Kombucha

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Kombucha | Kombucha, from Russia, is a widely known and loved fermented, probiotic beverage. Both sweet and sour and naturally carbonated by fermenting gases, many people drink it like soda. Purported health benefits of drinking kombucha are: cancer prevention, arthritis treatment, improved digestion and immune booster. Just a few ounces a day can be helpful in any of these issues! Though you can purchase Kombucha, it's very easy to make and here's how. Never had it? You just might love it! | GNOWFGLINS.com

Kombucha, from Russia, is a widely known and loved fermented, probiotic beverage. Both sweet and sour and naturally carbonated by fermenting gases, many people drink it like soda. Purported health benefits of drinking kombucha are: cancer prevention, arthritis treatment, improved digestion and immune booster. Just a few ounces a day can be helpful in any of these issues!

Though you can buy great organic, raw Kombucha, it’s very easy to make and you’ll save money. Here’s how.

Never had it? You just might love it!

How to Make Kombucha

I alternate between using plain green tea and jasmine green tea for the tea base. I can’t describe the resulting taste of the jasmine tea, except to say that it is different, fragrant and worth trying just to see if you like it. We do. (Update: now I use white tea.) You can shop for quality green or white teas here.

For each gallon of tea, you need:

You will use 1/2 gallon water, 6 tea bags and 1 cup sweetener per gallon of tea you’re brewing. Put water and tea bags in a big pot. Add the sweetener. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Cover. Allow to cool to room temperature. To check, insert a clean finger into the tea — do you get burned or do you feel comfortable?

If using a liquid sweetener such as honey, there is no need to boil it with the tea bags and water. Stir it in just before pouring the tea in to the jar, marked with a ** below.

Get your jar(s) ready. Put the scoby and enough mature / finished Kombucha to barely cover it (about 10% as much as the jar’s volume) in the jar(s). Cover with a towel to keep out fruit flies, dust, or other contaminants.

Back to the cooled down tea. With clean hands or a utensil, stir the tea. Remove the tea bags, squeezing out any excess (no waste!). (**Add and stir in the honey here, if using.) Dip in a serving ladle or mug and taste the tea. Try to remember how it tastes, how sweet it is. This will help later on. Divide up the brewed tea equally among the jars. Use a glass measuring cup, a mug, or anything else that will help if the pot is too heavy or unweildy to pour directly from it to the jars.

Fill up the rest of the jar with pure water to within 1 inch of the top, at the place where the neck of the jar begins narrowing, but isn’t too narrow. This where the scoby will float and grow; it will fill the entire circumference available to it. If you fill the jar too high, it will limit how wide the scoby can grow. Use a wooden spoon to stir the liquid make sure the water is distributed evenly with the tea. Turn the scoby so the lighter side is floating toward the top. If it isn’t floating at the top, don’t worry, it will rise on its own.

Photo below shows my 7 gallon-size jars that I keep in rotation in order to have brewing a constant supply of Kombucha. The photo reveals various stages. The three jars furthest to the left are the most mature. The mushroom is floating at the top and you can see the youngest parts (lighter, almost white colored) growing at the top of the floating mushroom. The next two jars to the right were just filled with fresh tea, and you can see that their mushrooms hadn’t yet risen to the surface. Finally, the two jars on the far right are empty except for a bit of mature tea and the scobys — they are waiting for new tea to fill them.

Arrange jar(s) on a clean beach/bath towel in a warm place of your kitchen (near a heating vent or cookstove) where it (they) can rest undisturbed for several days. Wrap the towel up and over the jar(s). Lay another towel across the top. The Kombucha needs to stay warm and be able to breathe, while being protected from dust and other contaminants.

After 3 or 4 days, unwrap the jar(s). Feel free to do it sooner, depending on how warm your house is. The warmer your house, the faster the tea brews. Does the scoby look healthy? Has it risen to the top surface of the tea? Is it growing a lighter-colored layer on top of the older, darker part? Is its surface smooth? Are there little brown sugar castings (that is what the scoby leaves behind as it eats the sugar)? Are there little bubbles in the tea (natural carbonation)?

My friend who taught me how to make Kombucha said that they only bad thing for which you must watch is fuzzy mold (like on bread). This has not happened to me yet, and I pray that it won’t.

