You may have read my last post, which was How to make a kombucha SCOBY from store bought kombucha, where I guide you step by step to do just that. This week, I’m going to guide you through the two next phase of the brewing process, which is actually making a batch of kombucha and then bottling it up. The brewing process is very similar to the scoby making process, but the measurements are different. I also want to note that exact measurements aren’t really necessary, as this isn’t an exact science. You can play with how much sugar you add or what flavors and ratios of flavors you use in your processes, but the measurements I am providing are pretty much guaranteed to make you a damn good batch of booch!
Note: This recipe makes one gallon of kombucha, which sounds like a lot, but if you’re an avid kombucha drinkers like I am, that would give you enough bottles to last a week or two. Adjust the recipe if you’re brewing in a different sized jar.
Step 2: Brewing
So now that you have your own scoby, you’ll want to separate it from the jar you’re going to brew the entire batch in. Make sure your hands and any utensils involved are super clean. Set your scoby and around 2 cups of the liquid it was chillin in aside in a separate container and cover it so nothing can get in.
Rinse out your brewing jar and start boiling ~2 cups of water. This part isn’t exact, so boil however much you want, just make sure it’s at least 2 cups.
Add in 5 or 6 tea black bags to your brewing jar and steep them in the 2+ cups of boiling water for 15 minutes.
Take them out, add 3/4 – 1 cup of granulated sugar, and stir until dissolved. Organic cane sugar is best in my opinion.
Once your sugar is dissolved, fill your jar with room temperature water until the jar is about 3/4 of the way full. This is where the temperature of your tea really matters. You don’t want it to be hot, you want it to be slightly warm. Adding in the room temp (or even cool water) should help with this. Again, kombucha brewing is ideal at around 80-90 degrees, but will still work at a lower temp.
So your sweetened tea has cooled off significantly… now you’re going to add in your scoby and it’s liquid that you set aside. Doing this should add some volume to your jar, so that there is about an inch or two of space between the liquid and the rim of the jar. Again, not an exact science, so don’t worry if that’s not the case.
Cover your jar with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band and you’re good to go! Place your jar in an area that doesn’t get much sunlight but that will stay somewhat warm. Leave it to ferment for about 7-10 days. You can even check in on it every few days to taste and smell the changes and your intuition might just tell you when it’s ready to move on to the next phase. Get to know your booch 😉 Also, if you don’t like carbonation, you don’t even need to go on to the next phase of fermentation that I go over in the next section. You could just pour from your brewing jar whenever you want some, add some ice and/or juice, and call it a day. It’s also really good on its own!
Step 3: Bottling
After you have brewed your batch of kombucha, gather your bottling supplies. Some handy supplies I like to use are: a funnel, a ladle, glass bottles (some I bought and some I recycled from other beverages), and towels for dribbles and spills. Haha!
You’ll also want to figure out what flavor(s) you want your kombucha to be. This is where it gets really fun because you can do pretty much any flavor your heart desires! I tend to buy or make my own organic fruit juice to use for this step, as I don’t really like adding in chunks of fruit. It’s just a texture thing for me. I also just tried adding chunks of ginger and tumeric (in addition to lemon or grapefruit juice) to my last bottles and it added a nice flavor, but I found that the scobys that grew in the bottles were a little bigger than they tend to be when I use just juice. So if you want to add in a couple of raspberries or blackberries or pineapple chunks to each bottle, you can definitely do that. You can also add herbs like basil, rosemary, or sage to compliment different fruits.
Once you know what ingredients you’re going to add to your bottles (you also might want to label each bottle if you’re trying multiple different combinations of ingredients), it’s time to bottle!
Using a funnel, pour in about an inch of juice (or a few pieces of fruit) into each of your bottles. Then, pour in your kombucha and leave some space at the top. Don’t fill the bottles all the way! Seal the bottles nice and tight with their lids.
Leave your bottles out on the counter or wherever you brewed your kombucha for ~3-5 days (this builds up the carbonation aka fizz, so if you like lots of fizz, leave them out for 4-5 days), then pop them into the fridge to chill! And you’re ready to sip!
I hope you enjoyed this process, as it’s been used by our ancestors for many many years and is quite a special practice! It gives me great joy to brew something with so many health benefits in the comfort of my own home and I hope it adds some joy to your life. Let me know if you have any questions and definitely let me know how your kombucha turns out. What flavors did you choose? Do you like your kombucha carbonated or not?