Are you ready to learn how to brew kombucha tea at home?
If you’ve just started falling in love with kombucha you’ve probably realized how expensive they can be. I’ve seen bottles go anywhere from 4 to 6 dollars depending on the store. So is it possible to make this stuff for cheap?
The answer is yes! You certainly can brew your own tea at home. It’s much easier than you think. You need a few basic ingredients, a bunch of patience, and the ability to give your product love with attention to details.
The hardest part of kombucha brewing is finding the exact taste you want for yourself. I’ve personally tried at least 50 different ways of brewing kombucha to find the perfect taste. You can experiment with lengths of the initial fermentation stages, use of different types of teas, different sugars and much more.
Here I’ll guide you through the simplest of setups. This is in no-way an absolute recipe kombucha, (remember experimentation) but this is a standard recipe you will see on many kombucha brewing websites. I’ve tried it myself with fantastic results. I will post more experimental ways of brewing but for the purpose of this article, I’m going to give you this “bare bones” recipe.
First off here are some ingredients/supplies you’ll need:
- 1 Tbsp of black tea*
- 1 Tbsp of green tea*
- 1 Cup of sugar*
- 1 Gallon of purified water
- Reusable tea bags for the tea
- About a 1.5-gallon glass jar
- Cheesecloth or breathable cloth
- A 1.25-gallon pot
- Kombucha culture, known as a ’SCOBY’ (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast)
- 2 cups of starter tea
- a rubber band
- Your kitchen stove (or a source of fire for everyone out in nature)
- Organic and free trade sold ingredients will make the best kombucha*
It’s as simple as that! Well, at least for stage 1 of fermentation. I’m only going to cover the first stage of fermentation in this article. I’ll cover the second stage of fermentation in part 2 of this article.
Place your 2 teaspoons of black and green tea into a reusable tea bag. In the future, I will reveal all sorts of ways of manipulating this step in the process.
You’re probably already thinking this. So I’ll just say it: you can use all kinds of teas in this process. Be wary though, there are certain types of tea that just won’t allow you to continue the kombucha mushroom cycle.
For now, let’s stick to the common recipe.
Take your gallon of water, put it in the pot, and heat it up. When the water is completely boiling. Place the tea bag in the boiling water. Let it sit for 10 – 15 minutes.
Get the 1 cup of sugar and place it in the pot and stir. Cover your tea and let it sit for approximately 5 hours or when the pot is cool to the touch.
Pour this gallon of sugary tea into your 1.5 glass gallon jar.
Make sure you wash your hands or wear gloves and then take the Scoby place it in the glass jar with the tea. Pour the starter tea. Don’t worry if you Scoby doesn’t
rise to the top and look like a protective shield for your tea, no matter how your Scoby sits it will start fermenting the sugar and the nutrients from the tea begin to build a new Scoby at the top. You’ll notice this new baby Scoby within 2 – 3 days.
Finally, leave the top of glass jar open, place the cheesecloth over and then secure with a rubber band. Now you sit and wait!
Depending on the climate you live in(hotter climates earlier times, lower is opposite) the kombucha will be ready in as early as 5 days.
This is another area of debate for kombucha brewers. There is no correct answer of course! I have an opinion, well several, other brewers have theirs and you’ll inevitably decide yours.
A rule of thumb, the earlier you start the next stage of brewing, the sweeter your final product will be. Some brewers want their batch to taste almost like soda others enjoy a heavy sour taste(about 2+ weeks). I usually stay within the 7 to 11-day range myself but experiment and see what you like best.
A final rule here, you shouldn’t let it ferment for over a month. I’ve never pushed it past that length with my batches. I’m too scared to let my Scoby die(they are living creatures) to find out what happens. Just know that you’re letting your Scoby starve if you don’t start the next phase of brewing and afterward place a new batch of tea.
Congratulations you made it through the first stage of the brewing process!