Now taste the Kombucha. Remember how it tasted on the first day? Very sweet likely, with not much else distinguishable. What you’re looking for now is that it has a kick to it, like a wine cooler. It will still taste sweet, but not sooo sweet. Just mildly sweet and then have a bite to it. It should also be naturally carbonated and if you feel a good urge to burp, yay! If it tastes sour, it has likely brewed too long.

If it has brewed too long and tastes too sour, continue on with the directions to pour the tea off into storage containers, but add more sweetener to taste and let it re-brew for a few days.

If it is still very sweet with no kick, wrap up the jar(s) again and let the tea keep brewing a few more days. Check it daily to see if it is done yet.

If it is ready, you’re ready to pour it off into storage containers or move on to a second fermentation with dried fruits or fruit juices. Otherwise, let it go a few more days. I believe the average is 5 to 7 days or longer. My Kombucha tends to be done in 4 or 5 days.

Using a funnel to strain out the scoby solids floating around in the tea, pour the contents of the jar into a storage jar. This Norpro 5 1/2-Inch Stainless Steel Funnel with Detachable Strainer is a fantastic funnel to help with this task. For storage jars, use canning jars (1/2 gallon, quart, etc.) or 1 gallon jugs. Leave the scoby and enough mature Kombucha tea to cover it in the jar.

The now almost-empty jars should be lightly covered with towels as they wait to brew a new batch of Kombucha. It will be fine for many days, but why wait to start more of this delicious tea?

Kombucha | Kombucha, from Russia, is a widely known and loved fermented, probiotic beverage. Both sweet and sour and naturally carbonated by fermenting gases, many people drink it like soda. Purported health benefits of drinking kombucha are: cancer prevention, arthritis treatment, improved digestion and immune booster. Just a few ounces a day can be helpful in any of these issues! Though you can purchase Kombucha, it's very easy to make and here's how. Never had it? You just might love it! | GNOWFGLINS.com

For second fermentation methods and/or bottling instructions, plus updated instructions, see our Lacto-Fermentation eCourse or eBook. Pictured in bottles: water kefir.

Other Notes

New scobies will grow in an room temperature and open-air container of finished Kombucha. There is more sugar to eat in the tea, and the scoby particles that are too small to be caught by the funnel are still there and more than happy to do that job. So as you pour off smaller amounts for your daily drinking, strain once again with the Norpro funnel. I typically keep a carafe full of tea out on the counter for people to drink throughout the day. I fill it up as it gets emptied.

After brewing numerous batches, the scoby can be quite large. I keep my scobys about 1-inch thick. When they grow thicker than that, I peel off the bottom layer (keeping the newest growth in the jar) and feed it to the goats. Some of our goats absolutely love to tear into those mushrooms. Or you can compost it. Or you can share it with someone who’s wanting to start brewing their own Kombucha. Or you can create a scoby hotel!

Also, I don’t wash my jars in between batches. I will wipe down the outside of the jar(s) after pouring off a batch. As long as the Kombucha keeps producing well, that means there is a healthy culture growing in the jar. If I had a bad batch (not just sour, but bad/moldy), I would wash and sterilize and start over.

What About White Sugar?

This is a side issue, but a question you might likely have. You might wonder why I don’t use white sugar for making Kombucha, as Sally Fallon Morell recommends in Nourishing Traditions. She wrote that when consuming white sugar, the scoby produces more glucuronic acid (a powerful cleanser). Rapadura and honey work as well, but the glucoronic acid produced is less. Whether or not white sugar produces more beneficial compounds, I prefer traditional sweeteners. If Kombucha is a traditional fermented beverage, then my choice is to use a traditional sweetener – white sugar is not that.

About Honey

Update: Someone suggested that honey, being anti-microbial, would kill the scoby. I haven’t seen that happen myself, and further reading has suggested that honey can work as a  sweetener for lacto-ferments because it is diluted and because it was traditionally used for fermented beverages. I make this judgment myself, just as you should do for yourself. Please see this Q & A on honey in lacto-ferments for more details.

Do you make Kombucha? What sweetener and tea do you prefer to use?

For more information about Kombucha, see our Lacto-Fermentation eCourse or eBook, both of which contain updated info, second fermentation instructions, bottling instructions, and other fermented beverage recipes.

