You Can Master the Method of Brewing Kombucha at Home

What is kombucha? How is it healthy for me? Where do I find a scoby? All of these questions answered, plus, easy instructions for brewing your own kombucha.

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What is in Kombucha Tea?

Kombucha is a sweet tea based beverage that is fermented, and often times flavored with fresh fruit, fruit juice, herbs or spices. Fermentation dates back as far as 6000 B.C., and has been used by every civilization throughout culinary history. It can be made carbonated, by undergoing a second fermentation process (which I will go into more detail on within the instructions below, later in this article), and makes a healthy, and tasty substitution for not so good for you commercial sodas.

You can find kombucha at most commercial grocery, and health food stores, usually located in the produce section near the fresh juices.

They come in a wide array of flavors, and it is highly recommended to pick up a bottle or two to try (if you have not already enjoyed it before), the next time you are at your local grocery store, before you decide to go all in with brewing your own.

Probiotics For a Healthy Gut

The scoby, is what provides the probiotics and good bacteria for supporting a healthy digestive system.

What is a scoby? A scoby, is a live, active culture made up of friendly bacteria and yeast, which produces healthy probiotic strains such as acetobacter, brettanomyces, saccharomyces, lactobacillus, gluconacetobacter, pediococcus, and zygosaccharomyces.

Our body’s need a number of different strains of probiotics, in order to properly function and digest food efficiently. Scoby kombucha only provides a handful of healthy probiotic strains, which is why it is recommended to incorporate many kinds of fermented foods weekly.

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The scoby is like a smooth, hard rubber texture, and can sometimes have a slimy look to it (which is perfectly normal, so don’t be alarmed). A scoby is also commonly known by other names such as “mother” or “mushroom (because it somewhat resembles the head of a mushroom).”

The scoby is fed and grows, by absorbing and metabolizing the caffeine and organic sugars within the brew, thus reducing the amount of sugar and caffeine within each serving being consumed (which is great news for those of you worried about the sugar content within kombucha).

The longer you brew your mixture for, the less sugar, and more acidic it becomes, as well as less caffeinated.

Antioxidant Rich

Kombucha is primarily made from black or green tea, which contains polyphenols, that is a rich source of antioxidants that help ward off free radicals, and prevent cell damage from oxidative stress.

If brewing with green tea, then you will also have catechin’s in your brew, which is another powerhouse of antioxidants that are beneficial for reducing oxidative stress, premature aging, inflammation, and the possible formation of tumors (which could later turn into cancerous cells).

The fermentation process of these teas, helps to increase the levels of polyphenols and catechin’s, making the antioxidant contents in kombucha even stronger, against fighting free radical damaging oxidative stress.

Boosts Immune System and Fights Disease

We have already gone over how kombucha is full of probiotics, and how they are important in supporting a healthy digestive system and gut, but it goes even further than that when it comes to supporting overall health. A healthy gut, equals a healthy body, because it strengthens and boosts our immune system, making us less susceptible to contracting viral illnesses.

Our body’s digestive system naturally produces good bacteria that keeps our immune system functioning properly, but poor dieting, or medications, can deplete the good bacteria within our guts, and weaken our immune system, causing us to get sick more easily and or more frequently.

This is why it is highly recommended to incorporate many probiotics, during, and especially following proscribed antibiotics. Antibiotics work by attacking and killing every bacterium present within the body, including the good bacteria our body’s need for proper immune support. Taking probiotics, will help in building the good bacteria up again within the stomach wall, and getting your body back to its original state, before taking the antibiotics.

Kombucha helps in fighting many diseases, because of its antioxidant properties which we touched on above. Kombucha alone however, is not able to prevent or decrease diseases, for it takes incorporating healthy eating and exercise habits, in order to see a significant change in your body’s overall health.

Where to Buy a Scoby

So, you are convinced that you want to jump on the bandwagon and save money by brewing your own kombucha, but have no idea where to find a scoby or starter brew to get the process started. Rest assured, there are a couple of options to explore!

Years ago, I found my first scoby at a local farmer’s market, from a lovely lady who made fresh sourdough breads and healthy sprouted grains. It was the mother to all of my brewing that followed throughout the years, as well as helping over hundreds of people locally (when I used to do farmer’s markets myself) on how to get started brewing their own kombucha.

