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How To Make Homemade Kombucha

April 28, 2015

Have you ever wondered how to make homemade kombucha? Save your money and brew your own with this easy tutorial teaching you how PLUS two recipes for flavor variations. Your budget and digestive system will thank you.

Have you ever wondered how to make homemade kombucha? Save your money and brew your own with this easy tutorial teaching you how PLUS two recipes for flavor variations. Your budget and digestive system will thank you.There are two reasons why I love kombucha: a) it has awesome health benefits (we’ll get to that) and b) it feels like my very own version of the sisterhood of the travelling pants…minus the pants…plus the SCOBY.

If you’ve ever made homemade kombucha before you know that part of the brewing process requires that you use a SCOBY or Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts. The purpose of the SCOBY is to eat the sugar and caffeine in the tea and metabolize it to produce all sorts of health benefits like probiotics, vitamins and amino acids. It’s health properties are particularly impressive considering it looks like a plastic mushroom or IMO a deflated silicone boob. Yes, I just said that.

Have you ever wondered how to make homemade kombucha? Save your money and brew your own with this easy tutorial teaching you how PLUS two recipes for flavor variations. Your budget and digestive system will thank you.While it is possible to grow you’re own SCOBY, it’s usually just easier to get one from a friend who is currently brewing Kombucha. They get separate a layer or cut off a piece and pass it onto you so you can get on your merry kombucha brewing way. See how it’s kind of like the sisterhood of the travelling pants? We’re all connected through one Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts…

At this point I need to thank my fellow SCOBY sister Katie for awesomely passing on a baby SCOBY to me so I could start my own batch. I am prepared to spread forth the kombucha love so if you’re interested in starting your own homemade kombucha after reading the tutorial below, comment or email me and I’m happy to give you a piece of mine!

And while you’re at it, please take some kombucha off my hands because as you’ll soon discover in your own brewing process, once you start making kombucha you can’t stop. I know have 16 bottles in the fridge with another batch going. Let’s just say my gut health is on point.

Have you ever wondered how to make homemade kombucha? Save your money and brew your own with this easy tutorial teaching you how PLUS two recipes for flavor variations. Your budget and digestive system will thank you.Back to kombucha.

I’m guessing a descent portion of you got lost somewhere along SCOBY and would like a simple definition of what kombucha is and why you need to start drinking it. So here you go:

Kombucha is a fermented tea that is packed full of probiotics, amino acids and various vitamins that help keep your digestive system in sync and balanced with a good amount of healthy bacteria. The taste is a little bit sweet (depending upon how long its left to ferment and if flavours are added) with a fizzy bite. It is always made with caffeinated green, black or oolong tea (sometimes herbal tea is added but never alone), sugar and a SCOBY. The sugar is required so that the SCOBY has something to eat and in turn produce all sorts of healthy byproducts. 

Have you ever wondered how to make homemade kombucha? Save your money and brew your own with this easy tutorial teaching you how PLUS two recipes for flavor variations. Your budget and digestive system will thank you.This actually isn’t my first time brewing kombucha. I took a fermentation class a few years ago (please don’t make fun of me) and loved making kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi. I’ve even posted a recipe for homemade kombucha before.

At some point I fell off the wagon and just started buying kombucha. But at $3-$4 a bottle, the pricetag quickly catches up with you and while your tummy may feel awesome, your budget certainly doesn’t. So I decided to get back on my game and start the brewing process up again. And this time I’m bringing you two new flavours: grapefruit and ginger aka my two favourite flavours ever. So without further ado, let’s start brewing!

SAVE print

How To Brew Your Own Kombucha

Ingredients

  • 1 SCOBY*
  • 24 cups of filtered water
  • 1 1/4 cups organic cane sugar
  • 6 organic and natural tea bags (green, black or oolong work great - I used green)
  • 1 cup already brewed kombucha (you can get this at health food stores or at whole foods)

Supplies

  • 1 large GLASS jar (only use glass - I used this one but any large mason jar will work)
  • 1 dish towel
  • 1 elastic band or piece of string
  • empty glass bottles (amount will depend on size of bottles)