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Comments

  1. says

    This is so great. I ordered 8 gallon jars from Azure, thinking I would use all for storage, but have 4 with nothing to store… I think I have a use for them now! Where is a good place to buy my first scoby?

  2. says

    Jen,

    My emails to you aren’t getting through. I will be happy to send you a part of the one of my growing scobys for the cost of shipping. I’d have to pack it in a flat rate box and send it priority, which could be $8 or $9.

    I feed my extra scobys to the goats, so I have enough to share. I’ll probably have more in a week or two. Please email me at info @ gnowfglins dot com with your address. Do you have another email besides the one you used for this comment because it is rejecting my emails saying I am a virus? ;)

  3. says

    Wardee – Well, I think I messed up my first batch! I thought it was just extra tangy, but my husband spit it out… I did have it fermenting for 7 days. I honestly just kept on forgetting to taste it. So now I’m thinking of just starting over… SIGH! :)

  4. says

    Ok, just tried my second batch and compared it to some store bought (I had never had any besides the other sour batch) and this one was better. It’s not as fizzy as the store bought, but I like the flavor… thanks!

    • Jenn Neddo says

      Jenn, you can get it fizzier by doing a second ferment after taking out the scooby, put it in the storage jars on the counter with a tightly closed lid (remember to burp it a few times a day to avoid explosions) as it referments the carbonation increases. —Jenn

  5. Keya says

    Hi Wardee! I would love to start making my own batch. My son has a rash on his arm for months now, and I would like to use the tea for its health benefits.I was wondering if u could send me a Kombucha mushroom. My e-mail is olivian_1@hotmail.com. I would greatly appreciate it.

    Sincerely,

    Keya

  6. Lynn Enneking says

    I was introduced to K-Tea when I visited my sister in Virginia and was given a mushroom. Then I ordered and just received a continuing canister from GetKombucha.com and it holds 2 Gallons. I need a simple to follow – as I am a simple thinking person (dyslectia) I have about a gallon of K-tea ready – about 2c of starter tea and the new mushroom that came with the canister and some recommended tea (loose in a bag). Please help me with a 2 gallong recipe and then when it is ferminted right and I bottle 1 1/2 gallon off how do I replenish? do I just repeat the recipe? Thank you!!!!

  7. says

    Lynn,

    My recipe (above) is for 1 gallon of Kombucha, so you would double it. Meaning, use 1 gallon of water, 12 tea bags, and 2 cups of sweetener to make the tea. Since you’re using loose tea that came with it the kit, are there directions for how much to use? If it were me, I’d start with 1/2 cup of loose tea per gallon. I would adjust in the future depending on how I like the taste.

    Let the tea cool. When only slightly warm, put it into the canister along with the starter scoby and the 2 cups of starter tea. Then add more water, up to 1 gallon, until the canister is full. Keep it warm and allow it to “cook” for up to a week, give or take. When you’re happy with the taste, pour off all but 2 cups of the tea, leaving the scoby in the canister, too.

    Repeat the process with a new batch of tea. Enjoy!

  8. Monica says

    I’m so glad I found this website! My in-laws drink this daily and I’m wondering how much of this tea can they actually drink. I know you mentioned something about drinking it throughout the day or with your breakfast, they only drink about 3 or 4 ozs. 2 times a day. Can they drink more than that?

  9. says

    Monica,

    The literature on Kombucha is very experiential and less scientific. For me, I had to work up to having 8 ounces per day because I got lightheaded. My husband drinks about 8 ounces three times a day and it has been very beneficial for his overall health. One thing to keep in mind is that the more you drink of K-Tea, the more water you should also drink. Because of the detox action of the K-Tea, you could get dehydrated if you’re not careful.

    So unfortunately, I can’t confirm whether what they’re doing is allowable or not. It certainly seems like a modest dosage. Their own bodies should tell them whether it is working for them or not.

  10. Rob Carrier says

    Hi there-

    Great site with some great tips and advice. I’m in the process of getting myself to prepare my first ever batch of kombucha. I grew my mother from a bottle of GT’s Raw Kombucha (gingerade). I heard you could do this, and indeed it did grow a mother (quite a healhy one at that). My quandry is this. I presume since it took nearly 10 days at room temperature to grow, that the original tea is quite fermented and possibly vinagarey (sp?). I see that most recipes recommend using either a cup of old tea to add to the new batch, or you can substitute about a 1/4th of a cup of distilled vinegar as well. I was thinking of meeting these guidlines half way, and adding a half cup of my old tea to my batch, but was worried it might introduce some bad stuff to my batch.

