My (Not so Secret Anymore) Kombucha Page!!!

 

As the name implies, you've reached my KOMBUCHA PAGE which has nothing to do with aerial and everything to do with kombucha. Whyyyyy you may ask? Well, I am SUPER into kombucha and several people have asked me how to start their own brew. Instead of emailing instructions every time, it was suggested I put it on a web page (thanks Nicolette!)

So here are some basic instructions on what I do and what works for me from all of the research I've done. I don't claim to be an expert, but I do have a strong culture and make pretty decent kombucha (in my opinion!) Anyway, this is just a good starting point, and you should definitely do some additional research. If you follow this and fuck yours up and get sick, don't hold me accountable!! You can read my full disclaimer here, which seems to apply to this as well ;)

Basic Steps

This is a high level overview of everything you will be doing.

  1. Combine sweet tea, previously brewed starter tea, and a pellicle (aka mother scoby) in a gallon glass jar. This is what I call "brewing"

  2. First Ferment: Let ferment @ room temperature for ~week = Kombucha!

  3. A new pellicle will start to form - often called a baby scoby. It may attach to the mother or look like a film on top of the kombucha

  4. Remove mother and baby. Pour kombucha into jars with flavorings. This is what I call "bottling"

  5. Second Ferment: Let ferment in jars @ room temperature for ~2-3 days

  6. Meanwhile start your next batch!

  7. Place jars in fridge to stop fermentation after 2-3 days

 

 

Detailed Instructions for 1 gallon of Kombucha

Now that you have a basic frame of reference for what you will be doing, here are some detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to make your batch of kombucha!

 

Ingredients / Equipment

  • Gallon glass jar

  • Smaller glass jars (for bottling)

  • Cotton Cloth (about 5in x 5in square - use a cut up Tshirt)

  • Rubber band

  • Pot to boil water / make tea

  • 8 tea bags (green, black, or a mix)

  • 1 cup of sugar

  • 1+ cup of previously brewed Kombucha (I can give you)

  • 1 pellicle aka mother scoby (I can give you)

  • Filtered water

 

Instructions - 1st Ferment

  1. Heat water in a pot until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and put in tea bags

  2. Add 1 cup of sugar to hot tea & stir

  3. Let tea COMPLETELY cool. If it is too hot it will kill the scoby. You can leave the tea bags in there the whole time they are cooling or take them out after a bit. Depends on how strong of a tea you want (I usually just leave them).

  4. Fill gallon jar with cooled tea + filtered water leaving about 3-4 inches of space at the top. Stir

  5. Add previously brewed kombucha (starter kombucha)

  6. Gently place pellicle on top of / in tea

  7. Cover jar with cotton cloth and secure with rubber band

  8. Place on counter & let sit for 7-10 days at 70-80 degrees F

 

Instructions - 2nd Ferment + Bottling

  1. Gently remove mother pellicle & baby pellicle and set aside (place in a shallow bowl / plate)

  2. Use a plastic or glass ladle to remove ~1 cup of kombucha from the top of jar. Reserve for next batch

  3. Stir Kombucha

  4. Fill glass jars with kombucha + flavorings. You might want to strain the kombucha because there will be strings of yeast. Fill almost to the top and secure lids tightly. 

  5. Place on counter & let sit for 2-3 days at 70-80 degrees F..Place in fridge to stop fermentation after 2-3 days

  6. Make your next batch of Kombucha right away with the mother pellicle, baby pellicle, reserved kombucha, and a fresh batch of tea. You'll want to gently place the baby pellicle across the top of the new tea

 

Flavorings

  • You can flavor your kombucha with practically anything you want

  • Fruit, fruit juice, ginger, and herbs are all good options

  • Typically do about 10-20% flavorings and 80-90% kombucha

  • