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How to Make Kombucha – A Beginner’s Guide


How to Make Kombucha - A Beginner's Guide | deliciousobsessions.com Follow Me on Pinterest

I have wanted to write this post for quite some time, but things just keep getting in the way. I’ve had a lot of requests over the last couple months about writing about kombucha and I really hope this post helps anyone who is interested in starting to brew their own kombucha.

I wrote about this fermented beverage back in January and covered a lot of the health benefits and history of kombucha, so I’m not going to go into that in this post. You can check out this post from my affiliate partner, Kombucha Kamp, for more in-depth reading about kombucha health benefits. But, just as a reminder, SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. Like kefir and other fermented/cultured foods, kombucha is a great source of beneficial bacteria that help heal and maintain our gut. I always say, if you’re gut’s not healthy, then you’re not healthy.

Brewing kombucha is SO easy! It can be intimidating at first, but let me tell you – there is no reason to be intimidated. It’s simple and FUN! I love brewing it now and I wish I had started brewing it earlier in my life. I think about all the money I could have saved. So, let’s get started.

Supplies Needed For Brewing Your Own Kombucha

Supplies Needed for Brewing Kombucha Tea At Home Follow Me on Pinterest

Supplies needed for brewing kombucha tea at home

  • 2 non-leaded glass jars (You can also use stainless steel or oak containers, but I personally prefer glass)
  • 1 plastic funnel (for bottling)
  • Organic black tea (I use loose tea, but bags work too)
  • Plastic strainer or infuser (if you’re using tea leaves instead of bags)
  • Organic sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Healthy SCOBY (you can buy these online (affiliate link) but it’s most fun if you can find a family member or friend who has an extra)
  • Filtered water (or tap water that has been boiled to remove chlorine)
  • Tea towel, a t-shirt, or some other clean cloth with a super tight weave
  • Rubber bands (big enough to go around the jar)
  • Bottles with tight lids (you can use recycled if you like. I have a bunch of Grolsch bottles and flip-top bottles that I found at Sur la Table.)

Optional:

  • Glass measuring cup (for bottling)
  • Extra glass jar for collecting SCOBYs
  • Fruit (fresh, frozen, or dried) or juice of your choice for flavoring

Brewing Your First Batch

OK – Now that you have gathered your supplies, it’s time to brew your first batch. Getting started is so easy. First, here are two important things to remember before you start:

1. First and foremost, DO NOT wash any of your kombucha brewing supplies with soap!!!!!!!! Soap will kill the bacteria and yeasts in the SCOBY and will render it useless. To sanitize your supplies, you can use hot water and then rinse thoroughly with white vinegar. Be careful when washing your glass items with hot water to avoid breaking. I boil mine in water and I have had no problems so far (knock on wood) with boiling my bottles and jars, but please do use extreme caution if you choose to do this. Just because I haven’t had any problems doesn’t mean accidents can’t happen.

2. Don’t use tap water – the chlorine will kill the SCOBY.

Now, time to start your brew (this recipe is for 1 gallon).

1. Brew your first batch of black tea. You will need:

3-4 quarts filtered water

1 cup organic sugar

¼ cup black tea leaves or 6-8 tea bags (This makes a pretty strong tea – if you want a weaker batch, you can use less tea. Play with it until you find what works for you)

1 cup of distilled vinegar (unless you have some starter liquid from another batch)

1 SCOBY

Healthy Kombucha tea SCOBY, also called a mushroom Follow Me on Pinterest

Healthy Kombucha tea SCOBY, also called a mushroom

2. Heat 1 quart of water. Place your tea in your brewing vessel and add the hot water. Brew your tea for about 10 minutes and then remove the tea bags or leaves. Add your sugar and stir or swirl around until dissolved. Add 2 more quarts of cold, filtered water and test the temperature. You need the mixture to be room temperature. NEVER add your SCOBY to water that is too hot. It will kill it!

3. Once the liquid has cooled, you can now add your SCOBY. But first, you need to sanitize your hands. That way any bad bacteria that might be on your hands will not be transferred to the SCOBY. To do this, rinse your hands in distilled vinegar and shake off (I don’t dry them because I don’t want to risk contaminating them). Now, you can handle your SCOBY.

4. Take the SCOBY and place in your brewing vessel with the cooled tea and sugar mixture. Pour 1 cup of the starter liquid (or vinegar) in and fill the rest with filtered water, leaving an inch or two at the top.