    Any ideas or thoughts on this matter?

    Regards,

    Rob

    • says

      Use the old Kombucha, vinegary or not. The new Kombucha needs those bits of scoby that are floating in there, not any level of sugar. Hope it works out for you! -Wardee

  11. Steve Szymanski says

    My mother got me started on this tea a few years back, I was a believer of the tea. However a few years back I moved and the container that the mother mushroom was in became cracked, and there were glass shards in the tea, need not to say I dont have my mushroom or tea any more and over the past few years forgot about it. I just came apon your site and got excited about the tea again.. Do you know where I can obtain a mushroom, or recipe to create my own… I hope to hear back from you.
    thanks for your time.
    steve szymanski, anchorage alaska…

  12. Steve Szymanski says

    I checked my email and havent seen your email, If you could please email me again, I am sorry about that… I apprecieate your time and information… thanks again…
    steve szymanski,
    anchorage, alaska

  13. Stefanie says

    Do you have any recommendations on doing a half recipe?

    Also, I had a tea bag explode on my culture and it seems to be absorbing it. I have made a batch of tea since then and it turned out fine. Any thoughts on that?

    • says

      Stefanie,

      With regard to the loose tea leaves, that is fine. That happens to me also. They just become part of the scoby — isn’t that what you’ve seen? I wouldn’t be concerned at all if your batches are tasty and smell good.

      For a half recipe, start with 3 tea bags, 4 cups of water, 1/2 cup of sweetener. Make the sweet tea. Add it to a half-gallon jar, along with some mature K-Tea and the scoby. Add water to almost the top. I hope this will help you and that I understood your question correctly.

  14. Stefanie says

    Yes, the tea leaves are a part of the scoby! I am glad to know it’s okay.

    Does the half recipe cut the fermenting time in half as well? I made one and I estimated it will be ready after four days. What do you think?

    And a big thank you for responding so quickly and I hope to try some of the recipes on this blog soon. :-)

    Stefanie

    • says

      Stefanie, halving the recipe won’t shorten the amount of “cooking” time. Sorry! It still needs that long to develop. Of course, depending on the conditions, it could be faster. For instance, if you keep your house really warm. ;)

  15. gabrielle says

    kelli, ill share my own experience: since i use good ‘raw amber agave’ almost exclusively, when i make kombucha i just make the tea and let it cool before i add the agave. it mixes in fine and turns out great.

    but i doubt it would matter if you boiled it because it will all get eaten up by the scoby anyway and chemically changed.

    however, it would be a shame to use truly raw honey which is so healthful and so expensive, if you are going to boil it!

    gab

    • says

      Kelli — it is a good point. You’d want to avoid boiling anything as good as raw honey. I’d still have a hard time purchasing non-raw honey myself. ;) So I think the best thing to do is do what Gabrielle does.

  16. Courtney says

    Hi Wardee,

    I was just reading about your no sugar challenge, and noticed that you were still drinking Kombucha. I have been brewing and bottling my own kombucha for a while, and also thinking about reducing my sugar intake. I’m curious – what’s your opinion on the residual sugar content in a batch of kombucha? I understand that the sugars are eaten during the fermentation process, and sometimes even turn to a bit of alcohol, but Im not convinced that it’s all gone, even after 10-14 days. What are your thougths?

    Courtney

    • says

      Courtney – Hi! We brew our Kombucha until it is very sour. Even so, I think there must be some left. We’re okay with it because of all the benefits of drinking Kombucha. If you’re wanting to reduce sugar intake, take a look at foods with sugar that don’t have other benefits outweighing them. In our case, we were eating a ton of sweets, something sweet everyday. Be sure to let me know what you decide; I’m very interested in hearing more from you. I learn so much from others!

