I recently got my hands on a scoby after almost a year of wanting to brew my own kombucha. I love kombucha but don't love how expensive it is in the shops! I found my scoby on a local buy/sell Facebook group - it isn't too difficult to find one and I think you can even order them online now. Apart from the fact it's delicious, kombucha has many health benefits - most notably it improves overall gut health which is very important for a healthy immune system.
Here is my method for brewing homemade kombucha. I'm still a newbie but I find this method works well for me. Note: there is some level of commitment required and I probably wouldn't recommend starting if you are travelling a lot of the time.
If you have more questions about kombucha please comment below. Good luck and enjoy!
What you need:
- Starter kombucha (~100ml)
- Black tea (I use organic loose leaf)
- White sugar
- Large glass jar (that can hold at least 3 litres)
- Cloth or tea towel and rubber band to cover jar
- Boil 1 litre of water and steep 20-30g of black tea for 20 minutes (until the water is quite dark).
- Add 120g of white sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Add 1 more litre of room temperature water.
- Leave tea to cool completely - this could take a few hours.
- Place the scoby and starter kombucha into the jar.
- Add the cooled tea to the jar.
- Cover the jar with a cloth and rubber band. It doesn’t need to be tightly sealed, the kombucha needs to breath!
- Store in a cool place that is not in direct sunlight for 7-10 days.
- Once you have determined the kombucha is ready (see below for extra tips) remove the scoby and pour a small amount of the kombucha into a bowl. This will be your starter kombucha for the next batch.
- Bottle your kombucha and add any flavourings at this point. I use fresh mint and ginger.
How to know it’s ready:
- The tea should be noticeably lighter in colour and have a vinegary scent.
- A new scoby should have formed on the surface.
- Taste it! It’s really up to you when you decide it is ready. If it still tastes quite sweet and you’d prefer it not to be, leave it a few more days.
- The longer you leave the kombucha fermenting, the more ‘fizzy’ it will get. I personally prefer more fizz, so I’ve found 2 weeks works well for me.
- As soon as you put the bottled kombucha in the fridge, it will stop fermenting. You can bottle your kombucha and then leave it outside the fridge for secondary fermentation. Another 4 days should increase the fizz.
- The fermentation time will also depend on the temperature. In warmer weather it will ferment more quickly.
- You can use green tea instead of black tea but DO NOT use herbal teas or earl grey. The bergamot oils will damage the scoby.
- Each time you brew a new batch of kombucha, a baby scoby will grow on the surface. My scoby floats and the new scobys tend to attach to the mother so I just keep them together as one ever growing scoby. Some people’s scoby sinks and the baby scoby will be separate. If this is the case, you can remove it and place it in a secondary jar with a little of the tea mixture. This is called a scoby hotel and is good as a backup.
- Once you’ve made a few batches and feel confident, experiment will different tea and sugar ratios until you find one you love.