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So now that I’ve convinced you to drink kombucha tea, you need to know how to brew it! If you missed my first post about the health benefits of kombucha tea check it out here.

Brewing Your First Batch

This set of instructions is for people who have a kombucha mushroom but do not have access to any kombucha from a previous batch.

Ingredients

  • A jar that can hold at least 3-4 cups of liquid
  • 1 teabag (either black or green tea – nothing with essential oils such as Earl Grey)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp of sugar (plain old white cane sugar – no honey!)
  • 2 teabags of rosehip tea (optional)
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 kombucha scoby/mushroom

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Instructions

  • Add sugar and teabags to your jar
  • Boil water (preferably filtered as chlorine can interfere with the brewing process)
  • Add the hot water to the jar, dissolving the sugar and steeping the tea
    • Tip: You can add a knife to the jar to help absorb the heat of the boiling water (remove it once the water is poured)
  • Allow your tea to cool to room temperature
  • Remove teabags
  • Add the vinegar and kombucha mushroom to the jar
  • Cover your jar with either a lid, cheesecloth or coffee filter (held on by an elastic)
  • Store at room temperature in a dark place where it won’t be disturbed too much
  • Let sit for about 7 days (4-5 in warmer climates or in the summer as it brews faster in warmer temperatures)
  • Pour off the finished kombucha tea into bottles with tight fitting lids (reserving 1/4-1/2 cup for your next batch)
    • When you pour it out it helps to use a sieve or fine mesh strainer to get out any of the small culture lumps that may have formed.
Top view of a kombucha SCOBY (pink because of the rosehip tea)

Top view of a kombucha SCOBY (pink because of the rosehip tea)

 

Brewing Subsequent Batches

This set of instructions is for people who have a kombucha scoby and have access to a previous batch of brewed kombucha tea

Ingredients

  • A jar that can hold at least 3-4 cups of liquid
  • 1 teabag (either black or green tea – nothing with essential oils such as Earl Grey)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 teabags of rosehip tea (optional)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of kombucha from a previous batch
  • 1 kombucha scoby/mushroom

 

Instructions

  • Add sugar and teabags to your jar
  • Boil water (preferably filtered as chlorine can interfere with the brewing process)
  • Add the hot water to the jar, dissolving the sugar and steeping the tea
    • Tip: You can add a knife to the jar to help absorb the heat of the boiling water (remove it once the water is poured)
  • Allow your tea to cool to room temperature
  • Remove teabags
  • Add your kombucha from a previous batch and kombucha mushroom to the jar
  • Cover your jar with either a lid, cheesecloth or coffee filter (held on by an elastic)
  • Store at room temperature in a dark place where it won’t be disturbed too much
  • Let sit for about 7 days (4-5 in warmer climates or in the summer as it brews faster in warmer temperatures)
  • Pour off the finished kombucha tea into bottles with tight fitting lids (reserving 1/4-1/2 cup for your next batch)
    • When you pour it out it helps to use a sieve or fine mesh strainer to get out any of the small culture lumps that may have formed.

 

Side Notes

New SCOBY forming on the top of the kombucha. After 5 days of brewing.

New SCOBY forming on the top of the kombucha. After 5 days of brewing.

Duplicating Cultures

Your SCOBY will duplicate itself with every new batch of tea you make. A newer and fresher (therefore slightly more vital) culture will grow directly on top of your old one. The old one will still work but it is recommended that you use the new one when brewing your next batch of kombucha. So what to do with the old one? It makes great compost, but even better, spread the kombucha brewing love and give it to a friend!

About Honey

While honey can make a great sugar substitute in baking and beverages, it is not a good substitute for brewing kombucha.  In this case sugar plays a vital role in the fermentation process by feeding the yeast and bacteria in the culture. Honey, being naturally antibacterial, would actually interfere with the fermentation process and possibly kill your SCOBY. Personally I just use plain white sugar as most of the sugar is consumed by the bacteria and yeast in the culture. I’m sure it is possible to use other forms of sweeteners, but they could yield inconsistent results and will mostly definitely alter the flavour.

 

About Rosehip Tea

Rosehips

While traditional black tea was soley used to brew kombucha, my friend Rosie over at Sauerkraut and Kombucha suggested adding some rosehip tea. What an amazing flavour! It doesn’t interfere with the brewing process and it adds beneficial vitamins (vitamin C and bioflavonoids)

 

About 7 Days

You can actually brew your kombucha tea for longer if you so choose. One website I went to said up to 30 days. But the longer it sits, the more sugar is consumed and therefore the more like vinegar it will taste.

 

Flavouring your Kombucha

The world of flavouring is wide open with kombucha.  Once bottled you can toss in some fresh (or frozen berries), chopped ginger or even a cinnamon stick. Lemon juice is also a very nice addition. Once you get the hang of brewing your own kombucha you can start to play with your tea as well. While black or green tea is essential, you can add additional teabags (like the suggestion of rosehips) to change the flavour. Just be sure that none of your teas have essential oils.

 

But I Don’t Have a SCOBY!!

First, ask around. You’d be surprised how many people brew kombucha. I’ve successfully given one culture away through a natural parenting group on Facebook. Another great option is to buy a starter kit from a reputable source. If you haven’t visited Rosie’s site I recommend you do. She sells starter kits for those who are in the GTA (greater Toronto area).