If you’ve ever wondered how to make kombucha tea at home, this is your guide. The recipe walks you through the process but I also have a few suggestions to help make it a smooth one. I’ll also be posting a few of my favorite ways to flavor kombucha soon. I’m thinking mango and honey lavender.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented, lightly sweetened and slightly effervescent black or green tea. It’s exploded in popularity and my Sprouts has it’s own kombucha aisle now.
What does kombucha taste like?
The taste can vary greatly depending upon the brewer. It can be mild or it can be tart. If you let it ferment too long it tastes a lot like vinegar.
What is the benefit to making your own kombucha?
Like most store-bought, processed foods it can also contain significant amounts of sugar. One of the benefits to making your own kombucha is that you can control the sweetness. You can also control the amount of fermentation and the flavor.
Do you have to use a sweetener?
Yes, the scoby grows off of the sugar or honey. If you don’t have those things then the scoby wouldn’t grow and the fermentation process wouldn’t take place.
What is a SCOBY?
It’s legit and real thing. I did not make it up. Scoby is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. It’s the home for the good bacteria and yeast that help transform the sweet tea to kombucha. It will sometimes be refered to as ‘the mother’ or ‘starter.’ It kinda reminds me of a sourdough starter as it has the similar principles.
Is there alcohol in kombucha?
Yes, but very little. It’s not a noticeable amount unless you drink a large amount but if you are sensitive to alcohol then it should probably be avoided.
Is this a difficult or complicated process?
Yes and no. The first batch is a little nerve-racking. Handling the scoby can be intimidating. There are a lot of steps that are spread out over a few days. However, once you get the feel for the process, it becomes a lot easier.
Where do I get a SCOBY?
You can buy it online, get one from a kombucha making friend or grow your own. I got one from a friend and have been using it for close to a year. It’s grown lots of SCOBY babies, which I have passed onto my friends as well.
Is kombucha AIP compliant?
Yes but between the honey and the tea, it should be used in moderation. Additionally, everyone is different. Like all foods, if you notice an adverse reaction you’ll need to eliminate it until a later date when you can try and reintroduce it again. If you have bad reactions to alcohol, caffeine, tea or honey then maybe kombucha isn’t for you.
Do you have any other questions about how to make kombucha tea?
That’s totally fine. Just ask me in the comments below and I’ll respond as soon as I can.
Here are a few additional things to keep in mind when brewing kombucha tea at home.
- You can use any kind of tea except herbal and oily teas (such as earl grey). Black tea works the best but I use green tea a lot as well. You can always add a few herbals tea bags in addition to the black or green tea for added flavor. I’ve added a few mint tea bags to green tea and it worked just fine. For your first batch of tea, I would stick to black tea. The SCOBY reacts well and is the most reliable with black tea.
- SCOBY’s are ugly on a good day. Sometimes will have strings hanging off of it which looks gross but it’s just part of the process. It may also sink or float. Either is fine. During a second ferment, the smaller bottles may also form small SCOBYs in each container, which is totally normal.
- A healthy SCOBY will never be dry, moldy or smell rancid. The kombucha should always have a whiff of vinegar smell to the liquid. If it looks or smells bad, then discard the SCOBY and all the liquid. You’ll have to get a new SCOBY and start over.
- When you’re covering the liquid, make sure to use a breathable fabric. A thick dishtowel may not allow enough air to get through. I have cotton and loosely woven dishtowels that I use that are perfect. You can use cheesecloth, however you’ll need to make sure that you use a few layers. A single layer of cheesecloth is too breathable because the loose weave would allow flies to get through the cloth.
- Make sure to use clean hands and utensils when making kombucha. It keeps the kombucha safe to drink.
How to Make Kombucha Tea at Home
If you’ve ever wondered how to make kombucha tea at home, this is your guide. It is a step-by-step guide to show you the kombucha brewing process plus tips and tricks to make your first batch a good one. This recipe is allergy friendly (gluten, dairy, shellfish, nut, egg, and soy free) and suits the autoimmune protocol diet (AIP), and paleo diets.
- Prep Time: 5-10 days
- Total Time: 5-10 days
- Yield: approx. 10 cups
1 gallon Glass Jar
8 Black or Green Tea bags
1 cup Honey
2 cups Vinegar or Kombucha (store bought or leftover)
Breathable fabric (such as a multiple layers of cheesecloth or an all cotton towel) and a rubberband
Bring 12 cups of water to boil in a stock pot.
Remove from heat, then add the honey to the pot and stir until dissolved.
Add in the tea bags then let it steep for 30 minutes.
Let the tea cool completely to room temperature, which normally takes a few hours.
Once cooled, pour the tea into the glass jar.
Add the vinegar or kombucha to the jar.
With clean hands place the SCOBY on top. You can try and use tongs but SCOBY’s are slippery so good luck.
Cover with your cloth and secure with a rubber band.
Place somewhere at room temperature out of direct sunlight (such as a cabinet) and let ferment for 5-10 days. The temperature greatly affects the speed at which the tea will ferment hence the span of time.
Start taste testing after 2-3 days. Taste it everyday until it’s just the right amount of tart. The longer you leave it, the more it will taste like vinegar.
Remove the SCOBY and 2 cups of liquid for your next batch.
Before you transfer the kombucha to bottles, it’s time to add flavoring. Add about 1/4-1/2 cup of honey to the kombucha if you want a little additional sweetness. You can also add fruit or herbs. The scoby feeds off the sugar so while there was a cup of honey in the tea, it won’t taste that sweet. Check out my recipes for Mango Kombucha and Honey Lavender Kombucha (coming soon).
Bottle the kombucha leaving some room at the top of the bottles, cover tightly then place in the fridge.
If you like carbonated kombucha you’ll need to do a second fermentation.
To do a second fermentation, instead of placing the bottles in the fridge, place the bottles somewhere at room temperature out of direct sunlight (such as a cabinet). Let them continue to ferment for 1-2 days.
If you like this recipe, be sure to share it on Pinterest or leave a comment below!