Healthy, Probiotic, Homemade Kombucha that you can make at home.

You have probably heard that adding probiotics to your diet is important for your health. If you look for probiotics in the pharmacy section of your big box store, you will find a myriad of ways to add them to your diet. But what if I told you that making a few simple changes in your food choices is all you really need to do? Kombucha is easy to make at home and once you have it going, it costs very little to maintain providing you health benefits for years to come.

Swing top bottles filled with kombuch

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented beverage that has been drank for thousands of years. It is made from black or green tea and contains probiotics that are beneficial to your gut microbiome. By using a “starter tea” and a small piece of SCOBY you can grow and maintain your tea as long as you give it some basic maintenance which includes doing a two phase fermentation.

What is a SCOBY?

SCOBY is an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast” and it is the part of the process that starts the fermentation process. Studies have shown that consuming fermented foods is a great way to improve your gut health and your digestive system. Having a healthy gut is key to overall health and well being

Health Benefits of Kombucha

Along with containing beneficial probiotics, Kombucha contains anti-oxidants that help fight free radicals in your body. It can kill harmful bacteria when ingested regularly, and may help fight diseases. During the second ferment you can add fruits, herbs, and roots that will impart other health benefits. For example, I like to add dried elderberries, rose hips and ginger root.

Materials and Ingredients Needed

You will need a gallon vessel that is made of glass. Ceramic can be used but make sure it is food safe. There are many varieties available and it is a personal preference. No one type is better than the next. I personally went with the least expensive option and have been using the same two jars for several years.

A tea towel and some rubber bands to secure the top. You don’t want to use a towel that has any pill to it that may fall into the tea. A nice cotton tea towel, flour sack towel or linen towel is perfect. It needs to be breathable yet still keep out any flying insects.

Ingredients to make the tea include :

8 bags Organic Black or Green Tea

16 Cups Total Filtered water : 8 Cups ( to boil) and another 8 Cups cool/cold water

1 Cup Sugar ( there is very little sugar left in the tea as the SCOBY uses it as food)

1 Scoby

2 Cups starter tea

That’s it! You’re ready to ferment!

Steps To Brewing Kombucha – First Fermentation

Step 1

Boil 8 cups of filtered water and then dissolve 1 cup cane sugar. You cannot use honey, molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, stevia, etc . The bacteria and yeast need cane sugar to eat and reproduce. And don’t use less sugar because it will starve your scoby. Once sugar is dissolved, add the 8 tea bags of organic black ( or green) tea. Steep for 15 minutes and remove bags from water. Do not squeeze the bags of tea. This imparts a bitterness to the tea that can change the flavor. Let tea cool completely to 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit before moving to next step. Temperature is important, if it is too cold your SCOBY will be dormant and not reproduce and if it is too hot it will die.

Step 2

Once the temperature is correct, add 2 cups of starter tea from the previous batch of kombucha and the SCOBY. Cover it with a tight woven cloth such as a tea towel and use rubber bands to secure. It needs air flow so don’t use an airtight lid. However, it does need to keep dust and fruit flies out.

Step 3

Let it sit on your counter out of direct sunlight for a few days. Leave it alone, no poking or moving around too much. I leave it about a week because my kitchen is always cold. After about 5 days you can take a little taste of it and check the “doneness” of it. It will get progressively sour as it uses up all the sugar. If you leave it too long it tastes like vinegar, so as you repeat the process you will get the hang of how sweet you like it.

Second Ferment Fun and Flavoring

This is the fun part. During the second ferment you want to add a teaspoon of sugar to each bottle along with your flavorings. I add a teaspoon of dried elderberries, a rose hip, and a small piece of raw ginger (about the size of a dime). After bottling, leave it on the counter for another 2-4 days (depending on the temperature of your house) to create carbonation. Put into refrigerator until ready to drink. Until you get the hang of it, I suggest opening your bottles over the sink so it doesn’t spray all over! Then use a small mesh strainer and pour contents into regular drinking glass. Enjoy!

Make sure you replenish your SCOBY tea at the same time you bottle for second ferment to keep the process going!

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