5. Cover with your tight weaved cloth and secure with a rubber band. Move to a warm, quiet place where it won’t be disturbed. Now it’s time to let the SCOBY work its magic. I know it’s hard, but you have to walk away and leave it alone. Don’t mess with the vessel during the initial brewing period.

6. Typically brewing time is 7-14 days. The amount of time depends a lot on the temperature of your house and the taste that you prefer. After 7 days, take a straw and taste a little of the kombucha. If it’s too sweet, then you need to let it go longer. If it tastes vinegary or tart, you can reduce the brewing time next time. It’s important to remember that it will take a few batches for your SCOBY to get up and running at full strength. So, don’t get discouraged if your first couple batches don’t taste quite right.

Bottling Your First Batch

Now comes the fun part! Once your kombucha has reached a flavor that satisfies you, you can either drink it as is, or you can bottle it up with some flavorings and do a second fermentation.

First, let’s gather the supplies you need for this process.

  • Sanitized glass bottles with tight lids
  • Glass scoop (optional – you can pour the kombucha, but depending on your bottles, it might go everywhere if you pour it)
  • Plastic funnel
  • Fruit or juice of your choice – you can use fresh or frozen fruit
  • Your other brewing vessel or clean dish for your SCOBY
kombucha tea, bottling kombucha, flavoring kombucha tea Follow Me on Pinterest

Bottles prepped and ready for kombucha tea to be added

1. Sanitize your hands with the vinegar

2. Remove the SCOBYs from the brewed kombucha and set aside. You should have two SCOBYs now – your original one and the new one that formed during this brew.

3. Reserve 1 cup of brewed kombucha as your starter liquid for your next batch.

4. Place any fruit or flavorings directly in your jars (see “recipes” below)

5. Insert your funnel into your jar(s) and pour or scoop the brewed kombucha in. Fill your jars to the top for increased carbonation. The flip-top bottles seem to yield much fizzier results than any other style bottle that I’ve tried.

6. Put the tops on and place in a dark, warm place where they can ferment undisturbed for 3-5 days. If you fill your bottles super full, you will need to burp them daily to help release some of the carbonation. I’ve read of people whose bottles have exploded and injured them, though this has never happened to me. Just use caution with this step. I store mine in my pantry in a cardboard box with a towel over it, just in case.

7. Once the second fermentation time is done, move the bottles to the fridge to slow down the fermentation and build up of carbonation.

8. Drink and enjoy!

Kombucha Recipes

There are no firm recipes or rules when it comes to flavoring kombucha. You can use any fruit (fresh, frozen, or dried) or fruit juice that you’d like. For my 20 ounce bottles, I typically use around 2 tablespoons of fruit juice and/or about an 1/8th of a cup of fresh or dried fruit. I really never measure it out, so the “recipes” are just general guidelines. To increase fermentation and fizziness, you can add a pinch of sugar into the bottle before the second fermentation.

Note: Anytime I use fruit, I mash it up, which no only helps it fit in the bottle, but also helps it release more flavor during fermentation.

kombucha, kombucha tea, bottle kombucha, flavored kombucha Follow Me on Pinterest

Kombucha tea bottled and ready for second ferment

These are just a few of my favorite combinations:

  • Lemon Ginger – 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon fresh diced or grated ginger
  • Strawberry Lemonade – 1/8th cup fresh or frozen strawberries, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Mixed Berry – 4 blueberries, 4 blackberries, 4 raspberries
  • Strawberry Grapefruit – 2 strawberries, 1-2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
  • Strawberry Blueberry – 2 strawberries, 4-6 blueberries
  • Fizzy Lemonade – 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Orangeade – 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Fruit Punch – 1 orange slice, 1 strawberry, 1 blackberry, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, pinch of sugar

You really can use any combination of fruit you want. You can also use herbs and flowers to flavor your kombucha, though hubby and I haven’t branched off in that direction yet, as we are still hooked on the fruit flavors. Want some more recipes? Check out these kombucha recipes from my affliate partner, Kombucha Kamp.

You’ve Bottled Your First Batch – Now What?

Once you have your bottles prepared and stored, you can start another batch of kombucha. Simply repeat the steps above for “Brewing Your First Batch”. So far, I brew about two to three gallons per month. My rotation seems to work pretty well. It’s just two of us drinking it, so any more than that, and I’d run out of bottles and space to store!

