Are you addicted to kombucha? Is the cost of kombucha ruining your bank account? If so, it's probably time to start brewing your own! It's a little out there, a little hippy, but trust me, it's worth the effort. In a half hour of active time a week, you can have about 7 bottles of kombucha for about the cost of one bottle. Bonus, you're now one at parties who want to talk about the joys of the symbiotic relationship of bacteria and yeast on your digestive system!
My biggest suggestion is to start with a kit. I've been using this one for almost a year after my brother gifted it to me for Christmas. The kit comes with a perfect jar, pH strips, a SCOBY, and the consumable ingredients for your first brew. My SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) has grown and grown over the past year. I've divided and it gifted in with some kombucha liquid to friends. The SCOBY is a living thing, your newest friend!
To bottle, I love these bottles, I bought two sets. The one draw back is everyone thinks you're drinking a beer. I wish. I'm sure you are all more creative than me, when it comes to flavors, I keep mine pretty simple. Go wild!
Yield - 7-8 16-ounce bottles
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 5 cups boiling water
- 8 tea bags (black, green, or a combination of any)
- SCOBY + 1 cup kombucha liquid
- cold water
- 4-10 ounces organic, pure juice
First batch - Add the sugar to a clean, 1 gallon glass container. Pour in the boiling water. Stir to melt the sugar.
Add the tea bags and let steep until the mixture reaches room temperature. The temperature should be between 74-84 ˚F.
Remove the tea bags and add cold water to fill about 2/3’s of the jar. Gently add the SCOBY and liquid. Fill the jar to the top with cold water. Check the pH, the mixture should be less than 4.5.
Cover with a breathable fabric like cheesecloth and set in a warm place, away from the sun, but with access to airflow for at least 7 days, more is fine too. Again, check the pH, it should be between 2.5 and 3.5.
Bottling - With the cleanest of hands, remove the SCOBY and place in a separate container with at least 1 cup of kombucha liquid. Yes, it feels gross, just do it!
Add 4-10 ounces of pure juice to the jar and stir. My favorites are pomegranate, grapefruit, lemon-lime, and apple cider with ginger. You can also add fresh fruit, ginger, or herbs. You just want a juice without any sugar and preferably organic.
Pour the kombucha through a fine sieve and bottle in 16-ounce bottles. Cap and store in a cool, dark place for 2-7 days for the second fermentation. The longer they ferment, the more fizzy.
Once fermented, place bottles in the fridge until you are ready to drink them.
With the SCOBY and remaining kombucha liquid you put aside in step 5, you can start the process again!