Kombucha is a drink made from sweet tea, is slightly carbonated and delicious! Being full of probiotics, B vitamins and enzymes, it not only tastes good but is also good for you.
If you have not tasted Kombucha before, you might want to buy a bottle at your grocery store or health food store. While a purchased bottle of Kombucha will often cost around $3+, you can make your own for much less.
Kombucha is naturally carbonated tea that starts with a Kombucha scoby (also called a starter or mushroom) which looks like a flat grayish disk – see the picture below. Since the scoby does grow and multiply, if you know of someone who already makes Kombucha, they may share with you. If you need a scoby from my affiliate, you can find one here that is shipped live and NOT dehydrated. Mine came from my daughter-in-law, Jessica. The picture above shows Jessica’s Kombucha fermenting. The scoby is reused and transferred from one batch to the next and consists of yeast and bacteria which live together in a symbiotic relationship. SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast.
Once the scoby is combined with brewed tea, sugar and water, it is allowed to ferment for 7 – 10 days (depending on taste). The longer you leave the tea fermenting, the stronger the flavor will be. That being said, leave it for 7 days and begin tasting it daily. The majority of my family does not like it really strong – it tastes too much like apple cider vinegar – so I pour mine off before that point. It is easiest to make a gallon at a time. I was able to find 1 gallon glass jars at Walmart and had 4 of them going on top of my refrigerator at one time. I am now using two 3 gallon tea dispensers which is working very well.
**Update** Please see Continuous Brew Kombucha Update
A couple of notes to help with successful Kombucha:
- Make sure to use non-chlorinated water as chlorine will kill the scoby.
- The scoby needs sugar to live on – honey, rapadura or sugar substitutes will not work.
The following recipe is adapted from Nourishing Traditionsby Sally Fallon – I multiply this recipe to make 6 gallons at a time.
In the following recipe, I have linked to products from my affiliate partners that I personally use and recommend.
yield 1 gallon
- 13 c. water (non-chlorinated)
- 2 Tbsp. loose organic tea or 8 tea bags (where to buy organic, non-irradiated tea)
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 c. Kombucha from a previous batch ( you may use purchased Kombucha for your first batch)
- 1 Kombucha scoby (where to buy scoby)
- Other equipment needed: 1 gallon glass jar, cheesecloth to cover jar, rubberband, 1 gallon jar with tight fitting lid to fill with the finished Kombucha
- Brew the tea by bringing water to a boil and adding the tea bags. Allow the tea to steep until cool and remove the tea bags.
- Add sugar to the tea and stir until dissolved.
- Make sure the tea is at room temperature and add 1/2 c of Kombucha from a previous batch and then add the scoby. (If the tea is hot it will kill the scoby)
- Put a piece of cheesecloth over the top of the jar and secure with a rubber band - this allows air in but keeps bugs and dust out.
- Place the jar in an out of the way place.
If your kitchen is warm, the Kombucha will ferment more quickly, so for the first batch or so, taste it after 3 or 4 days. Once the taste is to your liking, remove the scoby and place in another jar to begin your next batch.
The fermented Kombucha may be stored in the refrigerator and enjoyed at will.