So you want to brew your own kombucha tea. Excellent! Now to figure out how to do it. You can do it starting with a baby kombucha from someone else, or grow your own. You can buy kombucha cultures, look online or at your local health food store. I got one from a friend so have no experience growing a kombucha from a started culture. I did however, find this site that asks you to pay for shipping and you’ll get a little kombucha culture.
Either way, once you have a kombucha baby ready to ferment some awesome tea, here is what you will need:
- Kombucha baby or scoby
- 13-14 cups of water, preferably filtered
- 2 cups of the original kombucha( you can substitute raw apple cider vinegar, I’ve read about 2 tablespoons or so)
- 2 cups of sugar(I’ve used unrefined, milled sugar which is beige in color, but white is fine as well)
- 5 tea bags or 5 tablespoons of loose leaf tea(more can be used if you want a stronger flavor)
- Large sauce pan
- Gallon glass jar
- Clean dish towel, not super fluffy
- Rubber band or hair tie to secure the dish towel
- Strainer if using loose leaf tea and you don’t want a few leaves in the finished product
- Plastic spoon
- Lots of time
First, make sure that everything is clean! Wash and rinse well, then rinse with vinegar. You don’t want a lot, if any water with chlorine in it, because chlorine kills bacteria and yeasts, even the good stuff. Vinegar is much safer. Wash your hands well. Take off any rings before dealing with the scoby. After the scoby is added to the mixture, do not use any metal tools! This is because it can leach stuff out of the metal. It’s fine if the sauce pan is metal, it won’t come into contact with the kombucha baby.
Bring the 13-14 cups of water to boil, turn off the heat, add the tea and let it steep for 20 minutes. For a stronger flavor let it brew longer. Take out the tea bags, or strain out the loose leaves. I just leave the loose stuff in the pot while it cools, they sink to the bottom. I don’t want another dirty dish to wash. Let cool. Once it is getting close to skin temperature, pour directly into the glass gallon jug. I leave the tea to cool in the metal sauce pan because it cools off faster. Glass holds heat better and longer, and it will take forever to finish cooling if you put it in the glass jar too soon. Make sure you leave enough room for 2 cups of original kombucha and the scoby it’s self, plus a little more room. It needs room to grow another one.
Add the 2 cups of sugar, stirring until it’s dissolved. Continue letting the sweetened tea mixture cool until it is room temperature or cooler (especially, if you are in a hot room, or it’s summer). This is where the Lots of time comes in. Go do something else for a while. Remember, if you have pets keep them away from your little brewing kit. You don’t want their germs in it.
Once it has cooled enough, pour in the 2 cups of the original batch. I’ve read that you can also substitute 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar as well. I haven’t needed to, so I don’t know what to expect with that scenario. Once the other 2 cups are added, stir gently. Then gently slip the kombucha baby into the mixture.
Reminder! Make sure you have washed your hands before touching the scoby! And do not wear your rings if you have rings. No metal should come into contact with the baby. Also, rings can harbor unseen bacteria easily. You want to keep this mixture uncontaminated!
Cover with the towel, secure it and put it in a dark cool place, out of the way. The temperature affects how fast the kombucha ferments. I recommend 2 weeks or more for fermenting. Check every few days to see how it’s going along.
Once you think it’s fermented long enough you can “harvest” the kombucha. Pour out the kombucha you want to drink, into a glass or plastic container, once again, do not store it in a metal container. Save enough kombucha tea for the next batch or two. Enjoy!