Instructions

  1. Clean out your glass container so there is no possibility of remaining bacteria.
  2. Boil 24 cups of water in a large pot and once boiling, turn off heat and add tea bags.
  3. Steep until water has reached room temperature.
  4. Remove tea bags and add SCOBY, 1 cup of kombucha, cane sugar, and steeped tea to jar.
  5. Cover with a dish towel and secure in place with string or an elastic band.
  6. Store in a cool, dark place for 10 days. Do not touch at all. I keep mine in a cupboard.
  7. After 10 days, remove dish towel and divide kombucha between jars, leaving 1 inch of space between kombucha and lid in each jar.
  8. Your kombucha is ready! You can drink and store them in the fridge for several months.
  9. If you'd like to flavor your kombucha, here are two options (note* flavored kombucha requires a short second fermentation):

Grapefruit Flavor:

  1. Add 1/4 cup of freshly squeeze grapefruit juice to a medium sized bottle.
  2. Top with kombucha, leaving 1 inch of space between kombucha and lid.
  3. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 1-2 days with lid secured and then store in the fridge until you decide to drink.

For Ginger Flavor:

  1. Add 1 tsp of freshly grated ginger to a medium sized bottle.
  2. Top with kombucha, leaving 1 inch of space between kombucha and lid.
  3. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 1-2 days with lid secured and then store in the fridge until you decide to drink.

by

Notes

*In order to acquire a SCOBY you can ask a friend, order one here or make your own according to this tutorial.

Have you ever wondered how to make homemade kombucha? Save your money and brew your own with this easy tutorial teaching you how PLUS two recipes for flavor variations. Your budget and digestive system will thank you.

A couple of notes about kombucha and especially homemade kombucha:

1. YOU MUST USE SUGAR. Calm yourselves people, the sugar provides nourishment to the SCOBY which needs it to survive and produce all of its awesome health benefits. Please do not try to substitute it with another sweetener or GASP…sugar-free sweetener. If done right, the SCOBY will eat most of the sugar and what you’re left with is a tangy, fizzy drink with all sorts of probiotics.

2. Keep things as clean as possible. Make sure your jar is clean and hands are clean when handling the SCOBY. You don’t want any negative bacteria getting in there.

3. My fermenting teacher (this is a thing) always told me to “just relax”. If you find yourselves worrying about your kombucha, it will not turn out. Have faith and put out good juju and you will end up with a delicious brew.

Want more healthy how-to kitchen hacks? Check out other posts from this series so far!

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Are you a Kombucha drinker? Do you want to get started making your own homemade kombucha and live in the Toronto-area? If so, comment or email me and I can pass on some SCOBY!

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  • Reply
    Lauren
    April 28, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Awesome post lady! I love kombucha but agree that it is so expensive to buy from the shop. I killed my first scoby by giving it coconut sugar as I didn’t have any normal sugar in (shocker). Needless to say, it needs real sugar! We had massive ones at my old work that filled up huge barrels. They were like jelly fish – so gross, but so good!
    Lauren recently posted…A Little Break

  • Reply
    Les @ The Balanced Berry
    April 28, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Loveeeee. I’ve been brewing my own Kombucha for months now and love it. My SCOBY frightens my family and boyfriend, but they’ll come around 😉 I actually went to a kombucha party where a friend of mine who had been fermenting for awhile grew a ton of SCOBY, showed us all how to do it and gave us all starters!
    Les @ The Balanced Berry recently posted…I’m back! Food and Fitness for the Week

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Eat the Gains
    April 28, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Love this!! I was just gifted 4 scobys and my friend and I are going to have a dinner and kombucha party tonight. I also am giving some away to other friends. I bought decaffeinated black tea at the store, do I need to just get the regular kind? And can I use coconut sugar, or should it just be regular sugar?

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      April 28, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      You need both caffeinated and real sugar (not coconut palm sugar). Don’t worry though, the SCOBY will eat up most of it! Enjoy 🙂

  • Reply
    Suzanne
    April 28, 2015 at 10:53 am

    That is one photogenic looking SCOBY! I was so sad when mine (whom I’d named Sid) died 🙁 The best flavour combos I ever made was earl grey tea + raspberries and green tea + dried bloobs! TO DIE FOR. Dried fruits make the flavour soooo intense!

