DIY, Homemade

How to Make Homemade Kombucha Tea

For almost five years now, my family has been drinking homemade kombucha tea.  And we love it!  A friend had been telling me about it for a long time before I would even try some of her tea.  I knew the health benefits, but not everything healthy tastes good {insert: kale!}.  But once I took one sip, I was hooked!

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You can purchase kombucha tea at most any grocery or health food store.  But!  You can make your own at home…for a fraction of the cost!  And I am going to show you how to do it.  Please know that I am not a health/nutrition expert.  I am simply a mom trying to add some good gut flora into my family’s diet…and do it in a way that they enjoy {insert: it’s yummy!}.

Ingredients/supplies needed:

14 cups of water

1 cup of cane sugar

8 black tea bags

Large jar to fit 16 cups/128 ounces of liquid {I use the largest pickle jars I could purchase at the grocery store.}

2 cups of kombucha tea

Kombucha SCOBY (more information below)

Paper towel/thin towel

2 rubber bands

 

Steps to make kombucha tea:

1. Bring 14 cups of water to a boil on your stove top.  {I use my largest pot.}

2. Remove the pot from the heat and add the 1 cup of sugar to the boiling water.  Stir until dissolved.

sugar and black tea

kombucha

3. Add the 8 tea bags to the sugar water and stir them in.  Leave this to come to room temperature.

kombucha tea

4. Remove the tea bags from the pot.

homemade

kombucha recipe

5. Pour the sweetened black tea from the pot into your large jar.

homemade kombucha

6. This is where you will need a friend that already makes homemade kombucha tea.  I know, this can be the tricky part.  But, ask around as anyone who makes kombucha would be really happy to share with you.  No friend to help you out?  I’ve got you covered as a SCOBY can be purchased online and I have found some herehere and here.

make kombucha tea

Pour the 2 cups of already made kombucha in to your large jar of black tea.

black tea

Place your SCOBY into the jar last.

kombucha ingredients

7. Cover your brewing kombucha.  I use a paper towel, but feel free to use a cloth napkin or thin fabric.  You want to allow the tea to “breathe” as well as to have indirect natural light.

fermenting kombucha

I seal mine with two rubber bands and {especially} in the summer, be sure that these are on securely.  Why?  Well, fruit flies love kombucha tea!  And what is the main purpose of fruit flies {besides to drive us insane}?  Well, they lay eggs to produce more fruit flies.  And they would just love to use your SCOBY as a nest.  Yes, this sounds gross, but I wouldn’t be a good friend if I didn’t warn you.

fermenting tea

I use a marker and scribble on the date that the batch began…thus, my use of paper towels.  This is how you will keep track of when the tea is ready for you to drink it.

8.  Now for the waiting game.  You should allow your kombucha to ferment for a minimum of 7-10 days.  This gives it enough time to ferment and eat up the sugar.  I average at least 10 days for each of my jars of kombucha.  I typically have at least 4 fermenting at a time, since we love to always have kombucha tea on hand.

how to ferment tea

Once it has fermented for at least 7 days, you are ready to make your next batch; as well as enjoy your very first kombucha tea.

Remove the paper towel and you will see that a new SCOBY has “grown” on top of the previous one.  You can either let this become a thicker SCOBY or separate it and ferment two jars now!

ferment kombucha tea

9.  Put 2 cups of your fermented kombucha tea aside for your next batch and pour the remainder into a container.  We prefer to use a plastic pitcher and store it in the refrigerator.

drink kombucha tea

10.  Time to enjoy your homemade kombucha tea!  As I mentioned above, we love ours chilled.  We enjoy a glass with breakfast each morning.

fermenting

Some helpful tips and information regarding fermenting your own kombucha tea:

  • SCOBY is an acronym for: Symbiotic Culture of Bacterial Yeast.  It sounds weird, wacky, and gross.  And it looks and feels like that too.  But!  It contains so many health benefits and you won’t have to touch it…much.
  • Kombucha tea is a fermented product.  Many people think of alcoholic beverages with the word fermented, but don’t let that be a deterrent.  The percent of any trace alcohol is not even significant by using these steps above.
  • I prefer to allow mine to ferment in a room away from the kitchen.  Remember the fruit fly discussion above?  That’s why.
  • Technically, it is not suggested to ferment kombucha next to another fermenting kombucha.  You can do a little research on this, but I have never had an issue.
  • Once you place your tea in a spot to ferment, do not move it until you are ready to use it.  Moving it disrupts the SCOBY growing process.
  • Do not allow direct sunlight to hit your fermenting tea and SCOBY.
  • Place it in a room with a comfortable temperature.  You may find that the fermenting times vary according to seasons.  Example: 7 days may be enough in the summer, but you may need more than 10 days in the winter.
  • When a SCOBY becomes a gross brown {yeap, that’s a very technical term}, discard it.  I throw mine in our compost pile.  Use the new and more clear/white SCOBY that has grown on top of the old one in your jar.  {Please note that new SCOBY’s may need more than the typical 7-10 days to ferment.}
  • Do not allow the SCOBY to touch metal.  It should never be placed in a metal container as the metal will contaminate the SCOBY.  I always keep in glass containers.
  • It is possible to do a second fermentation of your kombucha in order to add some carbonation, but we opt to drink it this way.
  • Be very careful not to spill the sweetened black tea or the fermented kombucha tea on anything that will absorb it.  Black tea will stain clothing, etc.
  • As with anything healthy, moderation is key.  Drink enough kombucha tea to receive it’s health benefits, but don’t consume too much black tea.
  • If you have any concerns about consuming a fermented product, please consult your healthcare professional.  All of the information stated in this blog post is purely from my own personal research and experience.

So, do you already drink kombucha tea?  Have you ever made your own?  Did I convince you about how easy it is to do?  I would love to hear your thoughts and send me pictures of your first homemade kombucha!

xo,

Leigh

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing. Wow you do make a lot of kombucha! My husband and daughter help out, but we only make a gallon at a time. Do you ever flavor or add fruits? I’ve done fresh blueberries and also juice concentrate. Thanks again for sharing such a wonderful tutorial.

    1. Leigh

      Carrie,
      I have never flavored our tea as we enjoy it just as it is. But, you have made me curious to try it sometime! Yes, I do make a lot, but I like to have it on hand for each day and we drink more of it when we are sick. Happy kombucha making to you and your family! ♥

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