Hello booch fans! I'm so excited to share finally share step-by-step instructions on how to make kombucha!
What is kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea containing living probiotics. It basically tastes like flavorful, carbonated, sour, lower-sugar juice. The taste is really hard to explain, so I 100% recommend buying some from the store to taste before making your own.
The taste is also semi-acquired. The first time I had kombucha, it was hard to finish. At the time I described it as, "sourdough bread soaked in beer, coated in yeast, then soaked in vinegar, then stomped on by stinky feet". But now that I've tried other flavors, I'm in love.
To share my love of kombucha, I'm going to try to break down the brewing process as simply as possible. There are a lot of different factors that contribute to the kombucha brewing process, so it's best to follow the instructions exactly as it says.
The following instructions will make one quart of kombucha. (Personally think it's best to start small)
A SCOBY for Kombucha
What you need to start:
The Brewing Process
There are two steps in the brewing process: First Fermentation and Second Fermentation. The "First Fermentation" of brewing kombucha is referred to the process in which the kombucha is actually brewed from black tea. During this process, the bacteria in the SCOBY converts ~2/3 of the sugar to alcohol, which then mostly gets converted into acetate (vinegar).
The "Second Fermentation" is simply the process of carbonating the kombucha and developing flavor. It's optional, so we'll talk about it later.
The First Fermentation Process
1. Clean out your mason jar with hot water and some distilled white vinegar. Do not wash it with soap just before using it. This can interfere with the kombucha.
2. Bring water to a boil in a kettle. Place tea bags in a large bowl. When water comes to a boil, pour in bowl and let tea steep.
3. Remove tea bags, stir in sugar until dissolved. Let water cool to room temperature--if water is too hot it can kill the bacteria in kombucha.
4. When cooled, add water to mason jar. Then pour in starter tea, and add SCOBY.
5. Cover mason jar with cloth, and secure with rubber band. Label jar with date (incase you forget about it).
6. Let sit at room temperature away from direct sunlight for about 7-9 days. If you're not sure if it's ready, try a spoonful! The kombucha should taste more vinegary than sweet.
7. When it's done, you can either drink it or go through second fermentation. Hold onto 1/2 cup of the kombucha to make the next batch, repeating steps 1-6 above.
Second Fermentation Directions
Once your kombucha is done brewing from the first fermentation process, you can flavor and carbonate it through second fermentation.
1. Clean air-tight bottle with warm water and white vinegar.
2. Chop a few pieces of your favorite fruit and put in jar. Add a few drops of juice as well. Only add a little as the flavor will go a long way. (personal favorite is ginger, lemon juice, and strawberries)
3. Pour kombucha into the bottle, and seal tightly. Let sit in fridge for 3-5 days until it reaches desired level of carbonation. The more headspace (air) in the bottle, the longer it will take to carbonate. When it's done, pour and enjoy!
If you don't have a pressure-graded bottle (I don't--I snagged some random bottle from TJ Maxx), make sure to burp it 1-2x/day to prevent it from bursting.
Enjoy! Let me know if you have any other questions regarding the process!