Home Brewing Kombucha

I did it! As an avid consumer of kombucha I finally brewed my first batch of kombucha.

For years I wanted to brew my own kombucha but didn’t find the time to “tackle” venturing into this new territory. You see, the way I learn is to either go 1) ALL IN or 2) ensure I have read all that I can about the topic and dive in from there. You see back in 2006, from what I read from the interwebs at quick glance, it didn’t look like I could go ALL IN with 100% guarantee of a successful first batch so I waited until the time was right. And baby it’s now 😉

Funny side note, back in 2010 I was drinking GT’s kombucha on the daily. As I headed into a local health foods store for the week’s supply I was horrified to find the shelves where GT’s was normally placed to be empty! I quickly scanned the area around me and found a woman who worked in the store and asked her what was going on. She too, sadly informed me that GT’s was pulled from stores nationwide due to the high levels of alcohol content and wouldn’t be placed back on to shelves until it was dealt with. “Whaaaaaaaaaat?” was all I could muster and perhaps it was the saddened look on my face she told me to wait and after a few minutes handed me a couple of bottles from the back. If there was ever a time to start home brewing it was probably then! But back to original programming…

Thanks to the help of The Big Book of Kombucha: Brewing, Flavoring, and Enjoying the Health Benefits of Fermented Tea I felt I had enough background, context, and details about the process to feel comfortable in knowing what I was doing each step of the way.

It’s actually quite easy but probably more so now because I read the book first  😉  While I highly recommend buying this beautiful book, I wanted to share my own process for home brewing.

First thing first, the tools:

  • 1 one and half gallon glass jar
  • 1 cheesecloths or fabric that will allow enough coverage for safety and airflow
  • 1 rubber bands to secure cheesecloth or fabric
  • 4 – 6 tablespoons of loose leaf tea or 4 – 6 tea bags
  • 1 pot for brewing tea
  • 1 cups of organic cane juice
  • 1 gallons of fresh spring water or filtered water
  • 1 SCOBYs

(Because I estimated drinking a lot of kombucha I decided to double the batch for home brewing and made a 2 gallon brew to start which meant doubling the items above.)

  1. After you ensure the glass jars are clean, go ahead and fill the jar with 12 cups of water.
  2. In a pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil and turn off the heat. Place 4 – 6 tea bags of assam tea and let it sit for 7 – 15 minutes.
  3. Remove tea bags and pour 1 cup of organic cane juice into the mixture. Stir well until integrated.
  4. Pour the sweet tea mixture into the glass jar. Ensure the temperature does not exceed 100 degrees F.
  5. Last but not least, using clean hands, place scoby into the jar and pour the starter liquid over the scoby.
  6. Place fabric over the opening of the jar and secure tightly with a rubber band.
  7. Ideal temperature for fermenting kombucha is between 75 – 80 degrees F.
  8. Check between days 5 – 21 (depending on personal taste and temperature inside the home) and enjoy!

One crucial note, if there’s one thing to remember it was this: never use metal when handling the scoby! It’s a living organism and must be used with clean hands and preferably glass or wooden utensils.

While it seems simple enough the book was incredibly helpful with types of teas, how to flavor, and even with troubleshooting alcohol and carbonation levels. I’m sure I’ll be tinkering around with all of this with each batch!

Currently the two gallon batches are wrapped in scarves to ensure a high enough temperature and I’ll test the waters toward the end of the week to see how the ferment is going.

For this first batch I’ll likely use freshly grated ginger as flavoring and do a second ferment at bottling for extra carbonation.

More to report soon! Happy fermenting 🙂


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