The key to kombucha is to HAVE FUN! It’s pretty difficult to “mess it up” if you just follow the guidelines in this post. Just remember a few important things:

  1. Never use soap on any of your brewing equipment.
  2. Never use tap water – chlorine kills the SCOBY.
  3. Always sanitize your equipment and hands with hot water and/or white vinegar.
  4. Always reserve 1-2 cups of brewed kombucha for your starter liquid in a new batch.
  5. NEVER put your SCOBY in water that is too hot! Wait for your liquid to cool to room temperature.
  6. Don’t disturb your brewing vessel during the first 7 days of brewing.

Wait! I Have All These SCOBYs! What Do I Do?

Scoby Hotel for extra kombucha tea SCOBYs Follow Me on Pinterest

Scoby Hotel for extra kombucha tea SCOBYs

One thing you will notice after awhile is that you will have SCOBYs building up. For each batch that you brew, you will create a new SCOBY. There are several things you can do with them.

  1. Share with your friends and family – this is one of the most fascinating things about cultures is that you can share them with others and they travel around the country! For example, mine came from a friend in New Mexico.
  2. Use them for test brews with different types of tea and even coffee. I’ve never brewed with coffee, but I have heard it works well.
  3. Feed them to your dogs. Dogs need beneficial bacteria too. I don’t recommend giving them a ton at a time to start, but a small slice would be a good treat, assuming your dog would eat it. You can pour brewed kombucha on their food. You can also dehydrate them and use them as “rawhide” treats.
  4. Create a SCOBY hotel. I have done this and now I have extras should an emergency arise like mold or fruit fly infestation.
  5. Stick them in your compost.
  6. Blend it up in a food processor and use on your skin. It will increase circulation and help renew and exfoliate skin cells. Your skin might be a little red after the application. Let it sit on your skin for a few minutes and then gently wipe or rinse off. Always test a small section of skin first for sensitivity. You can also just lay the culture on your face.
  7. Use them on wounds, boils, cuts, etc. I have heard of SCOBYs referred to as “living band-aids”. So awesome! Applying strips of the SCOBY to wounds can help spread the healing and prevent infection.

So, are you ready to start brewing your own kombucha tea? I hope that this guide has been helpful and that you will give it a try! I can’t wait to hear your feedback and comments, so tell me what’s on your mind!

If you’re interested in learning about the Continuous Brewing method to make kombucha, check out this post that I wrote.

How to Make Kombucha - A Beginner's Guide // deliciousobsessions.com Follow Me on Pinterest
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About Jessica Espinoza

Jessica is a real food nut, coconut everything enthusiast, avid reader and researcher, blossoming yogi, and animal lover. She has had a life-long passion for food and being in the kitchen is where she is the happiest. Jessica started Delicious Obsessions in 2010 as a way to help share her love for food and cooking. Since then, it has grown into a trusted online resource with a vibrant community of people learning to live healthy, happy lives through real food and natural living.

Discussion

58 comments

  1. Excellent article! I bet your KT is super yum. I love how pretty the fruit looks in the bottles.

    reply 

    Hannah Crum
    Posted 09/20/11

    • Hannah – THANK YOU for the kudos! Coming from you, Miss Kombucha Brewin’ Goddess, that means A LOT!!! The KT is awesome – and my hubby drinks more of it than I do, which is a MAJOR accomplishment! :)

      reply 

      Anonymous
      Posted 09/25/11

  2. HAHAHA! Laughed myself into a rib cramp picturing ” You can also just lay the culture on your face.” Great article Jessica!

    reply 

    Sherry M
    Posted 02/07/12

  3. and this is a super way to grow your own SCOBY from store-bought kombucha, instead of paying upto $20 to buy one….

    i have used this successfully many times!

    http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2010/05/how-to-grow-a-motherscoby-from-store-bought-kombucha/

    reply 

    Tina
    Posted 02/24/12

    • Hi Tina – Yeah, I really encourage my readers to either grow their own, or get one from a friend. I personally love getting cultures from friends and then passing them on. I think it’s so cool how cultures can be shared all over the country and even world. You never know where yours will end up! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 02/24/12

  4. Excellent article!!!!!

    I’ve had a SCOBY with some of the KT in my fridge in a sealed bag for several months now. I bought it quite awhile ago but have been too intimidated to make the tea and haven’t done anything with it. It’s still the way it came when I ordered it. Would it still be safe to use?

