Healthy living is taking on a whole new meaning from ten years ago. Eating and drinking better is a game plan for many. While most people like the convenience of prepackaged frozen healthy meals, others are turning to a fresher diet plan that includes a balance of everything from proteins to valuable enzymes needed for digestion.
We feel that drinking Kombucha tea can vastly improve your health and the health of your children. Making Kombucha tea is easy, cheap, and only takes a few days. You only need a few basic household ingredients. This is PERFECT for mothers who are interested in eating healthy. As a bonus, Kombucha tastes delicious — your kids will absolutely love it.
So it’s not hard to recommend Kombucha as a fun and healthy drink to make. Your kids will also get a kick out of how it’s made!
Interested? We hope so!
Here’s are comprehensive guide on how to make your own Kombucha at home!
Introducing Kombucha to Your Diet
A healthy diet that covers everything can take a while to plan out so it’s important to always include things that are a acidic on different levels so you can improve your digestive system and aid in many health conditions. Kombucha is a fermented tea that can aid in so many different conditions that many people are dealing with right now.
Is Kombucha Beneficial?
When considering the health benefits of Kombucha, it’s important to note that the following benefits have no solid research to back up the claims. When Kombucha is consumed in the unpasteurized state, it is full of probiotics, which aids the digestive system function.
What are the Health Benefits of Kombucha?
It’s important to use Kombucha wisely and if you have health issues, you may need to consult your doctor before you start using it regularly. It’s important to control the amount of Kombucha per day.
Health Benefits of Kombucha may include
- Cancer prevention
- Improving memory health
- Promote regular bowel movements
- Weight management
- Help to regulate blood pressure
- Decrease wrinkle appearance
- Aid in clearer blemish free skin
- Add color back to gray hair
- Increase levels of energy
- Contains probiotics – a healthy bacteria
- General health maintenance
- Improve eyesight
- Increase in healthy cell regeneration
Kombucha contains tea, sugar, and a starter. The caffeine from the tea and the sugars are all used up during the fermentation process so you don’t need to worry about them being a problem.
Learning about the SCOBY
Soon, you are going to make your own Kombucha but before you do, you must make sure you have everything you need to make this healthy drink. One important ingredient is Scoby, or Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.
What is a Scoby?
The scoby is a small community of microorganisms that need the sugar and tea to survive. Just like sourdough bread needs it’s starter to make one or two loaves of bread at a time, Kombucha needs to have the Scoby to complete the fermentation process.
How to Get a Scoby
There are three ways to obtain a scoby for your Kombucha:
- Find a friend, co-worker, or family member who already makes their own Kombucha and ask them to spare a little bit of their Scoby. Because Scoby is live, theirs will grow back and yours will grow as you use it.
- You can order scoby online through a reputable shop
- You can grow your own scoby
How to Grow Your Own SCOBY from STORE BOUGHT Kombucha
If you have decided to make your own scoby, here is what you need to get started:
- clean bacteria free surface
- rubber band
- paper towel
Note: It’s extremely important that the surface and all equipment you will be using is clean and sanitized before making Scoby. Contamination can make whomever consumes the finished product sick.
- Sugar – ½ cup white granulated
- Tea – 4 bags
- Water – 7 cups
- Kombucha – 16 oz. unflavored purchased from the store for the first batch
What to do:
- Fill a teapot with one cup of water and bring to a boil.
- Place one tea bag and two tablespoons of sugar into the jar
- Add hot water to the jar and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Allow to cool completely and remove the tea bag or loose tea from the jar.
- Poor Kombucha into the jar
- Cover the jar with a paper towel and secure it with a rubber band
This begins the growing period of the Scoby. Always use safety when growing your own Scoby. Here are some tips.
Important Tips when Growing Scoby
- Scoby can only grow away from direct sunlight
- The jar that you have your scoby in needs to be placed where it won’t be shaken up or moved around
- Always wash your hands before handling your scoby and any supplies used to make it.
- It’s okay to see bubbles growing around your scoby. Expect to see gritty brown sediments inside the jar as well as a jelly substance. If you see green or fuzzy black molds growing on or around your scoby, something has went wrong; throw it out.
- The scoby should never have a cheesy smell – if it does, throw it out if it does
- Allow two to four weeks to grow the scoby from scratch
- Scoby needs an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit to grow at a steady rate
- Don’t throw the liquid away that your scoby grew in. This is called the starter tea and you will need it to make your first batch of Kombucha. It basically hydrates your scoby so it can survive.
How to Make Kombucha
Now that you have a Scoby ready you can begin to make your Kombucha. We are assuming you have either grown your own SCOBY as per the instructions above, or you bought a working SCOBY already from an online store, or you were given one from a friend/family member.
If you don’t have a SCOBY at hand at this point, you’ll need to get one because you won’t be able to make KOMBUCHA as per the instructions below. So get one!
Here’s what you will need to make Kombucha:
- A stock pot
- One gallon glass jar or a 2 quart size jar
- Tight woven cloth or several coffee filters
- 6 bottles – glass or plastic ( you can use plastic soda bottles that have been cleaned and sanitized )
- Small funnel
- Sugar – one cup
- Tea bags – 8 black, green, or mixture or 2 Tablespoons of loose leaf tea
- Water – 3 ½ Quarts
- Starter tea from Kombucha – 2 cups (or 1 cup of white vinager if you don’t have starter kombucha tea)
- Scoby – one scoby per jar
What to Do (How to Start Brewing the Kombucha)
1. Making your Tea Base
This step will be repeated every time you want to make your own Kombucha.