  17. michelle says

    Hi Wardee, Oh my goodness, I just found your blog a little while ago and it is sooo interesting. I have tried Kombucha but, like you said, it made me light headed and I thought because of that I shouldn’t drink it so I stopped. I have always heard too, that it is so good for us but not heard enough to really know why. Do you have any info coming up in future blogs (I, of course subscribed just now too) telling why it is so good? How do I get a mushroom? And where do I get the gallon jars? Can it be refridgerated or should it be kept at room temperature to drink? This is so wonderful, can’t wait to hear from you. Thank you, Michelle

    • says

      Hi, Michelle! You are so sweet! I really can’t tell you whether or not to stop drinking the Kombucha. Sometimes it affects me more than others, but I do keep drinking it. I just make sure it is at a time when I can sit down or lay down for a bit afterward. There is so much information about why it is good and I will try to do a post soon about that. I would be happy to share a scoby with you; I only ask reimbursement for shipping. Please use the contact form to send me your address and we can make payment arrangements. I get gallon jars from Azure Standard; I believe it is the best price anywhere, but that assumes they deliver nearby, otherwise shipping could double the price. You can refrigerate the Kombucha or refrigerate it. Most of the time, we drink it at room temperature. Then it is usually bubbly – the fridge stops the bubbles. :) Hope to visit with you again soon!

  18. says

    hi,
    i just found your place, looking for a recipe for kombucha, make with honey.

    i saw that you were doing that then quit because someone thought it might kill the scoby. i note that it did not kill it when you were using it, and i used to make it with honey, but lost my starter and recipe, hence my search on the web.

    what i wanted to mention to you is that perhaps honey is not “antimicrobial” in its own right. it is a very thick sugar solution, and the concentration of sugars may be what gives honey its antimicrobial and humectant properties. once diluted, it is not likely to be antimicrobial…….

    think for a moment of fruit leather, or dried fruit. it does not mold or rot, and that is because the natural sugars are at a high enough concentration to make it a hostile environment for microorganisms.

    i think you should feel safe in using honey, and if you were to keep one or two of your jars going with honey kombucha, you would not be risking all…..

    thanks for your recipes

    canyonwren
    .-= canyonwren´s last blog post… Silverjack and Cimmaron =-.

    • says

      Canyonwren – I love your thinking! It would be a good idea to do a long-term experiment with honey side by side with the other sweeteners. Thanks for suggesting it and adding your reasoning.

  19. says

    Hi Wardee,

    Have you tried the double fermentation method using fruit juice in the second step? I read an article over at foodrenegade and wondered if you have tried it. http://www.foodrenegade.com/how-to-brew-kombucha-double-fermentation-method/

    The process looks like it can take up a lot of space. Where exactly do you keep your jars? Is it a corner of your kitchen counter or in a cabinet, or cupboard?
    .-= Marg´s last blog post… Picking saskatoons =-.

  20. says

    Marg – I have never done the double fermentation – if you try it, be sure to let me know how you like it? I have friends here who have done it.

  21. Sara C. says

    Wardee,

    My first batch has been brewing for about 10 days. I did a taste test and it is all doing pretty well. My jars are different sizes (one is gallon and three 1/2 gallon) so they are all a little different. Only one has a really well formed new scoby, the others are still pretty thin. Anyway, just wanted to share that batch #1 seems to be successful! Thanks for your instructions and tips, they have been helpful!

    Blessings,
    Sara

    • says

      Sara – That’s wonderful! Give those others time. If you’re seeing a thin scoby forming, that is a good sign. Sometimes they take more time, as you said.

  22. Star says

    Hi again,
    I read all the above comments.
    I had been wondering about many of those points and found it very helpful to hear what people have said.
    I also have those questions about sugar. I know my liver doesn’t like it.
    I know that sugar as such robs the body of calcium. Do you know anything about Kombucha in relation to osteoporosis? I have heard that cider vingar is bad for the teeth – makes them rot. What will it do to the bones, if that is true. Vinegar is supposed to clear the joints. It will dissolve an egg shell, what about bones..?! Will Kombucha have negative effects on bones through too much acidity? On the other hand, when there is still some sugar left, it may also affect the bones..? I would love to hear some research results on this.

    Thanks again, Star.

  23. Tracy says

    I noticed the strainer you used was metal. My Kombucha instructions from cultures for health say to never let the culture touch metal and to not use rapudura. So I am getting confused with all the different information. They do not give any reason why they dont want you to use these things. So I was wondering what your reasons are for using them and maybe you have an idea of why they would say not to. Thank you!

