If you haven’t heard of Kombucha before – it is essentially fermented tea that can be flavored and fermented until it is carbonated. It is full of good bacteria and so easy to make!
Step 1: Get a SCOBY [Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast] – This is a living colony of bacteria that will take the sugar from your tea and ferment it, creating probiotics and carbonation! You can buy SCOBYs from health food stores and online shops. If you know someone else that makes Kombucha, you can ask to have a part of their SCOBY, as they are constantly growing!
Step 2: Brew some tea in a big glass jar (I have one that is 1 gallon that I bought from Amazon). Black or green tea is most popular and you can try out which one you like the best. I switch between the two on different brews or if I think one will go better with the flavors I am using that week (more on that later!)
Step 3: Add sugar. I use organic white sugar and mix into the hot tea that is brewing. This sugar gets eaten by the SCOBY during fermentation, so very little (depending on how long you ferment) gets left in the final product.
Step 4: Let the sweetened tea cool. This is important so you don’t damage the SCOBY!
Step 5: Add the SCOBY. Throw it in the jar. It can be on top, in the tea, or some mixture of both. Cover the jar with a coffee filter and secure it with a rubberband. This keeps bugs and debris out of the jar while still letting air in.
Step 6: Wait 7-10 days. You can taste along the way to see if you like it. The longer you leave it, the more sugar gets used up and the more tangy it gets.
Step 7 [Optional]: Your Kombucha can be ready to drink at this point! But it will be pretty flat and just taste like tea. If you want to make it fruity & fizzy, put the Kombucha (without the SCOBY) in an empty juice bottle or other plastic container that seals well. Add fruit juice, fresh or frozen fruit, ginger, etc. This is called “second fermentation” because the bacteria in the Kombucha is going to use the sugar in the fruit (sugary fruit like strawberries, blueberries and pineapple work great!) to ferment the tea more. You may have to let the carbonation out every couple of days if you see the container start to grow too big. Wait 5-7 days. At this point you can use your SCOBY to start creating your next batch.
SAFETY NOTE: In this step you must either use a plastic container or a glass one specifically designed for this purpose that has an emergency release valve. If you use an everyday glass container it could have imperfections in the glass and the high pressure from the carbonation could make it explode!
Step 8: Drink your Kombucha!