I brewed my very first batch of kombucha at home, and it was actually really easy! Okay… I cheated a little. I used this Kombucha Brewing Kit from The Kombucha Shop. This kit included everything I needed to make my first batch of kombucha, so I didn’t have to go through the process of researching what equipment to purchase or how to start a culture. But still… I’m still proud that I was able to pull this off. If I was able to successfully brew a batch, you can too!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with kombucha, I’ll fill you in on this yummy health trend. Essentially, kombucha is a fermented black or green tea and is considered a functional beverage. Kombucha contains a ton of probiotics and is great for our gut health.
Anyway, back to this awesome kit that somehow made me a kombucha brewmaster (just kidding). This kit came with:
- one gallon brew jar with lid
- kombucha culture & liquid starter
- organic sugar
- organic tea blend
- reusable cotton tea bag
- temperature guage
- wet erase marker
- cotton cover & rubber band
- pH test strips
Because the kombucha culture (SCOBY – symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) was included, brewing my kombucha was fairly simple. I started by steeping the organic tea blend in 4 cups of boiling water for about 5 minutes.
After my tea was brewed, I added the organic sugar and stirred until all of the sugar dissolved. After the sugar dissolved, I transferred my sweet tea mixture into the glass jar that was included with the kit. I then added 8 cups of cold, filtered water into the jar. I put the temperature gauge on the side and waited for the mixture to reach the ideal temperature before adding in my SCOBY and starter liquid.
Once the temperature had reached somewhere between 68 to 84 degrees (Fahrenheit), I added the contents in the culture/starter liquid bag. Then, I stirred once and tested the pH of the mixture. The instructions stated that it should read 4.5 or below. Because mine was within that range, I didn’t have to take any additional steps to balance the pH.
Once I had confirmed that the pH was suitable for kombucha brewing, I covered the jar with the cotton cloth and sealed it with the rubber band. I then labeled my jar and found it a temporary home. I stored my kombucha on top of the cupboards in my kitchen because it was out of direct sunlight (but still in a fairly warm location) and still had plenty of airflow. I left it alone for 7 days so a new culture could grow and my tea could ferment.
On day 7, I tested the flavor of my kombucha. It was a little sweeter than I prefer, so I put it back on top of the cupboard and checked again a few days later. Overall, my kombucha brewed for 9 days. I think next time, I’ll let it brew for a bit longer as it was still a bit too sweet. I was just afraid that I would over-brew and end up with kombucha that was too tart for my taste preference. (However, if that does happen, there are a few quick fixes mentioned on the instruction card.) Once I had my desired taste, I tested the pH once more to make sure it was within the proper range for finished kombucha (2.5-3.5).
Then I moved on to bottling! Bottling is the second fermentation process that allows the kombucha to carbonate (although you can enjoy your kombucha right from the jar without fermenting a second time.) I started this process off by putting my old and new SCOBY in a glass jar with 2 cups of my brew and putting the cotton cloth on the jar (it will be good like this for about a month). Each time you brew, a new SCOBY will form.
I then divided the rest of my kombucha between swing-top bottles. I left about 1 to 2 inches of space at the top because I knew it would explode later after the second fermentation. I then added my flavorings. I made half of my brew “blueberry-ginger” and the other half “strawberry-lemon”.
Blueberry-Ginger (per 16 oz.):
- 3 tbsp. blueberry puree
- 1 tsp. ginger, grated
Strawberry-Lemon (per 16 oz.):
- 3 tbsp. strawberry puree
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
After my flavorings and kombucha were in the bottles, I clamped down the cap, put them in a box, covered it with a towel and put them in the bottom of the pantry. I left them here for 4 days.
Here’s where things get wild, y’all. After the second fermentation, I obviously wanted to try my kombucha. I wasn’t into the idea of having my fruit bits floating around in my kombucha so I decided to strain the kombucha and re-bottle. Oh. My. Goodness. It EXPLODED. The first bottle was the only one that “volcanoed” out of the bottle (It shot out so fast that I still have no idea where the strawberry puree went) but there was some overflow for the others.
I strained my kombucha, and put them back in the bottles. I was actually super surprised with how amazing it was. I’m so excited about the flavors I made and can’t wait to try more flavors on my list!
You guys. If I can do this, anyone can do this. I highly encourage you to try making your own kombucha some time! You’ll be surprised at how great it is! And maybe it’s just me, but I feel like everything tastes better when you put your hard work and love into it. ; )
What kombucha flavors do you think I should try next??
** I did receive this kombucha kit in exchange for a blog post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**