    • says

      Hi, Tracy. You’re so observant! :)

      On the sugar, I think most people use white sugar because Sally Fallon Morell wrote in Nourishing Traditions that when consuming white sugar, the scoby produces more glucuronic acid (a powerful cleanser). Rapadura and honey work as well, but the glucoronic acid produced is less. I personally do not wish to use white sugar, so I don’t. If Kombucha is a traditional fermented beverage, then my choice is to use a traditional sweetener – white sugar is not that. But you can use white sugar – in fact, the scoby will eat most of it, so I don’t see a problem either way.

      On the issue of metal – you’re right. Metal should be avoided with all cultured foods. I use stainless steel utensils when I have nothing else available and when I know the duration of use will be short. It is a risk I am willing to take in order to avoid plastic use, or buying another utensil.

  24. Connie Fletcher says

    I just got the scoby you sent me yesterday, and I’m making kombucha today!! I have to tell you, the scoby smelled soooo good!! I imagine that’s how your kombucha smells and I’m very excited. Am typing this as the tea cools. I read a story about someone who cut her scoby in thirds and threw the rest down the drain???? I have a gallon jar and the scoby fits perfectly, so I’m guessing that it will just thicken?? This website is such a blessing for those of us trying to eat the “traditional” way. Thank you, Wardee!!

  25. dr says

    i read about this and googled the closet place to where i could buy the unpasteurized organic raw un juiced tea! an hour away, i grew my own mother for my starter and im going to start my first real batch tom. sometimes if its too vinegar like i just make a cup of tea let it cool and mix it with the kombucha.. in fact thats mostly how i drink it, mix it with tea, but its good alone also…

    for me to grow my mother from the directions that i found it took me few weeks, but now shes good to go :)

  26. Sherri says

    Your kombucha looks wonderful! How did yours get so transluscent looking. I use rapadura now, but mine is a murky color, and the taste is different. I use to use white sugar, and it looked like yours. What do you think I’m doing wrong?
    My husband has asked me to go back to using white sugar, because he prefers the taste better. I got excited when I saw that yours looks the same as when I used white sugar.

    • says

      Sherri – Those pictures were taken when I was still using agave. However, now I am using Rapadura and it looks the same. So I am stymied. I don’t think you are doing anything wrong. Maybe it is because I use jasmine green tea instead of black tea – what tea do you use?

  27. Sherri says

    Hmmmm…I use black tea. Does the type of tea make a difference in color and taste? This is the first time I tried something different than white sugar. I guess I was thinking the molasses in the sugar changed the color and the taste, but if yours has that nice dark gold color, then I must have not done something right.

  28. Jamnee says

    Wardee,

    Thanks for sending us a starter!

    We tried making one a few months ago with the store bought and didn’t really trust what we were looking at. We got yours a little over a week ago and brewed it with black tea for about 7 days. It turned out great! It was also tasty with some shredded ginger.

    We are now on the 2nd brew using Jasmin Green tea! Very exciting!!

    Thanks again!

    - Jason & Amnee

  29. Yvonne says

    It has been two full days and the scoby is still hanging around the bottom of the jars – not flat on the bottom – there is about 1/4 to 1/2″ space. Is that OK? I am not giving up, I just thought it would rise faster than this? I have not tasted it but it smells OK.

  30. terri hughes says

    I would love to get some starter if possible, I just love kombucha!!
    I just need some scoby….pretty please. I live in Portland, Oregon.
    thanks,
    terri

  31. Laura Phillips says

    Hi Wardee,

    Is it possible for you to send starter scobie through the mail? I live on the east coast. If yes, please send info for your needs ($). And,if not, do you have any recommendations?
    I notice that your jars look like pickle containers…. guess I will have to start with that? My thoughts also went to spaghetti jars, tho’ they are much smaller….

    Thank-you,
    Laura
    piperp@verizon.net

  32. Tina~ says

    HI Wardee,
    I have a scoby/mother/mushroom that has ben in storage in the fridge for a while, but no mature kombucha for the 10% needed in your recipe. Will it work with just the mother?
    Thanks!

  33. says

    Have you tried water kefir? (a.k.a. Japanese water crystals) They make a delightfully refreshing probiotic drink as well. AND they only take 24-48 hours to do it! :) Lighter flavor than Kombucha, but a nice alternative.

