Folks are always asking me, “What can I drink besides water?!” I know they’re hoping I’ll present them with a recipe for diet soda that’s homemade and somehow magically healthful for them, but unfortunately that doesn’t quite exist. LOL! So why not try some Kombucha!! It’s a fermented tea – full of healthful probiotics. Pretty much the opposite of soda pop! 🙂
You can buy it at the store, but it costs about 4 bucks per bottle!!! So we save $$ and make our own!!!
The steps of this recipe are organized with the assumption that you have in your possession some Kombucha starter culture(s), called SCOBY – “Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast.”
My hubby Chad makes 6 half-gallon jars at a time, so you’ll need to divide this recipe by about 6 if you want to make just one jar. Each jar nets you about 5 cups to drink when all is said and done. (Click any pictures to enlarge.)
*6 kombucha starter cultures (“SCOBY”)
*6 cups kombucha (store-bought or from previous batch)
*3 cups organic cane sugar
*20 green tea bags – we prefer the taste of Whole Foods’ 365 brand OR Uncle Lee’s Organic Green Tea from Walmart)
*6 Liters water
*1/2 -1 Liter ice
Bring 6 liters of water to a rolling boil in a large stock pan. Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Steep for 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, place each SCOBY in a half-gallon jar. Add 1 cup of pre-made Kombucha (from a friend or the store – – for each following batch, you can use some of your own!) to each SCOBY/jar. This is done to acidify (lower the pH of) the new solution right away, which will prevent most molds and pathogenic bacteria from growing in it.
After 10-12 minutes, remove tea bags from the water (feel free to compost these!). Add 3 cups cane sugar and stir until dissolved.
Add ice and allow tea to cool completely.
Divide the sweetened tea into the 6 SCOBY jars. Cover each jar with a coffee filter, fastened with a rubber band. This will allow air to escape without allowing fruit flies in!
Store in a warm, dark place for about 1 week. We store ours in the cupboard above our fridge.
After 5-7 days, taste your Kombucha to see if you think it’s ready to drink.
When the Kombucha is ready (according to your taste), proceed with the following steps….
You’ll need to strain the SCOBY out of each jar, so set a fine mesh strainer atop a large container (our blender pitcher works great for this). If you don’t have a fine mesh strainer, any strainer lined with a paper towel will work just fine. Cheesecloth would likely work, as well.
Pour the kombucha through the strainer. If necessary, use your finger to keep the SCOBY from falling out of the jar.
Rinse the SCOBY to remove any “gunk” from it.
Divide the SCOBY if necessary. See video demonstration…
NOTE: The extra SCOBY can be composted or given to friends (along with 1 cup of your Kombucha if you’re feeling extra generous)….or you can save it in the fridge (with enough Kombucha to cover it) so you can increase the number of jars you’ll be able make next time!
Return the SCOBY to a half-gallon jar and add 1 cup of your finished Kombucha.
Transfer remaining finished Kombucha to storage or drinking containers/jars.
BE SURE TO STORE FINISHED KOMBUCHA IN THE FRIDGE to halt the fermentation process!
At this point, you can store your SCOBY in the fridge (with enough Kombucha to cover it) or make more right away (like we do) by starting over with the steps at the top of this page.
Chad drinks quite a bit of Kombucha, so we make this much once/week! It may take a while to get a feel for how often you’d like to make it for your own use and to figure out how many jars you’d like to make at a time.
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If you have any tips/suggestions about our recipe, please leave us a comment below. Just because we make our own kombucha, doesn’t mean we have it all figured out. ; )
I also make Kombucha and I like to see how others do it! I have never heard of rinsing the scoby before…do you have filtered water?
Thanks for your video!
Glad you enjoyed. No, we do not currently have filtered water but it doesn’t seem to be harming the SCOBY….
That is awesome!! The scobys look very healthy and thick..mine is not that way yet. I had been using raw sugar and switched to yucky white sugar hoping to make it thicker…it did seem to help….
Do you have city water? I do so there is chlorine in it but no fluoride. I just bought I pitcher filter to help with the chlorine.
is there an alternative to the sugar that u use for kombucha?
The only other sweetener we’ve tried is honey. Pretty sure we just used the same amount but it was a long time ago. Sugar is cheaper so the hubby just uses that. You’d have to Google for more info on your question. Sorry….
I had a “honey SCOBY” given to me. I wasn’t happy with the taste (too vinegar like) so I didn’t continue to use it. Supposedly there are SCOBY specific to honey but you can switch them over to sugar. The amount of honey was the same amount as sugar.
you can use all kinds of sugar sources – http://goo.gl/FmGHG
Thanks for the step by step. I too like to see/hear how others are doing this. I make about 2 gallons at a time but I don’t drink nearly as much as Chad. I allow mine to sit for about 3-4 weeks before bottling. I use bottles with the swing type of corks. I then allow the bottles to sit on the counter for a couple of days before putting in the fridge. Sometimes I add a bit of fruit to the bottles before “corking” them. If I don’t add fruit then I add it when I’m drinking it. I like kiwi because when really ripe it “mushes” up easily. Sometimes I add a bit of stevia if my fruit is tart. Is your kombucha getting bubbly? Sometimes I have success that way and sometimes not.
Chad said it used to be bubbly, but lately it has not been. Not sure why…If you like fizz, i suppose you could add a little sparkling water right before drinking?
Storing the SCOBYs in the fridge will lead to flat Kombucha – http://goo.gl/01ORr
the other possibility is the washing off of the “slime” which is actually the yeast and is responsible for the carbonation. you want some but not too much. I would stop washing off the SCOBY between batches.
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I wonder if I could still make kombucha with our well water.We have well water with a high iron content?
Hmm…I’m not sure..
sure – some well water have bacteria that can contribute to an off smell so watch out for changes over time
I’ve always heard you should not ever use chlorinated water near your scoby, boiling will get rid of chlorination. I wondering why you rinse your scoby I never do. I am thinking that it is unnecessary and potentially damaging to the scoby, to do so. I also never strain the booch, I just fish the scoby out and rebottle with fruit, juice and usually ginger.
yes chlorine is bad for it and rinsing is not only unnecessary but potentially harmful to the SCOBY
I have made kombucha successfully with honey, but I’ve heard that over time the antifungal properties of the honey can overtake the SCOBY. Also, just want to mention that most beet sugar is GMO. If you plan to use white, you should buy cane sugar. I use rapidura (more expensive) and it works fine, but the SCOBY is a lot darker.
I’ve heard that as well about the honey, but I’m not sure. We’ve done it before but not long-term. Yes, we avoid beet sugar and use organic cane sugar. thx 🙂
is there a way to make kombucha without the caffeinated teas?
Just follow the same steps using a decaff tea 🙂
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