Your step-by-step guide for day one of kombucha brewing
By Jacey Gibb, Distribution Manager
Welcome to ‘Bucha Basics, where we cover everything there is to know about homebrewing kombucha
In my previous article I covered the supplies you’ll need to make kombucha, so now it’s time for the actual process. Keep in mind: this is only one variation of how to make ‘buch. Plenty of other factors go into the process, like how hearty your SCOBY is, what season you’re brewing in, the humidity of your apartment. My recommendation is to follow these steps, and then conduct research based on how your first batch turns out and alter the process accordingly.
Note: There are two main parts for brewing, which need to be spread out. You can do part one in the morning, boogie for the rest of the day, and come home to finish the brewing, or you can hover like a helicopter parent. Whatever fits your schedule.
First, pour your 4L of distilled water into a large pot, and bring to a light simmer. I’m talking just barely bubbling. Remove your pot from the stove and add one cup of sugar, and stir it. Once you no longer see grains of sugar, add eight tea bags of black tea (orange pekoe, English breakfast) and let them steep for four minutes. Make sure you count the tea bags as you remove them, so no stragglers get left behind and give your kombucha an overly bitter taste.
After quadruple-checking that all tea bags are removed, cover the pot and let it cool down to room temperature. Covering the pot slows down the cooling process, but it keeps fruit flies and other lil’ guys out. If you’re on a tight schedule, transfer the liquid to a sanitized container. Regardless of your process, it’ll take a few hours before you can move on to the next part. If you add the SCOBY before the tea has fully cooled, you risk damaging the bacteria.
Once your tea is room temperature, you can transfer it to a large glass container. If you recently purchased a SCOBY, it should’ve come with some kombucha of its previous batch. Slowly add part of the old kombucha, then followed by the SCOBY and the rest of the ‘bucha. (Enjoy the pleasant plop the SCOBY makes when it lands in the tea.) Occasionally the SCOBY will sink to the bottom of the jar, which is fine. After a few days, the SCOBY should float to the surface.
Cover the jar with a semi-permeable wrap (cheesecloth, paper towel, whatever) so that oxygen can get in, but critters can’t. Voilà! You’re partway to completing your first batch of kombucha. Place the jar in a cool, dark area where you won’t disturb it over the next week, and resume living your best life.
Over the next week, the SCOBY will consume the tea sugar and slowly become the fermented beverage you love. This concludes the brewing portion of making kombucha—tune in next time for the fermentation process.