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pouring flavored fermented tea into a mason jar
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Kombucha

Kombucha tea is easy to make at home with a sugar tea blend and a scoby. Here's everything you need to know to get started with home kombucha brewing!

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Time it takes to ferment 14 days
Total Time 14 days 10 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Calories 53kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 15 cups water
  • 7 black tea bags
  • 7 green tea bags
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 SCOBY see notes
  • 1/2 cup kombucha optional, see notes
  • 1 cup berries or other fresh fruit, optional

Instructions

First fermentation:

  • Run glass jar through dishwasher without soap to sanitize.
  • Heat water to a boil and allow to boil for at least 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Once water cools to 200 degrees F, add black tea bags and let steep for about 5 minutes total. Concurrently, when liquid cools to 180 degrees F, add green tea bags and let those steep for about 3 minutes total. Discard tea bags when the tea is done brewing.
  • Add sugar and swirl to mix. It should dissolve easily. Once the sugar has fully dissolved, transfer sweet tea to sterile gallon sized jar. Cover with paper coffee filter and secure with rubber band. Allow to come to room temperature.
  • Once the sweet tea has cooled to the same room temperature that your scoby is at, add scoby to the sweet tea. If homemade or store bought kombucha is available, add it to the mixture to speed up the process. Cover with paper filter again and secure with rubber band. Store in an area at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
  • Time required to fully brew kombucha will depend on the temperature of your home as well as the strength of the scoby and/or kombucha that you added. You can tell when it's done by the smell, small effervescent bubbles will appear when swirled, and the taste will be sweet but vinegar-like. At this point you can enjoy or move onto the next step which will create more bubbles.

Second fermentation:

  • Sterilize swing top glass bottles in dishwasher without soap. Fill bottles with kombucha. If not adding fruit, leave about 1/2 inch head room. If adding fruit, you can add it to the bottle first and then top with kombucha, leaving about 1/2 inch head room. Secure tops and store capped bottles at room temperature for 1-3 days. Again, the amount of bubbles you produce will depend on the temperature and the strength of the tea. If you're a beginner, I recommend checking on it daily to ensure the pressure doesn't build up too much.
  • When the kombucha has reached a level that you're pleased with, transfer to refrigerator and chill until you're ready to consume.

Notes

SCOBY: You can either get one from a trusted friend or you can order one online. I have heard you can grow your own from store bought kombucha but I've never tried. Scoby's can be finicky with respect to the type of tea, so if you start with a black tea scoby, don't make kombucha with only green tea. 
ADDING ADDITIONAL KOMBUCHA TO YOUR MIX: If you're on your second+ batch of making kombucha, I like to add some of the kombucha that your scoby was floating in to your new batch. It's really strong and speeds along the brewing process. You can also add a splash of store bought kombucha, but it's not necessary.
STERILIZATION: I'm not positive this step is required, but I like to sterilize my glass without the use of soap and really boil the heck out of the water before adding the tea bags just to kill anything that might be present. If something gets in that shouldn't be there, you'll know it.
COVERING THE JAR: I highly recommend flat bottom paper coffee filters. They're clean, don't create dust (like a paper towel might), and fit the jar well and allow air to easily pass through - this is necessary to keep the SCOBY alive. I've tried cheesecloth and found it unreliable because something passed through that allowed mold to grow on my SCOBY.
FRUIT: Adding fruit is optional. Not only does it add flavor and color, but it often increases the amount of effervescence. Pure fruit juice can be added as well.

Nutrition

Calories: 53kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 4IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg