 4. Remove the tea bags.
- Add your sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Add the rest of the filtered water, cover and let sit until it’s cooled to room temp. (only boiling 4-6 cups instead of all of the water speeds up this process, however you can just boil all of it too, but it takes longer to cool.)
- Add the 2 cups of starter liquid to your gallon glass jar. Once your tea is cooled pour it in. Leave a couple inches of space at the top.
- Gently place the SCOBY (pronounced skoh-bee) on top of the tea. They usually float, but not always. It’s fine if they sink too.
- Cover with a cloth and secure with a rubber band or string.
- Place in a warm place (cupboard or closet) and let ferment for at least 7-10 days. Taste. Once it tastes the way you think it should, or slightly vinegary it’s time for the second ferment if you choose to do so. This is where it gets carbonated.
Use a chalk maker to write on your glass jars!
Swing top growler bottles (you can also use jars, store bought kombucha bottles, etc.)
Fruit/veggies/spices of choice.
Basically you add flavors to your finished kombucha tea, seal tightly, and let sit until it’s carbonated. However, this part is kind of an art and takes time to master. There are things that work better than others, so I’ll walk you through my exact process below.
Divide your finished kombucha tea into 3 swing top bottles (I get mine for $4 at Ikea). Use a plastic funnel! Add about ½ cup of kombucha from one of your bottles to a blender, add fruit, blend and pour back into the bottle. Repeat for each bottle. Seal and let ferment for at least 3 days. Test on the 3rd day. Keep in fridge to stop fermentation. Strain before you drink it.
Swing top bottles are the way to go, other kinds don’t work as well.
Pureed fruit works better for me than juiced produce.
Add ginger for more carbonation.
Don’t open the bottle too much to check for carbonation.
Don’t even open the bottle at all until the 3rd day.
Don’t forget about it, or it will explode, most likely around day 6 or 7.
Be careful when you open the bottle so it doesn’t spray everywhere.
Use a chalk marker to label your glass bottles.
Left: Sauerkraut (Kraut Source top) – Middle: 3 gallons on their first ferment, several blueberry pop tops on their second ferment. – Right: Day 3 of homemade apple cider vinegar. – I keep it all warm with incandescent lights in the winter.
My Favorite Flavor Combos
Blackberry Mint (don’t blend the mint)
Blackberry Lavender (don’t blend the lavender)
Strawberry Lime (use fresh lime juice)
Raspberry Mint (don’t blend the mint)
Apple Cinnamon (don’t blend the apples, just chop pretty small)
If you have any questions about kombucha, if you are doing it right, want to show me a picture, think you have mold (but probably don’t!) – send me an email, or DM me through Instagram! (see contact tab above)