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How to Make Kombucha: A One Stop Guide

how to make kombucha
Photo by Tim-Oliver Metz on Unsplash

If you are someone who loves sour food or carbonated fizzy drinks, you might love Kombucha. If you don’t know what Kombucha is, read more to learn what Kombucha is and how to make perfect, refreshing, and Tasty Kombucha that is perfect for a hot, sweating summer season.

Kombucha is a drink made of fermented sweet tea but tastes so far from tea that you will never guess it’s made from loose tea or tea bags. There is a symbiotic culture known as Scoby, which consists of certain bacteria and yeasts. These microorganisms then convert the sugar in the tea into acetic acid and ethanol at room temperature.

This fermented drink is one such healthy drink. While other carbonated beverages can cause issues, this drink is great for our bodies. This drink also has a great history that goes through many centuries and various regions of China, Tibet, and Japan.

Later, as the world developed and cultures started to travel, homemade, Kombucha brew travelled to Russia and western countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. Brewing Kombucha in their own home is a culture and tradition for many. It can be very enlightening to learn how to make kombucha.

To brew Kombucha, the ideal equipment is a large wide-mouthed glass Jar, which also helps you to see the progress. Ceramic jars are also fine, but plastic and metal containers are to be avoided. Other equipment includes a plastic funnel, an ingredient sieve, and a thermometer.

Suppose it’s too hard for you to make kombucha. Then there are always stores that have kombucha. You can always buy it. You can get various flavours and Kombucha bottles. You can even get an unflavored Kombucha tea.

how to make kombucha
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

What is Kombucha Scoby & How do you get it?

Scoby is one such mandatory ingredient in the recipe for making Kombucha brew. Scoby is a short form for Symbiotic cultivation of Bacterium and Yeasts. It is a culture in the shape of a disk which allows the fermentation process where the black tea changes into Kombucha tea or fermented tea.

These homemade Kombucha Scoby usually stay at the brim of the Kombucha sample but can sink sometimes. Don’t be worried if it falls; it still works.

The most simple and cheap way to get hold of Scoby is to ask someone you know who makes this drink, as they might have some Scoby in their procession. If you don’t remember any Kombucha-making friends, take an online class that teaches you how to make this. If not these options, buy it online, but be careful about its quality.

The Scoby can survive for a brief time without a malfunction, but it is recommended to put it in fresh tea as soon as you get it. Also, the liquid that comes along with the first Scoby should be added to the tea as this is a major ingredient of the Scoby batch.

This starter tea has large amounts of yeast, bacteria, and a lot of acids, which in turn helps your kombucha. Another interesting piece of information about Scoby is that every Scoby is different from the others, and so is the surrounding it is kept in.

These Scoby can be home to many different yeasts like Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces, and many more. There are also various types of species of bacteria that help in the increment of acids. Thus, the acidity also limits the alcohol in Kombucha tea.

How to make Kombucha tea?

There are few ingredients involved in the making of this refreshing drink. These ingredients include Tea, Sugar, Water, A Kombucha Scoby, and the Liquid of the last brew. Choosing the right ingredients and the Quantity and Quality of the ingredients can change and improve the taste of your Kombucha. Read below, and you’ll understand how to make kombucha tea.

Kombucha’s starter tea is Black tea, herbal tea, or flavoured tea. It has many minerals and vitamins that go well with the Scoby. This tea can produce a better and more fruitful taste. But most people use other tea like green or white, or black-green tea to create Kombucha. But be careful not to use oil-mixed tea like Earl Gray. You can always try to make Kombucha with Assam or Darjeeling tea.

Sugar is a mandatory ingredient to brew your Kombucha as it gives food to the yeast and bacteria that need to copulate. Normally the sugar used to make Kombucha is the normal sugar made from sugar cane. But you can use less refined sugar, too, although using this sugar can cause a change in taste.

how to make kombucha
Image by kelseysue2 from Pixabay

It also helps to create new Scoby and change the tea into acids & vitamins. The sugar does remain in the Kombucha as it breaks down into glucose from sucrose. Do remember never to use Honey as this will produce different bacteria and yeast that can change the Kombucha into another type called Jun, which is made of Honey.

This might be one of the easiest and another important ingredient in how to make kombucha. Water, not just any water, should be De- Chlorinated Water. Boil your normal water, cool it, or leave it in a utensil overnight, and then chlorine can dissipate. This water stops the microbes from increasing.

The Scoby you use should have a good origin and be refrigerated and dry. The size isn’t specific. You can use a small amount for a small fresh batch and a medium for a medium. It doesn’t matter as new Scoby forms over time on the top of the vessel.