Farmers markets is a great place to look for a scoby, however, it could be a hit or miss, because you would have to find a vendor who brews their own, and has extra cultures to share.

The next option I would suggest checking (if you prefer to stick with local), is searching on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace local buy sell (if you have a Facebook account). You would be surprised what you will find on these platforms nowadays, and there are many people I have noticed advertising kombucha scoby’s for sale (this all depends on your geographic location, for not all areas have numerous people interested in brewing kombucha).

If farmer’s markets, and social media are not an option for you, then you can also find them online, and have them shipped to your home within just a couple days.

This provider on Amazon is greatly trusted for the quality and care of their Scobie’s, as well as their customer service.

Be careful with where you buy your cultures online, and make sure to read the fine print carefully, because many places I have found sell you an overpriced culture, that does not even make a full gallon of tea.

Over the years, I have had many costumers buy a scoby from me, who said they first tried purchasing one online, and it either never formed a baby scoby properly, or they had an issue with the scoby developing mold, thus rendering the batch useless and having to discard everything.

Once you find your scoby and starter brew, then you are well on your way to a healthier gut, while saving money throughout the journey.

How to Brew Kombucha At Home

To get started you will need the following:

  • Distilled white vinegar.
  • One-gallon or two-gallon glass container.
  • Plastic or wood ladle and spoon
  • Recycled kombucha bottles, glass soda bottles, small mouthed mason jars, or flip-top growlers, (growlers I have found make the best carbonated kombucha for second fermentation).
  • 10-14 tea bags per gallon of tea (ratio depends on the type of tea, and how strong you like your tea). I mostly use black tea, but you can use green, or other varieties. I would up the amount of tea bags if using green tea because it comes out being much lighter tasting. Also, recommend using black tea for your first starter batch.
  • Cane sugar, (preferably non-GMO or organic). You can use white sugar if you like. I just prefer to use the cane.
  • Filtered water (never use tap water, unless you have good, clean water from a well)
  • One scoby with starter batch.

First Fermentation (1F):

Start by sterilizing all containers you are using for first fermentation and utensils with white vinegar right before starting your batch. Make sure to also sterilize your hands with white vinegar before coming in contact with the scoby.

Bring a quart of the filtered water to a boil, add your tea bags, cover, and let steep for 10-15 minutes. When finished steeping remove lid, then remove the tea bags. Add 1-1 1/2 cups of sugar (for each gallon that you make) to the hot tea mixture and stir until all the sugar has dissolved and let sit while you move to the next step.

Now, you can add the remaining three quarts of water into your gallon container. Next, add the tea mixture (once it has cooled down to room tempurature) to the gallon container.

Stir everything together and then dump the scoby in, along with the starter tea mixture. Cover with a layer of pantyhose. Yes, pantyhose! Best tool I have found at allowing the brew to breath, while keeping any bugs out. Let ferment for 7-10 days.

After 7-10 days of brewing, you can go ahead and drink it at this time but if you want it to be flavored and carbonated more, then you will need to do a second fermentation. 7-10 days is the rule of thumb, but there are many batches that I let go for up to 2-3 weeks. I have noticed that the longer you let it brew for, the less sweet, and carbonated the final product tends to be, as well as more acidic.

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Second Fermentation (2F):

 

After the 7-10 days (or longer if you prefer), sterilize all bottles you intend to use for 2F, and your hands with vinegar. Remove scoby from the batch and place on a sterilized plate or container. Make sure you also pull out 1-2 cups of the kombucha brew for the scoby (this will be your starter tea for the next batch you make).

Once scoby and starter is removed, you can now add whatever fresh fruit or fresh juice you desire for flavoring. The sky really is the limit here! I have a juicer, so usually I’ll make fresh juice to flavor with. One cup of juice per every gallon that you make. You can also add fresh cut fruit, spices or herbs as well. Once juice has been stirred into the brew, you can now add it to your vessel of choice, (bottles, jars, growlers, etc.) leaving at least one inch of room from the top to allow carbonation expansion. Let ferment for another 3-7 days and then enjoy!

Kombucha in a Nutshell

Kombucha is a great addition to any healthy lifestyle, for it supports healthy digestion, boosts the immune system, fights off free radicals and oxidative stress, increases energy levels, and makes a great substitute for anyone trying to cut down on drinking sodas.

