Kombucha Home Brewing Guide
Choose your brewing size:
Half Gallon Ingredients
- Tea bag, tea ball or tea pot
- Brewing vessel (jar)
- Tightly woven cloth cover
- Rubber band or string
- Twist top bottles or swing top bottle
- Stove, electric kettle, etc (way to boil hot water)
- Metal spoon
- Measuring cups and spoons
Primary Fermentation Instructions:
1. Make sweet tea.
5. Secondary fermentation (optional).
- Regular method: Bring water to a boil in saucepan or electric kettle and pour into a large bowl. Add tea and steep 10 minutes. Remove tea bags, add sugar and stir to dissolve. Allow hot tea mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Quick Method: boil 1/4 the amount of water needed, add tea, and steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add sugar and stir to dissolve, then add the remaining 3/4 amount of cold water.
- Add room temperature sweetened tea, starter liquid (aka already brewed kombucha) and SCOBY to your brewing vessel.
- Cover with tightly woven cloth and secure with rubber band or string.
- Store the brewing vessel in a warm place (ideally 68F-78F) away from direct sunlight. Let the kombucha ferment for 7-21 days. After 7 days, try your kombucha by pouring a small amount into a cup. If it is too tart, reduce your brewing period next time. If too sweet, allow to brew for a few more days, checking once every day or 2.
5. Secondary fermentation (optional).
- When the brew is fermented to your liking, you can pour and enjoy the plain kombucha. You can also pour most of it into secondary fermentation bottles and flavor your kombucha. Either way, make sure to save some already brewed kombucha as the starter liquid for your next kombucha batch.
Flavor your kombucha and boost your fizz during the second fermentation!
- Kombucha from the primary fermentation
- Flavoring - fresh, frozen or dried fruit, fruit juice, syrups, extracts, concentrates, spices or herbs .
- Twist or snap top bottles
- Mesh strainer
- Measuring spoons
Secondary Fermentation Instructions:
1. Bottle your kombucha.
- Funnel kombucha into bottles leaving room for flavoring plus 1-2 inches of air space at the top of the bottle.
- Add fresh, frozen, or dried fruit, juices, syrups, extracts, concentrates, spices, or herbs to your bottled kombucha for flavor. Get creative! I suggest starting by adding 10-20% flavoring to 80-90% kombucha. If you add a flavoring that does not contain natural sugar (like fruit or juice), then add 1/4 tsp of sugar per 1 liter/32oz bottle.
- Let bottles ferment outside at room temperature for 2-10 days, until the taste is to your liking. Don’t forget to “burp” your bottles by opening and closing the lid every 2 days to prevent a booch explosion.
- If you used pieces of fruit or herbs, strain your kombucha into another bottle using a mesh strainer before storing in the fridge to stop the fermentation process.
Do's and Don'ts
- Make sure your brewing vessel and utensils are clean.
- Wash your hands before touching the SCOBY.
- Use glass as your brewing vessel.
- Use plain granulated sugar to sweeten the tea.
- Use unflavored black, green or white teas for primary fermentation.
- Cover the brewing vessel with a tightly woven cloth and secure it with a rubber band.
- Select a fermentation location that is warm, has good airflow and is away from direct sunlight.
- Give the culture at least 7 days to ferment and develop.
- Throw away any batch that gets moldy (including the SCOBY).
- Ferment the kombucha SCOBY in an airtight container.
- Use honey, maple syrup, stevia or any artificial sweeteners in the primary fermentation
- Add flavors (like fruit or juices) to the primary fermentation with the SCOBY. They can harm the SCOBY and stimulate mold growth.
- Store in direct sunlight.
- Try to salvage a moldy batch.