Starter tea is yet another basic but important ingredient. When you start making a new Kombucha, I must add it. Starter liquid is usually taken from the top of your previous drink and takes up 10% of your fresh batch. It contains the bacteria profile of the last brew, which helps the fermentation quicken and shows the brew cycle.

This liquid lowers its pH of it as compared to normal tap water. It also helps to protect the tea from harm like mould or Kahm yeasts. And this is how to make Kombucha tea.

The ‘Basic’ Kombucha Recipe

This is the most ‘basic’ recipe for making Kombucha for a starter, as the ingredients are basic and the instructions are very clear.

Quantity of the Ingredients (For a Liter of raw Kombucha)

1. Boiled Water- 250ml

2. De- Chlorinated Water- 750ml

3. Tea- 1 (teabag or teaspoons)

4. Sugar-50- 100g

5. Scoby- 1 small

6. Starter Liquid- 100ml

Method of preparation of raw kombucha tea.

• this is how to make kombucha. The first step is to boil a quarter of water in a pan, turn it off and add the tea or teabags and the sugar. Stir it slowly to mix the sugar and tea to release its flavour, and leave it alone for 5-10 minutes so it brews. Do remember to remove the tea but be sure not to squeeze it as it can release a bitter taste.

• Add the remaining cold de-chlorinated water. This water will make the concoction not that hot as the water above 35°C can damage the cellulose substances.

• Put in the starter liquid and the Scoby. The Scoby should be in the liquid. A 5cm of own Scoby should be on the brim of water to accelerate the activity of fermentation and growth.

• The next step is to cover the brew jar you store it with a tightly woven cloth to prevent dust and flies. However, it should not be closed as the drink needs to breathe. Don’t forget to label the jar and contents to be sure about it.

• Leave it to ferment for a week or so at room temperature, away from heat or direct sunlight. Mostly the kitchen surface is ideal. It doesn’t have to be utter darkness but a little light. Don’t keep it in a cupboard as circulation of air is needed. The perfect temperature for the fermentation is 26-27°C. This completes the primary fermentation.

After almost a week or 12 days, you can try your all-new Kombucha.

• After that, the brew is ready to go to the next stage, ‘secondary fermentation’. Secondary fermentation means the Kombucha is transferred to a bottle.

Then, you can add different flavours and sometimes a higher level of carbonation. Do remember to use flip bottles or beer bottles. And this is how to make Kombucha.

how to make kombucha
Photo by Sena: https://www.pexels.com/photo/warming-winter-tea-9981044/

Few Flavors to try

The options are limitless. It goes from fresh, dried, frozen fruits and vegetables to their juice or pulp form. Herbs and spices can also be used. The subtle or intense flavour of the Kombucha depends on the quantity of the condiment you use. Usually, 5 to 10% of fresh fruits or2-3 tablespoons is enough for a litre of Kombucha.

Berries, stone fruits, citrus, and exotic fruits are great preferences for flavour. Berries like blackberries, strawberries, or stone fruit like plums, cherries, or peaches are some great aesthetic preferences.

Citrus ones like lime and lemon that are cut into pieces, or the zest can be refreshing, while exotic fruits like Kiwi, Mango, and persimmon can be a great option to create an exotic touch to this drink.

You can also use dried fruits of figs, dates, and Goji berries are great but are careful not to use raisin or other that is in oil or apricots or anything that has sulfur dioxide as it can have a foul smell.

Frozen fruits work very well with Kombucha, too, as the ice crystals break up the cell structure of the fruit, which means the flavour and colour gets in the drink. The juices and pulp of fruits also work well.

Herbs and spices are a great option, too, if you are a savoury person. Herbs like mint, thyme, and basil work well with fruits, and spices like turmeric, cardamon, cloves, liquorice, ginger, cayenne, and jalapeño are some of the great options.

Vegetables are also a great option for the flavours. It includes garlic, cucumber, lemon, shiitake, mushrooms, carrots, and tamarinds. Some other options include brewed coffee, beetroot, rosehips, rose petals, coconut water, cacao, and maca powder.

We can always add flavourings during the second fermentation process.

Scoby Hotel- What is it?

Well, it sounds like something funny or something made up. But trust me when I say this, it is a thing. It is one of the major things in how to make Kombucha. A new Scoby is created every time a new Kombucha batch is formed. While some of it can be used for the next set, you can store the rest and the excess amount of Scoby in a Scoby Hotel.

Scoby hotel is a simple jar with some Kombucha for the Scoby to float. These jars have a stable environment, and the Scoby are healthy. But check from time to time to ensure they don’t dry out or go bad.

Suppose you like to make Kombucha from time to time; it is good to keep a backup of Scobys. Old Scobys used in many Kombucha can be recycled to compost in for the new ones.

