Be sure to check out the first part of this series, Gather Supplies.
We’d been drinking kombucha on and off for awhile. The “off” time was because I couldn’t always afford buying it at the store. So when the budget allowed I’d get it and when it didn’t..well, I didn’t. I knew how healthy it was for us, I’d been reading about gut health for some time. We’d given up conventional yogurt because of the amount of sugar and artificial ingredients, so we needed probiotics from somewhere else.
That’s when I got up the nerve to ask my kombucha-brewing neighbor for a SCOBY. What’s a SCOBY you ask? Check out my first post of this series and then come on back.
I’ve been making ‘booch at home for a few years now and am so happy I took that first step and persevered through the failed batches. Failed batches happen, folks so don’t let your happy kombucha-brewing face get turned upside down okay? We are in this thing together.
So you read my first post, gathered your supplies and are ever so patiently waiting on what’s next. Good for you! The next step?
Now is a good time to tell you that in about 10-12 days you’ll need some bottles. I personally use these, but you can also use store bought KT bottles or even Mason jars with these plastic lids (I wouldn’t use the metal ones for this). Any jar or glass that closes tightly and that you can drink from is fine.
How to Make Kombucha
This is the step-by-step kombucha brewing process that works for me, it’s changed as I work more efficiently. Start here and figure out what works best for you.
Pour 14 cups filtered water in large jar. Add remaining 2 cups to small pot and bring to a boil. Why the separation? Well, we could heat the entire 16 cups, but then we’d have to wait a really long time for it to cool before adding our SCOBY. So, the 14/2 is what I do. We just want to make sure we boil enough water to melt 1 cup of sugar into.
When water boils, turn off heat and add tea. Allow to steep for about 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and add sugar. Stir well to dissolve sugar.
Add tea to large jar (with the 14 cups of cool water), stir well. Add 1 cup prepared kombucha and SCOBY. The SCOBY may sink, it may float or it may sink and then rise to the top. That little guy is going to do its own thing, so don’t you worry about him.
Cover jar with doubled over cheesecloth or other clean cotton towel and secure with a rubber band. Make sure there are no gaps/openings between the cloth and jar–fruit flies are going to want in there BAD. And when they get in there, they are going to muck up your ferment and you’ll have to pitch it. Make sure the cloth is not saggy either, you don’t want the cloth in the tea.
Set in a dark place where it will be out of your way, it’s going to be there for awhile. I keep mine on the counter back in the corner that I can’t reach (or use so it’s perfect for ferments!).
Now, the ferment time is going to vary depending on several things. Climate and temperature play a role here, as well as how tangy/sweet you want your ‘booch. Shorter ferment=sweet. Longer ferment=tangy. A good window is 7-15 days. I usually ferment for about 10-12 and our KT is just right for us, a little sweet and a little tangy.
You can dip a clean spoon in there after 7 days to check the flavor. Just know, your ‘booch is going to grow a new SCOBY, so you’ll have your existing SCOBY that we added and you’ll get a new one with each batch. You should begin to see the new SCOBY forming around Day 3.