    • Reply
      E
      June 26, 2016 at 5:51 am

      What ratio of earl grey to green tea? Thanks

  • Reply
    Jen @ Chase the Red Grape
    April 28, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Gah I must make my Own Kombucha! It’s been on my to do list forever! Thanks for the reminder – the desire to drink it every day should be enough of a push!!
    Jen @ Chase the Red Grape recently posted…CrossFit – PR’d!

  • Reply
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl
    April 28, 2015 at 11:31 am

    I actually just tried storebought kombucha this past weekend and now I am hooked! As a result, I have a feeling that I will definitely try brewing my own. When you pour in the already brewed kombucha, does it matter what kind? Can it be something that is already flavored?
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl recently posted…Deconstructed Bean and Veggie Enchiladas {Vegan + Gluten-Free}

  • Reply
    Christina
    April 28, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I love Kombucha and it looks like this is an easy and affordable way to make it at home — awesome! I would LOVE a piece of your SCOBY if you have some to share in the future!
    PS. I recently started reading your blog and trying your recipes and I’m LOVING them. I demolished a batch of pistachio lime energy bites — so amazing. And I make your avocado tuna salad most weeks to bring for lunch!

  • Reply
    Dani @ DaniCaliforniaCooks
    April 28, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Ha! I laughed aloud a couple of times during this post. Glad your gut health is “on point” 🙂
    Dani @ DaniCaliforniaCooks recently posted…Weekend in Santa Cruz and San Jose

    • Reply
      Claire
      January 21, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      I’ll say this. My first experience with homemade Kampuchea was in high school. 1998. A coach gave me some (her grandma brewed it) to get rid of a wart on my hand. It worked. Never got one again, but I’d had several removed by dermatologists before that. For me, experience is the only thing that gets me over the mixed reviews. Started brewing my own in my 20s and would never support the Whole Foods price tag on something that is so easy to do at home. That said, I also do my own brazilians. Perhaps it takes just the right level of “cheap” to put our health and dignity at risk. Hah. Cheers.

      • Reply
        Claire
        January 21, 2016 at 8:44 pm

        This is in reply to Andrea. And forgive the typos. iPad problems.
        Claire recently posted…2016: Hooray!

  • Reply
    Andrea
    April 28, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    I keep hearing about kombucha in health-related forums like this site (which I follow on facebook and love!). But every time I research this brew outside of these forums, places like Mayo clinic, for example, I only turn up info that says that while it is popular and believed to have many health benefits, there is no scientific evidence to support those beliefs, and that the colony of bacteria used to produce this elixir cannot be guaranteed to be a thriving hive of *only* healthful bacteria, and can possibly contain dangerous or unhealthy bacteria, particularly when produced in home-based kitchens with differing levels of sanitation. I will probably try a store-bought version of this juice (no home brew for me — I don’t even trust myself not to colonize harmful bacteria!). But the question I have is this: How do you deal with these dubious opinions? Do you disregard them? Discredit them? I’m not trying to be a smart-aleck, I am truly curious!

    • Reply
      Alana
      October 31, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      I had the same feelings as you for a long time. For me, it simply took drinking kombucha regularly. I can feel that my digestive system is working better and I feel better overall. Hopefully the research will come but for now I just go by my gut feeling, literally! 😉
      Alana recently posted…Fermentation Lovers Holiday Gift Guide

  • Reply
    Cassie
    April 28, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    I would love the grapefruit flavor! Nice!
    Cassie recently posted…Theo Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Review

  • Reply
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West
    April 28, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Davida! Believe or not, as a healthy foods person who likes all things, I haven’t enjoyed drinking any store-bought Kombucha. While this process is pretty intricate, I love that it’s possible. SCOBY? Hilarious. Guess I need to get my hands on that first! Happy Tuesday! 🙂
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West recently posted…How I turned my blog into a business

  • Reply
    Melissa @ Mango About Town
    May 7, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    I would love to make my own Kombucha but I don’t have the space for it right now! If I did I’d be looking into how much it would cost us to air mail some SCOBY from Toronto to Winnipeg 😉
    Melissa @ Mango About Town recently posted…Ladies Night: Wine and Cheese Tasting

  • Reply
    Chloe
    June 3, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Does anyone know if making homemade kombucha makes the room you brew it in smell? I would really love to try to make my won but since I live in an apt. I’m hesitant.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      June 3, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      Hey Chloe! I place mine in a cupboard. It smells a tiny bit but nothing noticeable except for the fact that I happen to know it’s Kombucha. But that’s only in the cupboard. Definitely doesn’t smell anywhere else!