Is There Alcohol in Kombucha?

Well, to answer this question, yes, a little. There is a small amount of alcohol that was formed during the fermentation. It is usually almost 1% or low, similar to unpasteurized fruit juice. The amount of alcohol can’t be read accurately using the usual method used by brewers or winemakers.

As the Kombucha ferments over time, the lactic acid and the bacteria in the drink convert the alcohol into acids, which further reduces the amount of alcohol.

how to make kombucha
Photo by Studio Blackthorns on Unsplash

Safety Tips to Avoid Issues with Kombucha tea

While making Kombucha is very easy, and the instructions on how to make kombucha are clear, there are still something to be kept in mind while making it. These tips should be kept in mind while learning how to make kombucha. These tips include some like-

• Always use water free of Chlorine.

• Keep everything clean.

• Use a food-grade ceramic jar that withstands acidity.

• Avoid plastic to store the drink.

• Steel can also be used, but it should be a grade 304 or more.

• Use only ordinary sugar and not artificial sweeteners.

• Try to use good quality organic tea.

• Fermentation should be done in a warm place above 21°C and below 30°C.

• Cover the jar with a cloth to keep the flies at bay.

• Discard any mould found in the drink.

• Also, be sure to use bottles that can withstand the pressure of the drink, like flip-top bottles.

• Leave at least four fingers of head spaces on the top of the bottle.

• Be careful to keep it away from kids when you open the bottle.

What might go wrong with your Kombucha brewing?

The recipe for making Kombucha is good and basic, but sometimes things can go bad or wrong. Sometimes your Kombucha isn’t fizzy much, or sometimes it is too fizzy. While the Scoby doesn’t grow, it has signs of Kahm yeast in it. Many other things can go wrong. Some of these things are important to know while making Kombucha. Don’t worry; we are going to talk about it too.

If your Kombucha Scoby is not fizzy enough, sometimes it looks lifeless. This can be because the brew is being fermented at a low temperature. It is recommended to change the location of fermentation to a warmer place. If the issue still happens, use the starter liquid from the bottom of the jar as it contains more yeast and, thus, more carbonation.

Try bottling the drink a little sooner the next time. If the carbonation is less, leave the bottle at room temperature for a day at least and transfer it to the fridge. Also, ensure the bottles are sealed, or the carbon dioxide will escape, leaving the drink flat.

If your Kombucha is too fizzy, try to cool them so the carbon dioxide is suspended. Also, try to reduce flavour by using less juice that contains a lot of sure for flavouring. Also, ensure that the first fermentation is not at a high temperature. The fermentation shouldn’t be done above 28°C as this leads to boosting yeast’s activity.

When your Scoby is not growing, it means the temperature is low, or the original bunch of Scoby is very small, or it might also be that the starter liquid was not enough. Scoby is supposed to look like a see-through mould-like substance at first, and then later, it might look like a thickened creamy white disc.

The Scoby is supposed to be formed at the top of the jar. Scabies can get damaged from being stored at a cool temperature or if the drink reaches a temperature of 40°C. This should be clearly understood in how to make Kombucha.

Another issue is that the Kombucha have signs of Kahm yeast. It can be identified as it looks very different from a new Scoby. It can be seen like a white film on top and sometimes wavy. Even though it is not harmful to the body, it is best recommended to dump this batch and start with a new and fresh Scoby. Yeast infestation can also happen if the solution is weak.

One other most seen issue with the drink is that mould forms in or around the glass. This is a sign that something in it has gone wrong, and it should be immediately thrown away, and a new batch should be made.

At the initial stage, you might mistake a mould for ora new Scoby or lump of yeast, so be sure before throwing it away. Most findings found that the mildew is powdery, furry, white, grey, or blue.

It can be due to an unclean jar or contaminated environment. It can also happen due to less intense acidity in the brew. While learning to make kombucha, it should be kept in mind that at least 10% of the drink is a strong starter liquid.

This is where all things go bad. Small flies can always be around the jar as it accommodates the sweet tea brew. The flies will get inside the fermentation jar and lay eggs there if given a chance. All the efforts go in vain.

If flies lay eggs, dump the batch. Start again and seal the jar or utensils with tight woven cloths that can stop the flies while letting the brew breathe. It will hurt you, but it’s for the best.

how to make kombucha
Photo by Ayesh Rathnayake on Unsplash

Are there health benefits of the brew Kombucha tea?

There are a few health benefits of Kombucha. The brew benefits digestion and has many antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are anti-fungal, which is great for the heart. This should also be understood before learning how to make kombucha. It’ll also be discussed below, so read along.

