Kombucha: Guide To Home Brewing

Yes, you can find a few how-to guides online… this one is complete for the person who wants a high-quality ongoing brew style.

I fell in-love with Kombucha during a trip to Maui, and have been buying it ever since. In 2017 I became a DIY’er, and with some trial and error now have a perfected ongoing brew process:

  1. Start with this simple and perfect kit, or get a SCOBY from a friend
  2. Buy two extra jars, another SCOBY, organic sugar, tea, PH test strips, bottles, and a temp gauge. You need a 1-gallon jar, tea, and sugar… the rest just makes it easy. Extra jars let you either make more tea, or make tea in weekly batches.
  3. Start the first brew per the instructions. Keep in mind that the temperature of the tea, and its PH, are critical to a healthy and growing SCOBY (along with enough sugar). Some SCOBYs are very tolerant, but until you know your SCOBY, or its source, you will need to be more accurate.
    1. Boil four cups of water
    2. Add sugar and stir until it melts completely
    3. Add this to your gallon jar
    4. Add four additional cups of water (or a cup of ice and 7 cups of water)
    5. Check temp to ensure it’s between 75-85 degrees F
    6. Add SCOBY and the starter tea (or 1 cup of previous batch)
    7. Check PH (should be around 3), add white vinegar to adjust down if necessary (unlikely needed unless you didn’t use enough starter tea)
  4. Note the date on the jar itself and mark on your calendar to start taste-testing on day 7. I let mine brew 14-21 days minimum.
  5. Four to ten days into the brew begin the second SCOBY and its brew. Same instructions as the first, but the other SCOBY is smaller and you’ll have to brew it longer. Start tasting on day 8. This step is only needed for those making succession batches.
  6. When Brew One is ready, have the beginnings of Brew Three started (the tea made and sugar and water added to the 3rd jar). Carefully remove the SCOBY from Brew One and add it to a prepared Brew Three jar. Mark that jar with the current date and add a calendar note to check on day X based on how long this brew took.
  7. Using the bottles, you can decant the tea into them straight, or add flavors. If you add flavors you will ferment for another 2-4 days (per the instructions). Unflavored tea can be consumed immediately. I added some Yuzu juice to one bottle and immediately put it into the fridge for consumption the following day. OMG, it’s excellent!
  8. Other flavors I’ve made: pineapple and ginger, and pear. I’ve come to like it plain.
  9. Brew One becomes Brew Three… Brew Two becomes Brew Four, and so on.

Some tips and tricks:

  • Let the tea steep for a longer period than normal since you’ll be diluting it with cool water.
  • Read up on how to tell mold from a healthy SCOBY growth. It’s not as obvious as you’d think
  • This home brewing plan makes enough for one drink a day consumption. If you want more, then double it (triple, etc).
  • The longer it ferments the less sugar it has. If you’re on a no-sugar diet you can ferment it for 2 or more weeks. Other low-sugar methods. Most methods state you can use less sugar with a large and healthy SCOBY, just taste test sooner. The SCOBY consumes the sugar. You want a very tart taste, which means very low sugar remains, <1g.
  • Wide mouth bottles work best for fruits added
  • If you use juice choose whole juice versus reconstituted. You can be creative here… like I did by adding Yuzu (my favorite citrus, and just a tiny amount adds huge flavor). You can also puree the fruit yourself.
  • You can flavor with spices
  • You can strain this out before consumption, or leave everything in the bottle. I leave it all in.
  • Ball jelly jars make really cute “glasses” for the kombucha
  • To gift or travel with a SCOBY put it and two cups of the tea mix (tea and sugar) into a heat sealed bag. Don’t vacuum seal it, just seal. This easily lasts a few days to a week without the scoby minding it much.

Questions? Ask…

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