Buying kombucha however, can get very costly, for on average, commercial grocery stores sells kombucha for $3-$5 a bottle, which can really add up, because it is recommended to drink 8-16 ounces a day.

Brewing your own kombucha at home, costs less than $0.50 cents per bottle, and is much easier of a process than what many people may think. If you can brew sweet tea, then you can make kombucha.

I hope that you have found this article to be helpful and informative! Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have along your journey.

Happy Brewing!

 

 

 

 

 

18 thoughts on “You Can Master the Method of Brewing Kombucha at Home

  1. Firstly, I want to commend you on the flexibility of your site. It was easy to navigate. Again, I enjoyed going through your review on Kombucha tea and how you highlighted it’s health components and  benefits which makes one want to have a try of it. Again, well done on the teaching of how to brew it yourself at your own comfort. Thanks for the step by step guideline. It was highly informative.  Nice work 

    1. Thank you Juliet! 

      I’m very happy that you have found the content easy to read and follow, and are interested in possibly trying kombucha for yourself. It is just as tasty, as it is good for you! 

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving comment! 

      May you have a wonderful rest of our day!

      ~Brandy

  2. While in the organic health food stores I from time to time see the kombucha tea station, but I never take the time to check it out. Now with some knowledge of kombucha tea and especially the health benefits I can go in armed with understanding of something like scoby, which to be honest I hadn’t heard of until now. Stomach health is so important and it can be easily overlooked. It’s nice to know that kombucha has stomach benefits and antioxidants as these are things I look for in drinks. I’ll definitely save your Amazon link for reference for when I soon order. Thanks for a great recommendation!

    1. Thank you Pentrental! 

      Glad to hear that you now feel equipped in asking many new questions, and giving kombucha a try the next time you are at your health food store. Some of my own personal favorite flavors (which are great for first time tasting), is ginger or any berry kind of flavor. Once you have tried it, and are interested in brewing your own, to save money and have on hand regularly, then please feel free to reach out anytime you have a question about the process.

      Nothing brings me more joy, than to help someone live a healthier and happier lifestyle. 

      Many blessings on your new journey, and looking forward to hearing back from you!

      ~Brandy

  3. Oh wow, that looks like tea I may enjoy drinking. Plus it appears to have lots of health benefits too. You know, when it comes to antioxidant teas, I usually go for Rooibos which is my favourite for various health reasons and the taste. What grabbed my attention about Kombucha tea are the benefits for a healthy gut and digestive system. I’m glad you added the brewing instructions on your article. I’ll give it a try.

    1. Hello! 

      Rooibos is another tea I enjoy drinking as well. I’m glad that you were able to find this information useful, and interested in brewing your own. I started brewing almost six years ago, and still get excited every time I experiment with new flavors for second fermentation. If you have any questions along your journey, then please feel free to reach out and ask. Happy brewing!

  4. I like your article on Kombucha. It’s something I’ve never really gotten into but I’ve heard so much about it. I’m actually a little afraid of how it will taste. The pics you’ve put up make it look really yummy but reading about the process makes me nervous that I will not be able to get it right. In your opinion, how easy is this to make?

    1. Hi Tara!

      It is perfectly normal to feel the way you do towards just getting started with kombucha. Many are unsure of how they would like it, which is why I recommended purchasing one from the grocery store first, before diving fully into trying to make it yourself. GT brand is a great one to try for your first time. They have delicious flavors, and great carbonation in all of their brewed teas. 

      As for brewing yourself; I too, was terrified in the beginning, and thought that the scoby itself looked gross and was from another planet all together. Lol

      I followed the instructions given to me to a T, because I was also afraid of getting it wrong and the batch not turning out right. Fast forward a couple more batches, I began to realize that the process was way less complicated than I had built up in my mind, and that the batches still turned out great, even if I were to experiment or miss a step. Honestly, the most time consuming part of it all for me, is sterilizing the equipment with white vinegar (which is as easy as swirling it around in your vessel(s), and cleaning your hands and utensils with it). 