    reply 

    Crissy
    Posted 03/21/12

    • Hi Crissy – Thanks for the question. I don’t know if it would still be alive. I have been told that you’re never supposed to store scobys in plastic. If it’s been sealed up for an extended period of time, there’s a chance that it may have ran out of food (sugar) to eat and may have died. To test it out, I would brew a small batch of sugar tea and toss it in there (pour in the KT that you have in the bag with it. if it is still alive, this might help get it going). Just cover it with a tea towel and leave it alone for 2-3 weeks and see if it cultures, or at least starts to culture. Sometimes when they’ve been refrigerated, they go into hibernation, so it could take it awhile to wake up and start producing. You will know that it’s working if it starts to smell vinegary and you don’t get any mold. If the culture is alive and active, the good bacteria will fight off anything bad that would try to grow. You might leave it up to a month and see what happens.

      Let me know if you try this and have any questions. You can also email me at deliciousobsessions(at)gmail(dot)com and I’d be happy to give you whatever advice/thoughts I might have. :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 03/21/12

  5. I brew Kombucha and the whole family loves it! However, I learned a few things in your article! For one, I had never thought of all those uses for my extra SCOBYs! How great!

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    reply 

    The Provision Room
    Posted 03/23/12

  6. I enjoyed article, I have a few tips of my own for you.
    Organic tea and organic sugar can actually carry contaminates. Using regular black tea and plain white sugar is a consistant product producing consistant results. Using very filtered water over a long period of time can kill the scoby as it receives no minerals. Actually boiling tap water for 5-10 minutes rids it’self of the chlorine and feeds the scoby too. I use 1/2 mixture tap and filtered.
    Using green tea,or a combination of these two straight teas is a good taste.
    Thanks for your blog.

    reply 

    Cindy
    Posted 05/11/12

  7. I am a first time brewer. It’s only day 3 and I have black stuff growing on the top. What should I do? What did I do wrong?

    reply 

    Lori Cohen
    Posted 06/27/12

    • Lori, it sounds like it could be mold. Could you send me a picture of it? You can email me here: deliciousobsessions@gmail.com. If it is mold, then you need to throw it all away, even the scoby, or else it could continue to contaminate future batches. But, in all the time I’ve been brewing, I’ve only known of a few actual mold cases, so maybe it’s not. Would love to see a pic.

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 06/27/12

  8. I just received my starter scoby. Hoping to get started on it on Monday. Love your recipe ideas – I will have to try some of those!

    reply 

    Mandie
    Posted 06/29/12

    • Hi Mandie – Thanks for stopping by! Let me know how it goes or if you have any questions! It’s so much fun! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 06/30/12

  9. Hi. Thanks for all of the info. I’m in the process of growing my own SCOBY right now and I think it’s ready to use, but I noticed today that there is a fruit fly in the jar (which I don’t get how it got there, but it’s there). If I just kill the fruit fly, is it okay to still use the SCOBY. I’d hate to throw it out because it took so long to grow (we haven’t turned our heat on yet, so our house is a little cool). I only see the one right now, not an infestation, but I know that where there’s one, there will soon be many. Thanks for you help!

    reply 

    Heather
    Posted 10/26/12

    • Hi Heather – That is a tough call. I had a fruit fly infestation earlier this year and my scobys did get contaminated and I had to throw them out. It makes me nervous when one was in the jar — they lay eggs so fast and where there is one, there is often more. But, at the same time, I don’t want to advise you to throw them out, because they could be fine. You know what I would recommend? Have you heard of Kombucha Kamp? My friend Hannah is the kombucha guru and I’m sure that she would be able to advise you best. Check out their site here: http://www.kombuchakamp.com/11040.html. I am sorry I’m not more help. This is an area that I always waver on!!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 10/27/12

      • Well, I went ahead and brewed my kombucha anyway. The one fruit fly was dead when I pulled out the scoby and I picked it off and there were no signs of any other flies. I just bottled my first batch of kombucha today, sans fruit flies. There were no problems. I used the lemon ginger idea, although I made a simple syrup with lemon juice, ginger pieces and water and sugar and put a couple of tablespoons in each bottle. yummy! It almost tastes like shandy. I’m looking forward to trying some other recipes. My tummy thanks you for your help. :)

        reply 

        Heather
        Posted 11/06/12

        • Sounds delish!!! I love the lemon ginger combo! So glad it worked out — enjoy! :)

          reply 

          Jessica
          Posted 11/06/12

  10. HELP!! I have been putting extra SCOBYS in the refrigerator…have I ruined them??! :( They look fine and still make a vinegary-tasting brew, but I’ve also read that that isn’t always an indicator of how healthy they are. How can you tell if they are OK? Thanks for answering and for the detailed information for a beginner!

