Saturday, March 10, 2012

A little Kombucha

It's not as hard as I thought!  The actual work is as simple as brewing tea!  It takes only a few minutes, and a few minutes more 15 minutes later, then a couple of minutes an hour later, a few weeks later etc.  And the ingredients are all inexpensive, whereas store-bought Kombucha... not on my budget!

As a GAPSter, I couldn't believe I was buying sugar again!  The sugar is all transformed by fermentation, and although a little remains, Kombucha is allowed in the Full GAPS diet. 

I read several detailed instructions on various websites and came up with this simplified method.  You don't have to make a gallon at a time, just use your largest glass container.  Mine holds 7 cups max, so I make 6 cups to leave some room at the top of the jar. I make three bottles at a time (saved from store-bought Kombucha) but soon I'll divide my SCOBY and not have to wait so long between batches.  SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeasts.  The Wikipedia article on Kombucha is quite interesting if you want to know more.

So, first and foremost, you have to get a SCOBY, which you can do in several ways: ordering one and growing one from store-bought Kombucha are two.  The way I got mine, I posted on wapf-(mycity) that I was looking for one, and got the added benefit of meeting a nice neighbor.

DO keep your SCOBY, or mother, in a jar with some of the last batch's brew.  Close tight so it doesn't dry out between uses.

DO use plain, real tea.  It can be white, green. or black, decaf or caffeinated, but it can't be "herbal", and it shouldn't be flavored: the SCOBY might not like some flavorings.  Flavors can be added after brewing.

DO use the best water available - filtered or spring.  Chlorine is not good for the SCOBY.

DON'T boil all your water.  Sterilization is not important, and boiling drives all the oxygen out of the water, which is necessary for the fermentation. Plus, boiling only half the water means faster heating up, and faster cooling down.

DO rinse your container with vinegar, as well as your hands if you handle the SCOBY.


6 cups water
3 tea bags
1/3 cup sugar
optional :1/4 to 1 cup of flavoring: ginger, cranberry juice (Just Cranberry), other 100% juices or freshly pressed juice, lemon, lime, etc.

Preparation time: about 5 minutes, + 3 minutes, a half-hour later + 10 minutes, 2 weeks later

1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil.  Turn off the heat and drop in the tea bags.  Cover.  Infuse for 15 minutes.

2. Stir the sugar into the still hot tea until dissolved.  Pour the tea into your large glass container.  Add the remaining 3 cups of water and allow the brew to cool completely to room temperature.

3. Add the SCOBY and the liquid it was kept in. Close the container using a clean cloth and a rubber band.

4. Put the container in a cupboard to ferment.  Don't put it in the same cupboard as other ferments such as sauerkraut, because the yeasts in the SCOBY may contaminate them.  Brew for 14 to 21 days.

5. When it is ready there will be a wonderful aroma like apples when you open the cupboard door.  When you uncover the container, you'll see the mother will have grown a "baby" - a new layer of the "mushroom".  Pour the Kombucha into bottles with tight-fitting tops, but keep enough brew to cover your SCOBY.  You can add the optional flavoring into these bottles, not the main brew containing the SCOBY.  For example, put a die-sized piece of fresh ginger in the bottle, or a couple of teaspoons of freshly squeezed lime juice.  Or both.  Close tightly, and leave the bottles in the cupboard to ferment for 5 to 10 more days (depending on the temperature inside the cupboard). During this time the Kombucha will get fizzy.   

6.  Start your next batch of Kombucha immediately, or keep the mother in enough brew to cover, in a closed container in the cupboard.  You can separate the layers and make two batches now, or just use the larger mother just like before.

7.  After the 5 to 10 days, store the bottles in the fridge. Serve cold.


  1. Hm... I've never heard of the vinegar part before - you mean the container that you brew the kombucha in should be rinsed with vinegar each time?

    1. Yes, you can/should rinse out any container you use with vinegar.

      Or, you can sterilize them in steam for 3 minutes and wait until they cool down before filling with the new brew.

  2. After a few successful batches of Kombucha I let the last one brew too long - - and it turned to vinegar! It's good vinegar, too! So here's another DON'T: DON'T FORGET TO BOTTLE YOUR KOMBUCHA!