Did you miss Part 1? Check it out here!
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So, you've got your supplies, and you're ready to start brewing! Reminder, here's your supply list:
- Black or green tea bags (or a combo of both)
- Filtered water
- Glass jar (a 32 oz mason jar works great if you're doing batch brewing, or a large glass vessel for continuous brew)
- 6" x 6" square of cotton fabric (this is to cover the mason jar during fermentation)
- Rubber band/hair tie (to keep the fabric square on)
Batch vs. Continuous Brewing:
There are a few ways to brew your kombucha, batch brewing and continuous brewing. I found this article to be a good resource for defining the two types and listing the pros and cons of each.
With batch brewing, you are making smaller amounts and do the entire process each time. If you are the only person in your house drinking kombucha, this might be a good quantity, but it's also a bit more work.
With continuous brewing, you keep a much larger vessel (1.75 gallons in my case) full of kombucha, and each time you take some out, you add the same amount of sweet tea back into the vessel. Since my husband and I both drink kombucha almost daily, this has been a great method for us. I make huge batches of sweet tea at a time and refrigerate it, so anytime I take kombucha out of the vessel, I simply replace it with the pre-made sweet tea, and make a new batch of tea roughly once a month.
1. Brew your sweet tea. Like I said, I generally make a large batch (about 24 cups) at a time, but if you are batch brewing, you don't need that much. I generally do 1/2 green tea and 1/2 black tea. This chart is helpful for determining how many tea bags and how much sugar you need for various amounts of water. (Chart via Wellness Mama, who posted it from The Big Book of Kombucha)
Once your tea is brewed, remove the tea bags and stir in the sugar until dissolved.
IMPORTANT: You must cool your tea down to room temperature before letting it near the scoby. Hot tea could kill the scoby!
2. To your glass container, add the appropriate amount of starter liquid (aka kombucha). Remember, you have to have some pre-made kombucha to start making your own. This could be store bought or from someone else who brews.
3. To your glass container, add the appropriate amount of the room temperature sweet tea you brewed.
4. Carefully place your scoby in the glass container. If using your hands, thoroughly rinse them with water or vinegar (NO SOAP!) before touching the scoby. Or, you can use a wooden or plastic tongs to place it in the jar. You never want to touch metal to your scoby.
Your scoby may rest at the top, sink to the bottom, or turn sideways. All of these are fine!
5. Place your square of cloth over the top of the jar and secure with a hair tie or rubber band.
6. Put your jar in a darker area of your house, but somewhere that is warm. The warmer it is, the quicker your kombucha will ferment. I keep mine in the corner by our toaster oven, but they do sell jar warmers if you're concerned! Kombucha will ferment in cooler temps, but it will take longer (it took my first batch about 4 weeks to ferment in our 65 degree house in the winter).
7. Wait. The hardest part! In the first week, you will start to see a thin layer growing on the surface of the tea. This is a new scoby growing! After about a week, stick a plastic straw into the kombucha and taste it. If it's too sweet, let it sit longer. If it's too tart/sour, you'll know to let it ferment for a shorter time next time.
Once it tastes how you like it, this could be your last step. This is finished kombucha. But, if you want to add some delicious flavors, stay tuned for the next installment!