    reply 

    Rebecca
    Posted 11/05/12

    • Hi Rebecca – I think they are fine. A lot of people will store them in the fridge. I personally don’t have room for that, so I never have. Most likely they will spring back to life after a few batches. I know that when they are refrigerated, they tend to go into hibernation, so it might take them a few batches to get back up to speed. But, I don’t think you’ve ruined them! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 11/05/12

  11. Thank you for this post! I got my first SCOBY last week and I finally got around to making my first batch of Kombucha, I was looking for a good beginner’s post and I finally found one, your’s! We shall see what happens in 7-14 days. :D My SCOBY came from a friend, which came from another mutual friend in another state.

    reply 

    Linda G.
    Posted 01/26/13

    • Hi Linda – So happy it helped! I hope you enjoy! It has been my experience that kombucha is very forgiving! I also love that the scobys can be shared from friend to friend to friend. I think that is so cool! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 01/26/13

  12. Hello! I found you on Pinterest. I used to brew my own a while back, but being the only one drinking it, I ended up having way to much! It never occurred to me to make smaller batches. (Duh!) You have motivated me to start again. First, I need to get a Scoby. I do have one question for you though…how long can I keep the Scoby in the starter before I need to start a new batch?
    Can’t wait to start drinking again!

    reply 

    Robin
    Posted 05/29/13

    • Hi Robin – Thanks for stopping by! Glad this post re-inspired you! :) In the past, I have kept my extra scobies in a “scoby hotel”, almost indefinitely. I use a large jar and make an extra strong and sweet batch of tea for them. They get rotated out as I give ones away. I changed the tea mixture every 4 weeks or so. Sadly, I had two gorgeous scoby hotels and I somehow got mold in both jars. Had to toss them all. Almost made me cry. Does that answer your question? :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 05/29/13

  13. Jess, thanks for the quick answer! You answered my question for the most part, but I have one left. Where do you store the “hotel”? I’m pretty sure that it’s covered with a tea towel, or cloth, correct?
    I just ordered my Scooby and hopefully it will be here in 5 days, give or take. I miss drinking it! My favorite flavors are lemon ginger, and grape, cranberry is pretty good too.

    reply 

    Robin
    Posted 05/30/13

    • Hi Robin, I was storing mine in the top of an open closet. You could store it anywhere you have some extra space. You do want it to have some air circulation though, so not in a cupboard or closed off closet. Enjoy!!! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 05/30/13

      • Thanks Jessica, that’s good info. Now I just wait for my scoby. I have a continuous brewing system & I’ll clean it up & be ready. This time I’m only going to make 1/2 gallon.

        reply 

        Robin
        Posted 05/31/13

        • Awesome! I hope it arrives soon! :)

          reply 

          Jessica
          Posted 05/31/13

  14. Hi There! Your article was really great! I started brewing my own Kombucha after falling in love with it at my local store, but not falling in love with the price. LOL! My main question is, does the carbonation start once you put it in the fridge? Because I’m fermenting a batch now, and it’s not really bubbling up. Any ideas? My house temp is at a constant 75 and the SCOBY is growing and doing its job. No mold. Nothing. Thank You!

    reply 

    Rhea
    Posted 07/13/13

    • Hi Rhea – Yay! I love meeting other kombucha enthusiasts! Welcome!! :) The carbonation will happen during the second fermentation. There have been times where the tea has been ever so slightly carbonated after the first brew, but it’s during the second fermentation that you will create a lot of fizz, especially if you add fruit juice or fruit. Since the first ferment is open to the air, it’s hard for much carbonation to build, but with the second ferment, I use those flip top bottles, so they’re sealed and get super fizzy. Use caution, especially during the summer, when opening the bottles. I always have a big bowl handy, so that I can flip the top and then immediately pour it into a bowl if it’s excessively fizzy. Hope that helps! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 07/14/13