    • says

      Kathleen – Yes, we do water kefir! We love it, and lately have been having it far more often than Kombucha. You’re right it, it is so quick to brew! I make 2 gallons every other day to keep us cool and refreshed during the summer.

  34. Jenna says

    Hello on the Kombucha discussion. Wondering if anyone has tried the “continuous brew” method. We just started it after reading about the method on a few websites. We bought a ceramic 2.5-gallon water crock with spigot. You keep 1.5-2 gallons constantly in the crock, but each day you “harvest out” a 1/2-gallon through the spigot, and replace that amount in the crock with cooled sweet tea. It’s nice b/c you never have to fully empty, clean, etc.

    My one problem, though, has been that my mushroom grew so, so big within about 3 weeks, though, that I had to harvest all of the kombucha and start over with a smaller mushroom (I just cut my current one in half). This produced an immensely sour drink, literally like drinking Apple Cider Vinegar, so we had to toss some of it and drink the rest mixed with juice. I believe it (the sourness) was due to the larger amount of starter and very large mushroom, and that I let it go for the usually recommended ~7 days. In looking back, the finished product was probably ready in 3-4 days, but I let it keep fermenting for another 3-4, and perhaps I shouldn’t have let it go that long . . .

    Any feedback on these experiences?

    • Tattoomysoul says

      I’m having the same issue with using a bigger container. I can start a completely new batch and it is ready for its second ferment by day 3 or 4. Much longer than that and it gets too sour for me and quickly turns vinegary. I’ve just had to learn to pay closer attention to it lol

  35. Miriam says

    Hi! I am waiting for my starter in the mail and just want to make sure I have everything I need on hand. After the Kombucha is brewed, can I store it in old glass water bottles with screw on lids? Does it have to seal to keep the “fizz” in?
    Thanks

    • says

      Miriam — For it to keep its fizz, the bottles must be completely air-tight. Otherwise, the built up gases escape. I find that mason jars with screw on lids/bands work pretty well. Be sure when you open up if the pressure’s really built up, though. :)

  36. Brooke Martin says

    I know you have children and I’m assuming they drink it too. I’m wanting to start making some, and have finally found a “mother”. I have 3 young kiddos and I’m wondering how safe it is to drink. I know it does have an alcohol content, but I don’t know how high it is. Advice or information?? Thank you very much. By the way, love your blog!! I’m so thankful for people who have gone before and are willing to share with others. THank you for taking your time and sharing your love with others!

  37. jean finch says

    I know this is a year old discussion but if anyone checks, Ihave a question! I have made my own scoby from Synergy raw Kombucha. It is small in circumference and took about 3 weeks to form. It is very cute and I made tea and sugar and added as the recipe said. It seemed really fine in my half gallon jar about four days, today it dropped to the bottom and is slightly tilted—–is that unusual—-I am planning to get one gallon jars but I was trying this with smaller amounts
    I love this website!
    Jean Finch

    • says

      Jean– If the temperature is cool (or sometimes even if not) sinking and floating tilted in the jar is normal. If it gets warmed up more it will usually float to the top. You can help it by using a wooden spoon and trapping some air underneath it to get it up to the top. It could also be forming unevenly and one side is heavy than the other. Anyway, if it is growing, it is doing fine. :)

      • jean finch says

        Thanks so much for the prompt reply——It has turned cool here for a few days! I will try the wooden spoon idea and I feel so much better allready!
        Jean

  38. says

    I’m curious about the straining. Is that just a personal choice or is there a reason for it?

    When I pulled my first batch of kombucha off to individual bottles to double-ferment with some ginger, they started making babies up on top of the bottled kombucha within 3 days. Talk about a healthy, active culture! I did mis-read directions and used more sugar than I should have, which likely explains it. Maybe I’m weird, but I just gave the bottle a little swirl and drank it mini-SCOBY and all. Should I not do that?

    • says

      SulaBlue — It is personal preference. I get new scobies growing on all finished Kombucha I leave sitting around at room temp. You can eat/drink the little scobies or not, up to you. I usually pull them off and put them in the compost for the chickens. :)

  39. Kathy says

    I got my baby from a friend. I am on my second batch but the baby is still really thin. Is this ok/normal? I took the baby from which is now i guess my mother and jarred it with two cups of the batch ,wanted o see if it would get think. Kombucha taste great but I was concerned about the thickness of the mother. Should I be?

