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How to Make Kombucha Tea at Home

Kombucha Article Header

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage brewed since ancient times. Although the exact origins are relatively unknown, the process has remained unchanged. A Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) ferments a sweet tea mixture to produce a refreshing, yet tart, tea beverage. Recently, Kombucha has become very popular as a healthy and refreshing beverage.

Kombucha can be made from a variety of different tea blends and can be flavored with fruit, herbs, and spices. It can even be carbonated. The best part is, you can brew kombucha at home very easily.

In this article, we’ll walk through how to brew kombucha at home in a one gallon batch. While much of the process will utilize basic tools from your kitchen, there is some specialized equipment that is needed. Northern Brewer sells a complete Kombucha brewing starter kit that includes what you need, but if you’ve made beer or wine, you may have a few of these things already.

EQUIPMENT INCLUDED IN OUR 1 GALLON KOMBUCHA STARTER KIT
• Fermenter 
• Funnel
• Butter muslin
• Rubber band
• Adhesive thermometer
• Tea ball
• SCOBY Symbiotic culture of bacteria & yeast
• Loose-leaf tea
• Raw cane sugar
• pH strips
• Testing pipette

ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED
• Small kitchen pot
• Stirring utensil
• Scissors
• Ladle
• 1 - Tbsp measuring spoon
• 1 - cup measuring cup
• Kitchen spoon
• 1 Gallon of clean quality water *we
Recommend either filtered or bottle
water for best results*

Let’s get started following the steps below:

1. Add 2 Tbsp of the loose leaf tea to the tea ball.

2. Add 1 quart of water to your pot and bring to a boil. When a boil is reached, turn
off the burner.

3. Place the tea ball into the water and steep for 6 minutes. Remove the tea ball.

4. Add 1 cup of raw cane sugar into the hot water and stir until dissolved.

5. Cover the sweet tea mixture and let cool for 10 minutes. While the sweet tea is cooling, add the remaining 3 quarts of water to the fermenter. After sweet tea mixture has cooled, mix into the fermenter.

6. Cut open the plastic pouch containing the SCOBY and the starter liquid. Without touching the contents pour the liquid AND the SCOBY into the fermenter.

7. Using the pipette, remove a small amount of liquid from the fermenter and test the pH using the provided pH test strips. If the pH is 4.5 or below, move to step 8. If the pH is over 4.5, stir in 1 Tbsp of distilled white vinegar and test again until 4.5 or below.

8. Cover the fermenter with two layers of the provided butter muslin. Cut a section that is large enough to cover the opening of the fermenter while folded over in a double layer. The remaining muslin can be used for future batches. This allows plenty of airflow during fermentation, while also keeping out pests, such as fruit flies. Secure the muslin over the fermenter opening with the rubber band.

9. Place the fermenter in a warm location, out of direct sunlight. Anywhere between 72° - 80° F is ideal. Allow the fermentor to sit undisturbed for 7 days.

10. Around Day 7, you will see a new SCOBY grow to cover the surface of the liquid. This is normal and indicates healthy growth of the culture.

Using the pipette, while trying not to disturb the SCOBY, draw a tasting sample near the side of the fermenter. If the tea tastes too sweet, allow the kombucha to ferment longer. The flavor should have some tartness to it, but the balance between sweet and tart is a matter of personal taste. Repeat daily until the desired flavor is reached.

11. Use your pipette, remove a small amount of liquid to test the pH. Verify your Kombucha is within the ideal range of 2.5 to 3.5 pH.

12. Once your first batch of kombucha reaches your preferred flavor it is time to bottle or transfer into a serving vessel. Using the funnel and ladle or measuring cup, spoon kombucha from the fermenter and add to bottles or serving vessel. Leave roughly 2 cups of kombucha in the fermenter with the SCOBY. This liquid will keep the SCOBY alive and act as the starter liquid for your next batch.

ADDITIONAL TIPS:

• If you would like to create another batch of Kombucha (this kit includes enough cane sugar and tea for a second batch), start at step one and add to fermenter with starter liquid and SCOBY. Find our original recipes and refill kits at https://www.northernbrewer.com/collections/kombucha-brewing

• As long as the SCOBY is kept in a sufficient supply of starter liquid, your SCOBY will last for many future batches. Keep the fermenter covered with muslin between batches.

• Herbal or flavored teas are not recommended as they often lack the nutrients necessary for healthy fermentation. Some may even contain flavors that are harmful to the yeast or bacteria culture. Black Tea (and it’s derivatives: Green, White, etc) is the best choice.

Northern Brewer
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