  15. When you talked about mailing them across the country & sharing them with your friends, wondering do you have suggestions for mailing them? I am in FL and my mom is in MN and she would LOVE to try this. I would love to mail her her a scoby & starter but need some mailing tips, PLZ. Thnx
    Kim

    reply 

    kim Schulz
    Posted 08/03/13

    • Hi Kim – What I have done in the past that works well is place the scoby and about 1 cup of kombucha tea (to be used as a starter) in a ziploc bag (I triple bag them in the freezer bags), and then I mail them via USPS, using their smallest flat rate box. I think it’s $5.95. So far, I’ve never had one leak during transport. Hope that helps! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 08/04/13

  16. I’m new to kombucha brewing, just made my first batch. (I have been brewing my own water kefir for a few weeks now and love it), but the kombucha seems to taste a little sour. Is it because of the first batch being brewed with vinegar or did I do something wrong?

    reply 

    yvette
    Posted 09/09/13

    • Hi Yvette – Kombucha will naturally have a sour taste, especially if it’s been brewed a little too long. I’m confused by what you mean when you say “brewed with vinegar”? Vinegar should only be used for cleaning and sanitizing the vessel, not for the actual brew. Does that help?

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 09/09/13

      • as far as the vinegar – it’s right there in the instructions: 4. Take the SCOBY and place in your brewing vessel with the cooled tea and sugar mixture. Pour 1 cup of the starter liquid (or vinegar) in and fill the rest with filtered water, leaving an inch or two at the top….
        (this was my first brew, so I didn’t have any starter liquid, so used the vinegar…)

        reply 

        yvette
        Posted 09/09/13

        • My apologies Yvette! I completely forgot about that. I have always had starter liquid from previous batches, so I had completely forgotten that you could use a small amount to help start the ferment. The vinegar could be making the kombucha taste sour, however, kombucha is going to be naturally sour/tart. Also, since this is your first batch, it’s probably not going to taste perfect. It sometimes takes the scobys a few batches to really get up and running at their full potential. I’d keep brewing a few more batches and I’m pretty sure you’ll notice an improvement in taste from batch to batch. :)

          reply 

          Jessica
          Posted 09/12/13

          • Ok, done with my second batch, and yes it tastes much better when you make it with starter tea v/s the vinegar….

            One more question – what do you do with the baby scoby? Last time I used it to make another batch, so I made 2 batches this time, one with the original mother and one with the baby. The batch made with the baby, made another baby, but it’s very thin and seems small.. If the baby is kind of small, can I put it in with it’s mother to brew a batch and will it grow bigger when it’s sitting in another batch?
            Otherwise, I have read about the Kombucha hotel and storing them in there, but will they continue to grow there?

            reply 

            yvette
            Posted 09/18/13

  17. Dear Jessica,

    Fascinating blog! I haven’t even begun brewing anything yet but am very enthused by the whole topic. Recently I started fermenting vegetables in jars with a water-filled airlock lid that lets out gases but doesn’t let oxygen in. Do you think this would be suitable for the second ferment stage with the fruit or would it simply let all the fizz out? Here’s a link to the lid i mean

    http://www.cookinggodsway.com/eshop/lacto-fermentation-air-lock-kit/#sthash.R1p0lday.dpbs

    Also a question about caffeine. I seem to get effected quite significantly by caffeine so am trying to avoid it. If I were to brew with white tea would this significantly reduce the caffeine content? Would you advise using a blend for the SCOBY’s sake (eg mainly white plus some green plus a little black) or could I use purely white?

    Any advice would be much appreciated. I admire the care you clearly take over your kombucha!

    reply 

    Hu
    Posted 09/21/13

    • Hi Hu – Thanks for stopping by! Just a quick note that unlike most other ferments, kombucha requires oxygen, so you don’t ever want to brew it in one of your airlock vessels. So, for the initial ferment of the kombucha, you want to just cover the jar with a towel. For the second ferment, you can pour off the tea and do your 2nd ferment. I recommend the flip-top style bottles, which will yield the best amount of fizz. Just make sure you leave plenty of headroom, as the pressure can build up fast. When it comes to using green and white teas for kombucha, the experts I have spoken with recommend alternating batches with straight black tea. The scoby does need a fair amount of caffeine for its overall “diet”. I have also been told that most of the caffeine is used up by the time you get to the final brew, though I do not have any idea what the actual percentages would be. If you use purely green or white, you will need to alternate batches with straight black tea. A blend of the green/white with the black might be a better bet and would ensure the scoby does get some caffeine for nourishment. Hope that helps! :) P.S. The Kombucha Kamp site that I link to in the post has TONS of info, FAQs, etc., so I highly recommend it for a resource!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 09/22/13