  • Reply
    VEGAN SUMMER FOOD TRENDS - Sprouts & Chocolate
    June 4, 2015 at 9:06 am

    […] pretty expensive to drink everyday so I turned to making my own with the help of fellow blogger, The Healthy Maven, who posted a tutorial on making your own kombucha from scratch. Like fermented foods, fermenting tea does take a little bit of time but the rewards are well worth […]

  • Reply
    Emilie @ Emilie Eats
    October 22, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Hey Davida! I absolutely love kombucha and want to start brewing my own cause, uh, $4 a bottle…
    I have a couple questions though. Would this be considered the continuous method of brewing? Basically, what do you do with the SCOBY after you do all the steps and want to start a new batch? Do you just repeat? Can you store the SCOBY if you have to put off making a new batch?
    Emilie @ Emilie Eats recently posted…Healthy Cornbread (vegan + gluten-free)

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      October 23, 2015 at 11:32 am

      Hi Lovely! So fun you’re ready to start brewing your own ‘buch! So yes, brewing kombucha is pretty much a continious process. When you’re done your first batch you just keep going until you’re ready to be done, which after a few rounds you usually are because your house will be overflowing. You can definitely keep your scoby alive between brewing by storing it in a cool place (same place where you typically brew) in about a few cups of kombucha and some sugar, being sure to refill the sugar every week or so. The scoby needs sugar to survive so if you don’t feed it, it will die. Let me know how it goes!

  • Reply
    Rayna Lusby
    November 23, 2015 at 4:37 am

    Does it matter if the sugar melts while brewing the tea. I realised that I should have added the sugar when cool.?

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 8:53 am

      It should be okay but Kombucha can be quite finicky so I can’t guarantee. It’s optimal to put the sugar in when it’s luke-warm-to-cool but it may still work if you added it when it’s hot.

  • Reply
    Dolores White
    March 10, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    I am ready to jump into this whole make-your-own Kombusha kick and would love a piece of your scoby!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      March 13, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      Aw I’ve been travelling so much that I unfortunately had to put my SCOBY to rest! Hope you’re able to find one!

  • Reply
    Bridget Feickert
    April 12, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Quick question, what if I do not have space in my refrigerator for individual bottles? Can I keep my kambucha in the large glass container with spout? How much juice do I add in that case?

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      April 12, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      I wouldn’t recommend it! Unless you plan on drinking all of it immediately…

      • Reply
        Bridget Feickert
        April 12, 2016 at 8:54 pm

        What about if my family drinks it within a week?

        • Reply
          Davida Kugelmass
          April 12, 2016 at 9:08 pm

          Should be okay but fermenting and bacteria is a tricky thing. Try to store it in a cool place if you do!

  • Reply
    Jolene
    August 13, 2016 at 12:19 am

    Can I use coconut sugar? Thanks for the recipes too!!

  • Reply
    Jessica
    January 26, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Hi,

    I love Kombucha and I was excited to find it at our local grocery store here in Germany, but paying in euros, makes it even more expensive of course….I’m not sure if I’m able to order to SCOBY because of the strict mailing rules here, but if I am able to get one… how do you care for it? Let’s say you just finished making a batch and aren’t ready to make another….

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 26, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      Hi lovely! You’ll want to keep about a cup of Kombucha or tea in there and feed it a 1/4 cup of sugar every week or so!

  • Reply
    Kelly
    February 1, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Well you did it – finally convinced me to give up the price tag and brew my own. A question when flavoring…it wasn’t clear to me whether I just add ginger (Etc) to the main jar we are brewing in or pour into smaller jar?

  • Reply
    Pat
    June 1, 2017 at 6:08 am

    Thanks so much for posting! I looked into making Kombucha before, but got overwhelmed with the instructions. Yours however are simple enough for me to attempt to wrap my brain around it! LoL I would love if you could message me so that I could get a piece of scoby from you! Thank you.

  • Reply
    Tiana
    July 12, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I just came across your blog!!! I used to make my own kombucha and I so I love to start again. If you are still gifting them please contact me. Nubiangoddesst@gmail.com. I will in turn spread the wealth!!

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