      Do not be afraid of getting it wrong, for the best part of it all is the fun you experience while experimenting with different methods and processes that may/or may not work for you and your household. The only time you have to discard your scoby, is if it develops mold, so if a mistake did occur, and the batch did not work out, then just start up a new batch with your scoby and a cup of the starter tea. No need to fret over it, and you now know that that method did not work and should not be implemented in future batches. 

      Hope this helped inspire you to give it a try!

      May you have a blessed day!

      ~Brandy

  5. Wow! Thanks for this amazing post!  I have heard of Kombucha, I have seen it at Whole Foods and I have heard you can make it.  I always felt that I would poison myself.  Don’t ask why, but thats the first thing that comes to my mind.  I take supplements, work out and practice a vegan diet.  It sounds like Kombucha would be great with this lifestyle.  I love Tito’s Vodka and am wondering if it can be mixed with Kombucha as a drink?  Or am I just crazy?  I will definitely pick one up next time I visit Whole Foods.

    1. Hi Jesse!

      I’m glad that you found some useful information in this article, and especially glad to hear that you live a healthy, active lifestyle!

      To answer your question, I myself have never mixed kombucha with alcohol, but I’m sure that you can do it. Combining the two may decrease the health benefits of the kombucha though. 

      Plan to drink plenty of water before, during, and after drinking, because kombucha and alcohol both can dehydrate you. 🙂

  6. Wow, this is a great post. Kombucha from the little I know have a lot of health benefits and advantages, and you outlined most of these health benefits in this article. This makes the post very rich in content. The step by step guideline in brewing it ourselves is also an amazing part of the post. It’s very interesting to know that kombucha has important benefits as antioxidants too. Most people take tea for an antioxidant purpose and knowing Kombucha has such functions too, make it a primary choice for we the tea drinkers. I will grab my now. Thanks for also sharing the link as to where to order! 

    1. I’m so glad that you enjoyed this article and found it useful! Kombucha is one of my favorite beverages to drink (besides water that it is)!

  7. Thank you for your post. It is useful for me. WHO declares Coronavirus Pandemic few hours ago. It is real and the virus is everywhere. I need to enhance my immunity against this beast. I am looking ways to promote my immune system.

    Here comes your article. I particularly like your description on Boosts Immune System and Fight Disease. This is what I am looking for. It is so nice to hear that Konbucha is full of probiotics, support a healthy digestive system, and overall health. 

    I know that good bacteria keeps our immune system functioning properly and Konbucha tea provides such good bacteria. I am definitely going to learn and create my own Kombucha tea.

    1. I’m so thankful that you have found my post useful Anthony! Please do not have fear over the coronavirus. Yes, it may have reached Pandemic status, but it is not as bad as the media is playing it up. If you would like to learn more about the origin of the virus, and other steps of precautions, then this article may be very useful to you https://betterhealthandhome.com/corona-virus-prevention/

      Be blessed, and may you stay in good health!

  8. I love kombucha so much! But I only get to drink it when I’m away from home. As you say, it’s so good for our gut and our microflora, and so rich in antioxidants. I’d love to include it in my daily life. My sister in law makes delicious homemade kombucha and she has often offered to send me a Scoby, but I don’t think it’s something that can be posted very easily. and as we live in different (hot) countries, posting could be a disaster! So as a result, I haven’t yet made my own kombucha. It’s great to read your article about the benefits of drinking kombucha – and also thanks for making me realise that I can buy the starter kit online! I will go and do that! How much kombucha do you recommend drinking in a day for optimum health? 

    1. Hi Soraya! Its great to have fellow kombucha lovers enjoying this article. 

      To answer your question, if you are not already drinking kombucha daily, then it is recommended to start out small, and build up over time. For starters, I would drink 4-8 ounces a day (depends entirely on how it makes you feel), and over time, you can increase it up to 16 ounces if you like. I usually just stick with 8-10 ounces a day. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, because kombucha can dehydrate you. 

      Please feel free to stop by and ask as many questions as you need, once you decide to start brewing for yourself. 🙂

  9. hello, it is a great and nice feeling to know that someone will create a great website like this and also create a write up on an article like this. i knew very little about the kombucha tea and the benefits before now. although i have heard about it, but now i am glad i will be able to make it by myself

    1. Thank you Benny, and may you have much success on your new brewing journey! If you ever have any questions along the way, then please feel free to ask away!

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