Fermented foods/drinks are beneficial for our digestive systems and overall health. However, spending $3, $4, and even $5 for a bottle of kombucha does not fit into everyone’s budget.
Luckily you can make your own kombucha at home for much cheaper than sold in stores.
Today, I am going to show you a basic kombucha recipe we make all the time. Along with the recipe, I will show you a couple of ways to add flavor that I’ve already experimented with on my family. 😉
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a delicious organic black tea that has undergone a fermentation process to produce a probiotic drink.
Accomplishing this is due to a formation of the right bacteria and yeast, mixed with sugar. This fermentation creates carbonation and contains vinegar, b-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, and a high concentration of acid which adds various health benefits that we will talk about next.
Also, it is important to note that kombucha does have alcohol content. Many people want to know how much alcohol kombucha has, but there are only trace amounts created during fermentation; roughly 1% is alcohol.
Benefits of Kombucha Tea
Can you make a cup of sweet tea? Yeah, perfect! You will be a master at making kombucha. Truly it is that simple.
What is the biggest benefit? Health and a very close second are all the dollar bills you save! For example,
- Assistance with Digestion
- Added Energy
- Detox and Cleansing Properties
- Support of Immune System
- Joint Pain Reduced
- Assistance with Weight-Loss
- Cancer Prevention
Brewing kombucha requires following a few simple guidelines to ensure the best quality of your beverage.
- Always use glass, never plastic or ceramic containers; the fermented drink will pull toxins from those surfaces.
- Use organic black tea without fruit or oils
- Use organic evaporated cane sugar
- Use spring or filtered, not tap water
Let’s get started.
Basic Kombucha Recipe
Our simple-and-easy recipe is for anyone to follow along and make their kombucha with a breeze.
Ingredients for 1 gallon:
1/2 -2 cups of starter (kombucha the last batch)
1 cup organic evaporated cane sugar
2 tablespoons (or 4 bags) organic tea
1 gallon filtered or spring water (no fluoride or chlorine, at all)
- Using my 3-quart pot, I fill it 3/4 full of water Any stainless steel pot will do. Do not use tap water, the fluoride and chlorine will kill your SCOBY. Bring water to a boil then remove from heat. Add one cup of organic cane sugar then stir to dissolve. Add 2 tablespoons of organic black or green tea. Let steep until liquid is room temperature.
- In a gallon glass jar add scoby and starter. Strain in the cooled sweet tea. Add additional water until it reaches the shoulder of the jar. Using a black sharpie write down the date and type of tea. It can be washed off with hot soapy water.
- Cover jar with a cloth and secure rubber band around the top to keep dust and bugs from falling in. Set the jar on your counter away from a heat source (such as under-cabinet lights or ovens), microwave or direct sun light. It is ideal that the temperature is between 65 -75 degrees. It is not unusual when you first start brewing for the scoby to be on the bottom or its side. It will eventually rise to the top.
- After seven days start tasting the liquid to find the flavor you like best. A shorter brew will result in a lighter flavor that is higher in sugar. A longer brew will result in a stronger flavor. Typically between 7 to 12 days is preferred, depending on the temperature in your kitchen.
- When you feel the kombucha is perfect, pour it through a funnel in glass jars or bottles. A tight seal will aid in producing carbonation to get a “fizz.”
- Refrigerate immediately.
Do you need a kit to get started? We already put all of the supplies you’ll need in a simple package!
Potential Kombucha Side-Effects
If you are new to kombucha, start off by consuming about 4 to 6 ounces per day. See how your body responds. Drinking kombucha helps to detoxify our system. When I made my first batch, I thought it tasted soo good, and I drank several large glasses in a short period. The result, a temporary stomach ache and I spent lots of time in the bathroom.
Are you sensitive to acidic foods? In a small percentage of people, kombucha can upset digestive problems of individuals that suffer from stomach ulcers, acid reflux, heart burn, or other sensitivities to overly acidic foods
What to do after brewing Kombucha?
After brewing your first batch, leave the scoby and about one cup of kombucha in the bottom of the jar. Keep the jar covered at all times. At this point, you can let the jar sit on your counter until you are ready to make more kombucha or start another batch. There is no need to wash the gallon jar each time; it has populated the container with live micros. The jar is like an ecosystem of its own.
Scoby stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. This scoby is what transforms the sweet tea to a delicious, energizing, immune boosting and cleansing beverage, known as kombucha. Each time you brew a batch of kombucha the scoby will continue to grow. The scoby is sometimes referred to as the “mother” since it produces versions of itself. You might notice a clear film on the top; this is the beginning of a new scoby. Eventually, your scoby will look like stacked pancakes. They will get thicker and thicker. The newest scoby is on top. The more space they take up, the less beverage you have. To remove some just peel them off the bottom. You can use one to start another gallon. I have five gallons in rotation with different types of tea. You could share with a friend, keep one for a spare or compost them.
The color of the scoby will vary from white to dark brown. The darker, the older. Sometimes a scoby will be smooth, other times bumpy. In your jar you might see brown hanging from your scoby, that is normal it is just yeast. When I pour my finished kombucha into flip-top flip bottles, I strain the liquid. Straining your kombucha is not necessary, just a personal preference for my family.
Can You Use Sweeteners other than Sugar?
Many people are trying to reduce the amount of sugar they consume and want other options besides using sugar. Can you do it? The short answer is no.
The sugar is for the scoby to break-down, not you. The beverage you end up with tastes nothing like the sweet tea that started the process.
However, there is a Jun scoby that requires honey instead of sugar. But know that the cost will be higher because you will be using a cup of honey per gallon.
Wondering What the Best Tea to use is?
Always use organic tea to avoid high concentrations of fluoride. It is best to use black tea at least occasionally for the full spectrum of mineral provided to your scoby. Jasmine is the best green tea choice. Make sure the tea hasn’t been processed in any way and is oil-free. Herbal tea will not support the health of the scoby in the long term. A great option to incorporating herbal tea is to add one teaspoon with the 2 tablespoons black or green tea when you first brew your tea. By using the black or green tea with the herbal, you will get the medicinal benefits.
Using different types of tea will change the flavor of your kombucha. MountainRoseHerbs.com is where I purchase my tea. The following are both organic and fair trade: Darjeeling, Assam, Ceylon, English Breakfast and Jasmine (is a green tea).
What does a “second ferment” mean?
When you have finished brewing your kombucha, and the flavor is delicious, you can bottle then refrigerate or do a “second ferment.” This can be as simple as adding some organic fruit juice close tightly and allow to sit for no more than 3 days on the counter. Be careful of explosions; pressure will build up. Usually, I don’t go longer than 1 or 2 days. Using flip-top bottles helps to achieve a fizzy beverage. Another option is to add fresh fruit. A great combination is adding some strawberries and a half of a banana. Delicious!
If you have a sulfate or candida condition, you may want to address that before adding any ferments to your diet. Consult with a health care professional for personalized advice