how to make kombucha

Kombucha can be intimidating, but once you jump in and realize that your scoby won’t jump out of the jar and eat you in the middle of the night (and that it is harder to kill than a goldfish) you’ll think this is super easy. I will do another entire post about the importance of gut health and the benefits kombucha can give, but this will focus on the how-to.IMG_9347

Things you’ll need to get before you start:

  • a scoby (I’d suggest asking around to all your natural minded friends and there’s a good chance someone will know someone who has one they would be happy to part with. If not, you can often get them at local health food stores)
  • a large glass jar (1-2 gallons or larger) I love the ones with the pour spout as it makes continuous brew kombucha SO easy! This is the jar I use and LOVE.
  • a piece of breathable cloth or a tshirt you can cut to make your ‘lid’
  • a rubber band to hold on aforementioned lid
  • enough black tea to brew however many gallons your jar will hold
    NOTE: get PLAIN black caffeinated tea. This is not the time for the decaf and DEFINITELY don’t do herbal. Scoby will not like that.
  • organic sugar (1 cup per gallon)
  • class containers to house your kombucha
    NOTE: If you do a 2nd ferment (the part that makes it yummy and fizzy) you will want to invest in some EZ cap long necked glass flip top bottles. These work SO much better than any others if you like a lot of carbonation These are my FAVORITE!
    You will also want fruit, herbs or fruit juice to flavor your 2nd ferment.

IMG_9693HOW TO:

1) Brew your tea as directed in another container and add your sugar. Let it cool to room temp.
**the temp is super important for the scoby. Do NOT EVER pour your scalding hot water on him, and freezing cold tea will put him into hibernation**

2) gently pour your tea into your large container with your scoby. It should rise to the top. If it doesn’t it may be the temp is off but eventually it should float. if you have to reach in there or touch it with any type of utensil, just do NOT use reactive metal.

3) cover with your [clean] tshirt piece and rubber band that on. I suggest using a dry erase to mark the date so you know when you’ve started this masterpiece.

4) leave it alone in a nice corner where it won’t get too hot or too cold. let it sit there for about a week and then give it a sip. Don’t be scared of the scoby. Just dip a plastic spoon in there and give it a taste. The longer it sits, the more that scoby will eat the sugar, making the health benefits great, but the flavor will start to really sour (vinegary) the longer that it sits. Some people like to let it go for 2 weeks – I personally have found 8-9 days is great for my liking.

5) this is where you can drink it as-is or choose to go to 2nd ferment. This is my favorite part, but will require a few additional containers. If you paid attention and got the EZ cap flip top glass bottles (mentioned above), now is the time to pull those out. click here to get the cobalt ones I LOVE!

2nd FERMENT

6) pour your kombucha into your smaller containers and add about 1/4 c juice to every 16 oz container that you fill with kombucha. MAKE SURE to leave enough room for this stuff to ‘breathe’ so do NOT fill the bottle too high (1-2″ space left at the top or in the neck)IMG_9470

7) seal your bottles and let them sit anywhere from 2-10 more days on the shelf. only refrigerate them when you are ready for the fermentation to stop (when it is sufficiently carbonated to your liking)

8) carefully pop open the top (it can get SUPER fizzy) and enjoy your handiwork knowing that you are getting a great probiotic drink at a fraction of the cost to buy it in the stores!

2nd FERMENT FLAVOR OPTIONS:

There are endless possibilities when it comes to how you want to flavor your 2nd ferment, but here are a few that I’ve tried and our favorites:

~ Organic Cranberry Pomegranate juice – LOVE
~ Organic Blueberry Pomegranate juice – LOVE
~ Pineapple juice – my FAVORITE
~ Apple juice – MEH – It’s really good if you let it carbonate a lot and then tastes like sparkling cider, but otherwise tastes more like ACV
~ Fresh Peach slices – NOT A FAN – Love the idea of the fresh fruit, but this just didn’t add enough sugar to carbonate it to my liking and still had a strong vinegar taste

The BEST part about flavoring your kombucha is that you can also add in a drop of dōTERRA essential oil into the 2nd ferment (make sure it is one that is safe for internal use). They give an amazing burst of flavor!

Check out some of these combos (and msg me if you need any of these oils):
Blueberry + Pomegranate + dōTERRA Lavender
Blueberry + Pomegranate + dōTERRA Lemon
Blueberry + Pomegranate + dōTERRA Tangerine

You can also add in things like cinnamon, herbs, oils, turmeric, etc. I’ve found powders like cinnamon and turmeric add good flavor, but they leave a thick sludge at the bottom, so be prepared to either suck it up and drink that or strain it out.

Would LOVE to hear your favorite flavors, tips and tricks!

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