If you are a person who loves to eat yoghurts, then you know it is the best source of probiotics as it has a great number of live microorganisms. Kombucha is also a great alternative to yoghurts. It also has a great number of microorganisms that help with digestion. It has micro-organisms, as Kombucha is a product of fermentation. These probiotic bacteria can also help to hold the bacteria in the guts.

But sadly, no study proves all these statements, but it’s the people who use Kombucha have claimed this. It should also be reminded that the number of probiotic microbes can vary from the different factors of the Kombucha and its fermentation.

Kombucha has a great number of antioxidants in it. Antioxidants protect from damage done by radicals. These radicals are a by-product of the process of our body. But still, it is important to lessen their impact on the body by consuming rich antioxidant products.

Tea is a product that is rich in antioxidants. While tea is the main component in a batch of Kombucha, the other properties of this brew can vary the influence of antioxidants in it.

This drink contains a great number of minerals and vitamins. It is produced when the yeast in the glass breaks and dissolves sugar which includes the vitamin group C and B, such as B6, B1, or so. Levels of minerals and vitamins can vary from product to product.

One of the main products of fermentation of a raw batch of Kombucha is Acetic acid. It is such a substance that contributes to the anti-fungal properties of the brew. It also lessens the growth of least desired yeasts and bacteria while promoting the medicine’s beneficial sense. This and other components are found in black and green tea.

Certain studies suggest that the consumption of this brew can improve cholesterol management, which is a main threat to the heart. This drink also supports and helps with the heart’s health. The protective properties in the tea, Polyphenols, also might lessen the chance of having heart disease. These things should be clearly understood while learning how to make kombucha.

Is it safe for everyone to have it?

Well, this is the biggest question. Even if you make this drink, if you can’t drink it, then what is the benefit? Kombucha is a safe and useful food because it benefits our bodies. It is often enjoyed by many with a different and balanced diet. But it can sometimes be unsuitable for everyone and some risks to some people. This should be clearly understood before knowing how to make Kombucha. It will be discussed below.

Kombucha is not beneficial for women who are having babies and breastfeeding. It is also not recommended for people with compromised immunity. You should also remember that there aren’t many clinical studies that prove its benefits or efficiency.

Many reports say having much can lead to feeling unpleasant and uneasy side effects. These side effects include nausea, dizziness, and stomachache. If you ferment Kombucha for much longer, it will accumulate more organic acids, which reach harmful levels. This can be harmful to us. Remember this when learning how to make kombucha.

Normally, fermented foods, which include Kombucha, are very high in histamine. It is a substance that gets released when you get injured or get allergic, which then causes contracting muscles and dilation. So, it is strongly advised not to consume Kombucha for those with histamine intolerance, as this can aggravate the symptoms.

Kombucha contains living microorganisms in it. Drinking this brew depends on the individual. It is often recommended to start with less quantity as this will help the digestive system adjust. You have to begin with 100ml a day for the first week and then build up.

The weather and season also have an impact on the brew. If you brew in the summer, the temperature moves the process quicker and favours some microorganisms over others. These factors change the taste and its properties every time. This makes this drink very different from other drinks. Before learning how to make kombucha tea, all these things should be understood.

how to make kombucha
Image by Sidcley from Pixabay

Conclusion

Kombucha might be a new drink for many of you. These should be kept in mind before learning how to make kombucha. It is a drink worth trying, as every brew differs. It is also very healthy and can have very good benefits for your health and body. While it is not recommended for some people, it is good for rest. It is a famous drink in Asian communities, eventually catching up to everyone. This is how to make Kombucha.

In today’s time, everyone prefers homemade food and drinks. This drink can be visionary. A fizzy drink with health benefits is what we need. This drink is also refreshing and has very good bacteria and yeasts. You try limitless types of flavours to add to it.

You can try almost everything with Kombucha tea. This includes herbal tea, fruit tea, decaf tea, loose tea, flavoured tea, green tea, and sweetened tea. The only sad thing about Kombucha is that not many clinical studies back up this drink’s beneficial claims. Let’s hope there are more human studies about kombucha immediately in the future that it is useful for

And at last, remember to spread this recipe along with the Scobys and starter liquids with your loved ones, Kombucha brewing friends, and people who would love to try out how to make Kombucha tea.

Also, read- Best Steakhouse in Ottawa.

Written by Nicky Rose Roy

Hi, I'm Nicky Rose Roy. I am an avid writer who loves to read and learn new things. I believe books and writing are the essences of life. I am interested in Travelling, fashion, and beauty. I have been writing all my life. Exploring new places and learning new things mean everything to me. Hope you guys enjoy reading the articles as much as I enjoyed writing them.

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