DIY Homebrewed Kombucha
For over 2,000 years, kombucha has been hailed as an “immortal health elixir” described as improving health for your heart, brain and gut. Probiotics (or healthy bacteria) created during kombucha’s fermentation process line your digestive tract to help support the immune system and fight infection.
Crafting this healthy brew at home is easy and fun with the right equipment and a couple tips from a local pro at Kombucha Town.
DIY Kombucha Brewing
- Quart-sized glass jar
- Plastic or wood spoon
- Paper coffee filter or breathable fabric
- Rubber band or canning lid ring
- 2-3 cups unfluoridated, unchlorinated hot water
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 black tea bags
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- Active kombucha SCOBY
Combine hot water and sugar in glass jar and stir until the sugar dissolves. It should be hot enough to steep a tea bag but not boiling. Add tea bags to sugar-water to steep.
Cool mixture to 68-85°F. Remove tea bags and add your active kombucha SCOBY. Cover jar with a coffee filter or tight weave, breathable fabric and secure with rubber band.
Allow mixture to ferment undisturbed at 68-85°F away from direct sunlight for 7-30 days (or to taste). The longer you wait, the less sweet and more vinegary the kombucha will be.
To enjoy, pour kombucha off the top and leave the SCOBY and enough liquid to use as starter tea for the next batch. Pour into bottles and refrigerate if desired.
Tips for getting a SCOBY
(a.k.a. symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast)
The SCOBY or “mother” is the flabby, pancake-looking blob that is needed to make any kombucha batch. There are essentially three ways to get your hands on one for your homebrew kombucha.
Get one from a friend
Know a fellow kombucha brewer? Most people making kombucha have more than enough to share. Or check if there’s a fermenting group in your area.
Order a kombucha tea starter culture
There are many options available online. The SCOBY is shipped in a dehydrated state.
Grow one from raw kombucha tea
- Purchase a bottle of raw, unflavored kombucha to grow your SCOBY.
- Make 1 cup of black tea, mix in 1-2 Tbsp of white sugar and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Pour raw kombucha and cooled tea into a glass jar. Cover with a paper coffee filter and secure with rubber band.
- Allow mixture to ferment in a warm spot away from direct sunlight for about 7 days. A baby SCOBY should begin to develop on the surface. Allow your SCOBY to grow to about 1/4″ thick before brewing your first batch of kombucha. If there’s no sign of a SCOBY after 3 weeks, discard and try again.
Homebrew Tips from Chris McCoy of Kombucha Town
Start with black tea
Black, oolong, green or white teas are all capable of fermenting into kombucha but black tea is the easiest to start with. Brew a few black tea batches to strengthen your SCOBY before trying other teas.
Keep it simple
Get the basics down before you start getting creative with flavors. You’ll want to master your technique and then you can think about experimenting with different concoctions.
Chris McCoy began experimenting with kombucha brewing as a student at Western Washington University. He noticed his overall health improving after consistently drinking the fermented beverage and decided he wanted to share the health benefits of this time-honored elixir by opening his own brewery. McCoy opened up Kombucha Town in Bellingham, Washington in September of 2011 which now operates out of the historic Herald Building in downtown Bellingham.
As the first grocery retailer to sell Kombucha Town products, you can still find all six of their varieties at your local Haggen store including unique flavors like Cascadian Hops which is brewed with dry-hops for a more grownup approach to kombucha, and Guayusa Mint which is brewed with guayusa, a high-caffeinated plant, to add a punch of energy to your hydration.