Pour water into the stock pot and bring to a full boil. Remove from heat and add sugar. Stir to dissolve. Drop in the tea bags and steep until the water is completely cooled down. This step could take a long time but it must be allowed to cool all the way down.
2. Add the Starter tea
Once the tea is completely cooled down, you will need to either remove the tea bags or strain the loose tea. Then stir in the starter tea. Adding the starter tea will turn the liquid acidic to help prevent the growth of the bad bacteria during the fermentation process.
3. Transfer Tea Base to Jar
Pour the tea base mixture into the a one gallon jar. Carefully, and with clean hands, place a scoby into the jar. Cover the mount of the jar with a few coffee filters or cloth and secure it with a rubber band. You want enough coffee filters to cover the mouth of the jar and allow the scoby to breathe but not allow insects to get into the mixture while it’s fermenting.
4. Observing your Tea
Keep your tea jar in a room that is away from direct sunlight. You will want to check on it periodically. While observing, here are a few things you may notice:
- The scoby may be seen floating at the top of the jar, the bottom, or even on it’s side while in the jar. This is normal.
- If you see a new layer that is cream colored, this is normal and may appear a few days after fermentation starts.
- The new growth may separate from the old Scoby and that is okay.
- If you see stringy scoby floating around, this is normal
- If you see sediments on the bottom of the jar, it’s normal
- If you see bubbles floating around the scoby, it’s normal
5. Tasting your Kombucha
- Pour a little of the Kombucha in a cup after the seventh day to taste.
- Your Kombucha is ready when the taste is an equal balance of tart and sweet to your taste buds.
- If the taste is not quite right, continuing the fermenting process and check it again in a day.
6. It’s time to Remove the Scoby
Now that your Kombucha is ready, you will need to remove the scoby. However, before you remove it, repeat step one and prepare your second batch so you can have a continuous supply of Kombucha making.
Carefully lift up the scoby from the jar of the first batch and place it on a plate and observe it. If you notice that the Scoby is thick, you may want to cut off a layer before placing it into the second batch.
Tip to tell when the Kombucha is done: It’s recommended to use clean washed plastic soda bottles for the first few times of making Kombucha so you will be able to recognize when the carbonation process is complete. When Kombucha is completely carbonated, the plastic bottle will feel completely solid and unable to flex.
7. Bottle the Kombucha
Pour the Kombucha from the first batch into your bottles using the small funnel. Leave approximately half an inch from the head of the bottle. Place the cap on it. At this point you can either put the Kombucha in the fridge and stop there.
You can do a Second Ferment. The second ferment adds a deeper flavor, and more carbonation. You can also add extra ingredients like fruit to add additional flavor. Remember though, you MUST have the SCOBY removed and you will seal the container / bottle during the second ferment for a few days.
8. The Second Ferment (Optional)
This is an optional step. If you don’t want to do a second ferment, simply put your bottles of Kombucha into the fridge and you are done.
But if you do want to do a second ferment, you have two choices for the second ferment: make it plain or add extra ingredients (fruit, herbs, spices, etc). However, if you want to add MORE flavor (we recommend doing a second ferment, and doing it with fresh fruit added).
Examples of what you can add:
- Make a Ginger Juice consisting of ginger root, water, orange juice, berry mix, cranberry juice or pomegranate.
- Any type of fruit that you like
About Fruit & Kombucha
When adding fresh fruit, you won’t be able to store it without caution. The fresh fruit could accelerate the freshness of the Kombucha. Experiment with fruit after you have tried Kombucha a time or two to make sure that you understand the process well.
Rinse all fresh fruit thoroughly before adding it to the Kombucha. Wash surfaces carefully before allowing the fruit to touch in order to avoid contamination of fruit.
When using a blender or mixer to add different berries or fruits, make sure that the mixer has been cleaned after the last use, again to avoid transferring bad bacteria into your batch of Kombucha.
Use organic fruits when possible to avoid any sprays that may be on the fruit when harvested.
Don’t overdo it by adding too much fruit at one time. Experimenting will save you from throwing batches of Kombucha out due to distaste. Experiment with the different bottles instead of adding fruit to the entire batch. Be sure to label the bottles that have fruit added to them in case they get mixed up.
Fruits can Increase the Amount of Sugar in Kombucha
Fruit has it’s own natural sugars so when you add fruits to Kombucha, you are adding that extra sugar even though it’s natural sugars. Adding lemon, lime, or ginger root will not increase the amount of sugar in the Kombucha.
That’s all there is to it to enjoy your very own healthy Kombucha anytime you want to.
9. When is the Second Ferment Complete?
The more you make Kombucha, the more comfortable you will be with the entire process. It’s very important to observe with your eyes and nose while making it. If it doesn’t look right, or if it doesn’t smell right, then something is probably wrong with the batch and it is better to lose that one batch then to be sick from drinking it.
Note for more information about making Kombucha, flavoring it, click on this link to find out everything you need to know about it: how to make your own Kombucha.
Resources About Kombucha
If you want to get into Kombucha making, here are some key resources we’ve found on the topic. It’s easy to make Kombucha, but you may have a lot of questions you want answered (it is a surprisingly complex topic).