  18. I have a well, so no chlorine is added to my water. I do know that our water is pretty hard and has iron in it. Is it still okay to use my water?

    reply 

    Linda
    Posted 02/11/14

    • Hi Linda – Yes! Your water should be just fine to use. My mom makes kombucha from their well water and her is some of the best tasting that I’ve ever had. Granted, I know everyone’s wells are going to be different, but I think yours should be just fine. :)

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 02/12/14

  19. I love this website, but I am concerned, I have just brewing my first batch of kombucha tea, but I steralized my jars with hot soapy water and rinsed with boiling water, and I also added a tea for flavour that has ginger in it. Have I ruined my batch or even worse have I diminished the use of my scoby? I did not have the information on steralizing equipment before I started my brew. Please help me know what to do. Regards Angela.

    reply 

    angela butler
    Posted 02/20/14

    • Hi Angela – I think you are probably fine. Moving forward, you could just sanitize the jars with some hot water or white vinegar. How has the brew turned out, or is it not ready yet? As long as it is fermenting, then you should be good to go. I wouldn’t worry about it! :)

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 02/20/14

  20. Thanks for posting this I make kombucha but it’s not very nice on it’s own I was wondering how to flavour it so the kids will drink it too :)

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    Melissa Dixon
    Posted 02/28/14

    • Melissa – There are tons of ways to flavor the kombucha. You can add fruit (fresh or frozen), herbs, citrus juice or peels, or straight fruit juice and then do a second ferment. This will change the flavor and make the beverage fizzy. I have a number of recipes in this post if you look above under the “Kombucha Recipes” section. You really can get creative and flavor it any way you’d like. I do also have a water kefir flavoring guide. Even though it’s for water kefir, you could easily take many of the recipe combinations and use them for kombucha and they’d be equally as delicious: http://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2013/02/lets-get-fizzy-with-it-your-water-kefir-flavor-guide/

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 03/02/14

  21. This post helped me make my very first batch of kombucha today. I’m a little worried though. I thought my tea was room temperature, but realized it was slightly warm after I put the scoby in. Do you think I ruined it before it even had a chance to begin? Thanks!

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    Lisa
    Posted 03/29/14

    • Hi Lisa – Most likely it is OK as long as it was just slightly warm. If this is your very first batch, it may be pretty slow to get up and going. New scobies need a few batches to get up to their full power, so just be patient if it seems like it is brewing really slow. I hope you enjoy! :)

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      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 03/29/14

  22. Hi – this is my first look at how to brew KT and you make it sound ALMOST doable! I may give it a shot, but I’m wondering: do you think I could recycle the Kombucha jars from my store bought KT? I have a LOT of them (GT’s Organic), hence the “I need to figure out how to make this instead of spend a fortune each week” reason I stumbled upon your post.
    Thoughts on that?

    And I know a few people that drink Kombucha but I don’t know any that make their own and I’d like to find an existing SCOBY. Thoughts on the best way to find one? Maybe some kind soul posted an advertisement on Craigslist…

    reply 

    Jana
    Posted 05/18/14

    • Hi Jana – Yes! You certainly can! They may not get as fizzy as the flip-top bottles since the seal is not quite as tight, but I am all about saving money and upcylcing when possible! Put those bottles to use! :) The first place I would look is at your local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter. There is bound to be someone locally who can give you one. If you don’t have a local chapter in your area, you can try growing one on your own using the storebought brands, but that does not seem to always work and it is very, very slow. Last resort, you can purchase one online. I recommend Kombucha Kamp (they are my go-to source for anything booch related). Their cultures are super healthy: http://www.deliciousobsessions.com/Kombucha-Scobies. Hope that helps and happy brewing!! :)

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 05/18/14

  23. can the tea be made with alka water, it asborbs quickly

    reply 

    psndev. samlewis
    Posted 05/30/14

    • I have never used alka water, but I think it should work fine. I am not 100% sure though.

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 06/01/14

  24. I am new at doing this and am planning on starting my first batch this week. I have a really good glass container to use for this but it is a 2 gallon container… I definitely plan to only make a gallon in the beginning and I may even go down to 1/2 a gallon. Would there be any problem with using a huge container like that and just having all that extra room in it? Thanks!

    reply 

    Isabel
    Posted 06/18/14

    • Hi Isabel – I think that would be fine. I think once you’re comfortable with making it, you will find you need 2 gallons. ;) Happy brewing!!!!

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 06/19/14

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