If you’ve been following my series, you’re probably wondering when this was coming, the final post. The end, the last steps before your delicious, frugal home brewed ‘booch! Be sure to check out Part 1: Gather Supplies and Part 2: Let’s Ferment.
You may be wondering why I made this into a series. You’ve probably read posts about brewing KT at home, it was short and simple. It sounded easy, and the idea of home brewing needing a series makes this seem complicated to you. I get that, but I wanted to take a few posts so I could break down the process for you, step by step. I remember when I first took an interest in home brewed KT. I read tons and tons of posts, each saying something a little different, each author sharing their specific method. I was intimidated by all the information and that intimidation is what kept me from starting sooner.
I hope that this series has given you the courage and knowledge to just go for it! If after reading through the series, you still have questions or need some encouragement pop over to my Facebook page and I’d be happy to help!
I assume you are already drinking kombucha if you’re considering making it yourself. Let me tell you, the money you will save by home brewing will be worth the nervousness you feel when dropping that first SCOBY into your tea. Trust me. Even if you have a few moldy batches at first, you will still be saving money. I can make a gallon of KT for what I used to pay for one bottle!!
Okay, so your ‘booch should have just finished fermenting for anywhere from 7-15 days. You should have a nice new SCOBY on top, along with the one you added at the beginning. How cool is that, for every batch you make you get another “mother”? So, you see, home brew KT is self-sustaining, gotta love that. Now we’ve got some nice, fermented unflavored KT on our hands. Now what?!
How to Bottle, Flavor, & Carbonate Your Home Brewed Kombucha
glass flip top bottles (6-7
wooden ladle or other large spoon for dipping
small tip marker
These are the supplies I use, but you’ll find what works best for you. I use both amber and clear flip top bottles, but you can use any bottle that will seal and is easy to drink from. At first, I mostly used the bottles from my store bought KT.
How to Flavor Your Kombucha
You can base the flavors off your favorites from the store, try something totally outrageous, or follow some of my suggestions. Each batch yields between 6-7 bottles, and I usually make 3-4 different flavors depending on what I’ve got on hand.
You can use fresh or frozen fruit pieces or fruit juice. If using fruit pieces, you’ll want between 5-7 pieces in each bottle. If you’re using juice, you’ll want to start with about 1 tablespoon per bottle. This will take some experimenting on your part, these are the amounts I use but you may find you like more or less.
Some of our favorite flavors (fresh fruit is fine too, I just always have frozen on hand):
Strawberry Mint: 3-4 frozen strawberries, cut in half or quarters + 4-5 fresh mint leave
Cherry Vanilla: 3-4 frozen cherries, cut in half + 2 teaspoons vanilla
Ginger Peach Mint: 2-3 slivers fresh ginger root + 2-3 peach slices + 2-3 mint leaves
Berry Blend: 5-7 berries, combination of raspberry, blackberry, blueberry
Okay, now get your bottles ready and add your flavors. Use the marker and tape to label each bottle with the flavor, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between them. With clean hands, remove the SCOBY and place in a new, clean jar (you can save him for next time by covering him with some of the KT or start a new batch today!).
Using the funnel and ladle, fill each bottle up to the bottom of the neck of the bottle (so where the bottle starts to get smaller, stop there). Once bottles are filled, close and wipe them down.
Place bottles in a dark place, preferably out of your way. If you don’t have a dark corner in your kitchen, cover with a dish towel.
This starts the carbonation process. You know what carbonation is like, remember what would happen when you would open a bottle of soda and you heard the “fizz”….or saw it and got drenched? That’s from carbonation. The ideal carbonation time for most people is between 4-6 days. The longer the carbonation, the more fizz. I have found that at 3 days, I don’t have much carbonation at all and on the other end, I recently forgot about a brew and let if carbonate for 9 days….it was so fizzy we could barely drink it (but we did, of course)! I think 5 days is just perfect!
After 4 days, open a bottle and see how much “fizz” you get. If not much, leave them out another day or two. You can also taste one and see how much the beverage is carbonated. To stop carbonation, place your bottles in the refrigerator.
And that my friends, is how you make Home Brewed Kombucha. Once your little babes reach the fridge, you’re done. Well, you could always start the next batch, because remember it’s going to take about 18-20 days until the next batch is ready to be enjoyed.