This homemade kombucha recipe has been keepin’ a strong Scoby (“mother”) going for a couple years. I got my first Scoby from a friend (thanks Gilly!) and have used her method and am ready to pass it on. Kombucha can be intimidating at first but it’s really very simple, just needs a little of your time, attention, and space. I don’t like fruit juice so don’t deviate from the kombucha path much but you can add a variety of ingredients including honey, turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, chopped fruit, & fruit juice when bottling.
- Prep Time: 2 Hours
- Total Time: 2 Hours
- Yield: 1 Gallon
- Category: Drinks
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: International
- 3.5 quarts water, boiled
- 1 + cup sugar. divided
- 8 black tea bags
- 2 big knobs ginger – optional
- 2 cups starter tea from the old batch
- 1 Scoby
Equipment for 1 batch (I always make two batches at a time so double this if you do that).
- Bring 3 1/2 quarts of water to a boil in a stockpot and add 1 cup of sugar. Stir a couple minutes until dissolved. Add 8 black teas (or 6 black & 2 green is what I generally do). Remove from heat, steep ~ 8 minutes and remove tea bags.
- Let cool ~ 1 hour and pour into gallon jar and cool to room temperature. Sometimes I make the tea the day before and finish it the next day.When room temperature (don’t add Scoby to hot or warm tea) add the SCOBY (Mother) and 2 cups of the “starter” tea (you buy this or it generally comes with your first Scoby). Cover it with a towel, paper towel, or cheesecloth and secure with a rubberband. Wait ~ 14 days and get ready to bottle.
- Remove the mother with very clean hands (washed up to the elbow if you got to go fishin’ for it!) for the fresh batch with 2 cups of the old tea to start the new batch. Set aside or place in the new batch of fresh brewed tea.
- Place ~ 1/2 tsp sugar in the 16 oz bottles (this is for the 2nd fermentation & makes it extra carbonated) and peeled ginger slices -doesn’t really matter how many- start with 8 slices in each bottle.
- Pour the tea into the 16 ounce bottles. Let the jars sit out (preferably in a location out of the sun) and ferment ~ 10 days. Then place in fridge and they are ready to drink.
- Scoby float down or on top or sideways. It’s still good.
- Scoby look strange, slimy, and “mottled”. Kombucha bubbles – this is all normal. Once you see mold or bacteria you will know it is bad.
- Going out of town? I bottle anything up to 17 days old. After that, I keep the scoby and toss the liquid or you can stop the fermentation process by sticking it in the refrigerator to buy some time. Basically, it becomes acidic with age. I bottle at 14 days because it’s easier to remember.
- Some people use a strainer for the “legs” from the Scoby. I drink ’em down! That’s where the probiotics and flavor are. If it creeps you out then strain it before bottling.
- Scoby gets most of it’s nutrients from Black Tea. You can experiment with other kinds but if you’re Mother is weak then revert back to all black tea for a while.
- Avoid prolonged contact with metal unless you want a metallic taste.
- Scoby are alive and grow! Every time you bottle, you will probably have two Scobys. Toss it or give it to a friend and share the kombucha love.
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Keywords: Kombucha, Homemade, Fermentation, Fermented Drinks, Low Carb, Gluten Free, Whole 30, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy Free, Beverage