There was a fair amount of preparation involved before beginning my first brew. I had done weeks of internet research and even read a small book about home kombucha home brewing before I felt confident enough to begin my first batch. It was exciting and unbelievable that I could make something so tasty so easily. I had always imagined carbonated beverages as having to go through a complex production. The fascinating thing about kombucha is that all of the ingredients do everything for you. It was almost like magic and I had to see it for myself. If you are thinking about making your first brew, I can assure you that you have nothing to worry about and everything is as simple as it seems.
I would say that the most important thing to remember when making your brew is to buy the highest quality of ingredients. This is going to make a major difference in the taste of your final product. Having tasted the first brew, I can say that both of these ingredients made a very tasty product.
Below are two lists: one is the equipment and the other is the ingredients we used. I hope this takes the mystery out of making kombucha. The equipment and ingredient list will give you everything you need to have a 1 gallon home brew.
Home brew kit equipment:
- 8 ounce funnel to fill your bottles
- Fine mesh strainer to strain your tea leaves
- Fermentation jar (If you don’t use the jar from the link, ensure you use something that is made for fermentation. Kombucha is acidic and can leach chemicals from certain containers.)
- 6-16 ounce glass bottles
- Measuring cups,
- 8 quart stainless steel pot
- A gallon sized or larger pot or container
- Large spoon
- Food thermometer
- Long straw (I used a 7-11 slurpee straw)
- Rubber band
- Cotton cloth to cover your fermentation jar (I used an old cotton t-shirt).
Home brew ingredients (lay-out in appropriate portions before you begin brewing):
- 14 cups of purified water
- 8 tablespoons of organic loose leaf black tea
- 1 cup organic sugar
- 2 cups starter tea (I used “The Original” Healthade. You can use any brand, just make sure that it is unflavored and raw. This will ensure all of the introduced bacteria cultures are alive.)
Now it’s time to brew!
Here are the instructions:
- Boil 6 cups of water (212 °F)
- Remove water from heat and add 8 tablespoons of black tea
- Stir well
- Allow tea to stay in hot water (steep) for 4 minutes
- Pour tea through fine mesh strainer into gallon sized pot or container
- Add 1 cup sugar to brewed tea
- Add 8 cups of water to brewed tea
- Stir mixture
- Allow tea to cool to room temperature (my room has been around 80 °F and it’s worked perfectly)
- Pour tea mixture into fermentation jar
- Lay SCOBY on top of tea mixture (leave at least an inch of space below the rim of the fermentation jar)
- Cover jar with rubber band and cotton cloth
- Place your jar in a warm location (mid to high 70s °F) out of direct sunlight for 7-14 days
- At the 7 day mark, slide your straw down the side of the fermentation jar to taste your kombucha. If too sweet, let it ferment longer. If too vinegary, it fermented too long for your preference and there is no going back. If it tastes just right, the fermentation is complete.
- Remove SCOBY and place on a dinner plate bathed in kombucha
- Pour 2 cups of your fresh kombucha into a seperate container for you to use as your next starter batch (I start the next batch immediately, but the tea can be preserved in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.)
- Pour kombucha from fermentation jar 3 cups at a time into a spouted measuring cup (to make pouring clean and easy).
- Add juices to glass bottles to flavor your kombucha (if desired)
- Pour kombucha into bottles using your funnel and the fine mesh strainer
- Seal the bottle cap
- Allow bottles to sit for 3 days at room temperature
- Place bottles in the refrigerator for 6 hours
That’s it everybody. That’s all there is to it. I’m sure I will learn more sophisticated methods as time goes on, but I will tell you that my first batch was amazing and I used the process I just described. I’m confident that if you follow those steps, you will also have a great tasting kombucha.