My favorite kombucha tea recipe.
There are many types of fermenting that are very good for your health. Some sound and even look a little, shall we say…strange?? Kombucha fits in the “strange” category. 🙂 This is a fermented drink to keep in your fridge. It is NOT a canning recipe.
This Page Includes:
What is Kombucha?
What is Kombucha anyway…and how do you pronounce it??
I have to chuckle when my son asks me about kombucha…he forgets just what the name is and once called it “sambucha” So now in our house, we have “sambucha” .
Kombucha is a fermented, probiotic, healthy sweet tea. It is very good for you, tastes sweet and tangy at the same time, and if made correctly will often be bubbly and carbonated.
Kind of like a healthy soda!
A few ounces a day boosts the immune system and gives great benefits to your gut health.
Kombucha can be purchased commercially in many health food stores. It is becoming more and more common, so you might just check your local supermarket too. However…it’s not cheap.
If you are a DIYer, make it yourself! It is not difficult, but it does take some care and time.
The best part about making your own kombucha is that you can create your own favorite flavors. Using tightly sealed bottles gives your kombucha fizz!
The first thing you will need is a scoby. The scoby is sometimes referred to as the mushroom…but it is different. It looks like a rubbery disc that floats on top of your tea. This is what “eats” the sugar out of your tea and creates all the health benefits.
It grows as you make more batches and can be shared with friends!
You can purchase a scoby online. You should get instructions on how to treat your scoby and get your first batch started. If you get a scoby from a friend, be sure and get about 2 cups of kombucha as well to get your first batch started.
Kombucha Tea Recipe
This kombucha tea recipe is for a gallon of kombucha. You will need a gallon jar, water, 1 cup sugar, 8 tea bags, 2 cups kombucha from a previous batch, and the scoby.
How to Make Kombucha: Make Sweet Tea
Boil about 13 cups of water (a little less than a gallon). Add 1 cup sugar and stir until dissolved.
Add 8 tea bags to your sugar water and allow to brew for 15 minutes or so. You can brew to your desired strength. Remove the tea bags.
Allow the sweet tea to cool to room temperature.
How to Make Kombucha: Allow It to Ferment
Add 2 cups kombucha to the sweet tea and gently place your scoby on top.
The scoby should float, but it may also sink. Don’t worry, it will float back up to the top. Cover the top of the jar with a lint-free cloth secured with a rubber band.
Kombucha Tea Recipe: Fermenting
Now your fermenting stage starts. Keep the tea undisturbed and at room temperature; 65 to 85 degrees is recommended. I usually keep it covered with a cloth. You could put it in a cupboard, but if you are like me, don’t forget it is in there! I like mine out on my counter where I see it regularly.
Fermenting time will vary, anywhere from 7 to 30 days. The longer the ferment, the less sweet and more tangy your kombucha. Room temperature will also affect this time frame. Warmer temperatures will cause kombucha to ferment faster. For our taste, usually about 2 weeks is right.
Taste your kombucha every now and again and stop when you have a tangy sweet pleasing flavor. The easy way is to stick a straw right into your jar below the scoby and have a sip. You could also just dip in a clean spoon. No double dipping!
The kombucha is ready now to strained and rebottled to be used as it is, or flavors can be added with a second ferment. I always do that second ferment.
Kombucha Tea Recipe: Second Ferment
What’s the Best Container for a Second Ferment?
You have two choices now. Re-bottle your kombucha into canning jars with seals and rings, or special bottles with wire bail-style, extra-tight lids.
Canning jars work. I’ve used them regularly and had no issues. However, I also didn’t get much carbonation. My results tasted great, but I really wanted to try and get the bubbles.
I now have these EZ cap lids…and I love them! I’m not sure why, but the way they are made makes for more bubbles in your drinks.
- They have an extra tight wire bail-style top. This seems to add a bit of fizz to my kombucha.
- Fillmore Container has a couple of sizes available. The 16oz is perfect for individual drinks.
- They come in 3 colors: clear, amber, and blue.
- And they are fun!
Here is a Facebook video where I explain how they work. FillmoreContainer.com sent me these bottles to try out, and I’m so glad they did!
Click here to go to Fillmore and find out more.
How to Do a Second Kombucha Ferment
The first thing is to decide what you want to use to add flavor. Our favorite is blueberries. I add in about 1 to 2 T blueberries to each bottle. You can use other types of berries or even add a bit of juice to each bottle for flavors. The possibilities are endless. Do you like ginger? Add a slice of ginger to the bottle. A little goes a long way. Experiment and see what ferment flavors and combinations you like best.
After adding the flavors to each jar, you’ll fill them with your just fermented kombucha. In order to pour off the kombucha, you’ll need to remove your scoby to a bowl or a new jar. Keep covered and wet.
Pour the kombucha off the top into the bottles, straining it as you go. Be sure and save about 2 cups from the bottom for your next batch. (As you are finishing up this batch…start your next batch!)
Seal your jars or bottles up tightly and allow to ferment again. This is when it will get fizzy. You can second ferment for 1 to 5 days. You’ll need to be sure and “burp” the bottle to release any overpressure. I usually just do a one-day ferment with our blueberries.
After this second ferment, you can strain the solids out and re-bottle again before placing in the fridge, but it is not necessary. I usually just pop them in the fridge.
Enjoy your kombucha when it is cold!
How to Freeze Dry Cherries – Want to learn how to freeze dry food at home? Start with cherries, a delicious (no-added-sugar) snack. Learn how to freeze dry cherries at Simply Canning.
Fermenting Foods with the Perfect Pickler – Fermenting foods can be a bit intimidating to the newbie. This isn’t canning pickles, but the Perfect Pickler makes it easy!
Steam juicing is a great way to get the most out of your food. Watch the video review at SimplyCanning.com
Page last updated: 11/5/2021
Liked the video! Was looking at the instructions to make kombucha. I’m sure I can purchase the scoby but where do I find the kombucha starter?
Should I buy a bottle at the store to use for starter?
I think usually a scoby will come with enough starter to get your first batch going. I don’t have experience using a store-purchased kombucha but I would think it would work. You’d be better off with a starter from your scoby though.
You mentioned that this can turn vinegary. Can you tell me approximately you can keep the tea before this happens?
That is my struggle precisely. It is difficult to give an exact time. One, your taste will probably be different than mine. What is too sweet to me might be fine for you. And two… my kombucha never turns out the same for each batch! Which is frustrating. 🙂 I usually left mine for about 10 days, then start tasting it. When it is sweet enough I bottle it and put it in the fridge. But temperature variations can have an effect, how big your SCOBY is (it grows with each batch) can have an effect. It really is trial… Read more »
I will have to try making Kombucha again. The last time I made it, I bought a kit and it didn’t work right.
Hi TJ. You can purchase kombucha SCOBY online and it will come in the mail. Super easy. It should also come with a cup or so of kombucha to get your first batch started.