A while back I was recommended to try Kombucha by a friend of mine since I drink a good bit of Apple Cider Vinegar and Scrub. I was instantly hooked and went in search of more information on Kombucha and the process in which it was made.
I spent countless hours reading blogs, DIY websites, and also picked up a copy of the Big Book of Kombucha by Hannah Crum. A great starter book that answered a lot of questions and worries I had when starting out. I spent a good bit of time experimenting with different types of teas and sugar, then slowly moved into adding flavors (which opens up a whole big world of possibilities). In this process we will making 1 gallon, usually called a Batch Brew. There are other methods like the Continuous Brew Method that is 3-5 gallons. I have not tried this method, since 1 gallon is enough for my personal use. If you are interested in the other methods I would suggest grabbing the book above to find out more on the subject.
I really enjoy the experimental part of Kombucha and the assortment of products that can be made with it. Some of which we will be learning and sharing in the future.
Once you have your SCOBY and strong starter liquid starting a new batch of Kombucha easy. If you do not have a SCOBY check these previous post to find out more. Growing a Kombucha SCOBY and How to get a Kombucha SCOBY
- 1 gal Wide Mouth Glass Jar Best to Buy 2.
- Glass Bowl
- Tea Towel
- Rubberband or String
- Wood Spoon
Sterilize all equipment and jar with boiling water for 5 mins.
Bring 3 cups of distilled water to a boil.
Add 1 cup of sugar to the boiled water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Add tea to the 3 cups of boiled water/sugar mix and let steep for 20 mins.
Let the sweet tea mix is room temperature.
Add the sweet tea mix to the 1-gallon glass jar along with the additional water. *Leaving enough room at the top for the extra cup of Raw Kombucha and the SCOBY. You will want to keep the finished level of fluids below the shoulder of the jar.
Move your SCOBY into the sweet tea mix. *Before handling your SCOBY and moving it to the new vessel wash your hands with a non-antibacterial soap.
Slowly add 1 cup of Raw Kombucha from your starter or previous batch in to the sweet tea mix.
Cover the top of the jar with the tea cloth (Do not add the original jar's lid).
Secure the tea cloth with a Rubberband or string.
Set your jar in a warm, dark area of the house.
Your new batch of Kombucha will need to sit for 1-3 weeks.
It is best to start tasting your Kombucha after day 4. Tasting will give you an idea of the changes in taste the Kombucha goes though. Continue tasting until you reach the desired strength. Around 1 week in your Kombucha should start tasting less sweet and more tangy and tart. This is the transformation from Sweet Tea to Kombucha. The longer it sits the stronger your Kombucha will be. Temperature also plays a role in the length of brewing, and cooler temperatures below will take longer. The best is between 75-85F.
Take notes and a log on each attempt. After a few batches you will find what works for you, and the average time the brewing process takes to get your desired batch.
If your mother SCOBY has sunk or floating in the center of your batch, this is not a problem. After a few days you will notice that a new (child) SCOBY will start to form on top of the Kombucha (usually on top of the mother).
Your child SCOBY can be used together with the mother in your next batch, or set aside in a SCOBY Hotel for use later on.
Once your batch is ready, you are now ready to start exploring a new way to experience your Kombucha. Check out some of our Kombucha Recipes to see what you can come up with. Be sure to read our post on Flavoring Kombucha as well.
When I start a new batch a second 1-gallon jar is set aside, while the kombucha in the first batch will be used for flavoring. Before I start flavoring the first batch I remove the SCOBY and 1 cup of starter liquid (liquid poured off the top) from the original batch to start my second batch. Repeat the step above.
Kombucha is usually simple and easy, but some problems can arise.
Mold – Usually a blue or black coloration. Mold is rare, but can be caused by the batch brewing at to cool of temperatures, too little or not a strong starter liquid, or a contamination issue. Some yeast strains can look like mold but are brown and stringy (these may show up on top of the SCOBY as well). If you have mold, discard your batch, sterilize and start again.
Fruit Flies – Keeping your tea cloth secure and not taking it off for extended amounts of time can minimize this problem. If you do have fruit flies in your batch, discard your batch, sterilize and start again.