  40. says

    Hi Wardee! I recently started making my own kombucha and I wondered if you have any thoughts on the safety of giving it to children due to the alcohol content? And do you know what the alcohol content typically is? There is so many different opinions out there and I really value yours.

  41. says

    I am ready to make my first batch of kombucha and have the suger/tea cooling. Cultures for life says in the instructions that I must add white vinegar when its cool. I don’t see that in your directions and am concerned that adding the vinegar would make it really sour. What do you think about adding or not adding the vinegar?

    • says

      Sherry — You add raw apple cider vinegar if you don’t have finished kombucha (with active cultures). It helps your ferment get going the first time. I think you could probably skip it, but your first batch might take longer to finish.

  42. Silvia says

    Hi Wardee! I am fascinated with the wealth of information you have available! So much to learn! Thanks SO much for all your work!

    Just a quick question: What do you know about the continuous kombucha brew? I am trying to decide which way to go…

  43. jenny says

    Wardee,
    I know this is an old post but if you still check it I have a question. Do you still have kombucha scobys that you will send for shipping? I live in northern Indiana. Is it too cold for them to come thru the mail? Thanks
    Jenny

    • Margarita says

      Hi, I am a very new on making this tea. I have been in transition and still have a mosrhroom on my fridge for almost a month with no ventilation at all. Do u know if it is still good to try to make this delicius tea? I hope I did’t waisted.

  44. Lindsey says

    What is your take on using Red Rooibos for kombucha? I’ve heard from some places that it’s okay and then others that it will kill the scoby. I can’t use any tea from the actual tea plant (black, green, white, etc)
    I trust your judgement though, and wondered if you had any experience with using something other the tea plant.

    • says

      Lindsey — I haven’t done red rooibos, but I use all kinds of teas without any harm to the scoby. I also break the “rule” by using honey. So while I can’t guarantee your scoby will be fine, I have to say I’d do it myself.

  45. Lucas says

    What is the benefit of filtering the sediment that forms in the tea? I thought that was healthy to drink since it is also in the Kombucha one can buy in the store.

    • says

      Lucas — The bigger chunks are not that fun to eat. But there’s nothing wrong with it. Keep it if you’d like. Alot of sediment passes through my strainer — but the strainer catches the big stringy, gooey bits that my family doesn’t like dribbling down their chins. ;)

  46. Susan says

    Your kombucha is so fizzy! Do you refrigerate it or keep in in that jug on the counter? Do you do a second ferment with flavors?

    • says

      Susan — I refrigerate it, but sometimes keep out one jug. Keeping at room temperature keeps it bubbly, but it keeps fermenting and gets more sour. So I prefer to “hold” the taste through refrigeration. I don’t often do a second ferment. We like it after the first. :)

  47. Morgen says

    I don’t know if this will be seen it’s an old post, but has anyone ever used maple syrup for making kombucha? It is nearly sugaring season here in Vermont!

  48. Deb says

    I am very interested in making my own! I usually buy organic, but has become costly. I’m sure you wrote where we can purchase scoby, but using my phone has it’s limitations. Can you please tell me once again where to purchase? Thank you!!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] and will always have some that’s ready to drink. You can find good directions of how to do it here and here; but if you start looking around, you’ll find there are infinite variations on the [...]

  2. [...] and forget about what everybody else says. That said, here are two posts on how to brew Kombucha. The first post is a simple recipe using green tea, jasmine tea, and honey or sucanat. The second post gives [...]

  3. [...] can be replaced by homemade fruit smoothies and water or fermented beverages like water kefir or Kombucha. Instead of coffee, try Teeccino, a delicious coffee substitute made from roasted grains and nuts. [...]

  4. [...] you use. You can use first or second ferment Kombucha. My Kombucha recipe/methods are detailed here on the blog, or in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods, or in my Lacto-Fermentation eCourse or [...]

  5. […] frugal husband had the idea to put all that fruit to good use by using it for a 2nd fermentation of Kombucha. I thought it was a great idea, so that’s what we did. I took finished Kombucha (pretty sour) […]

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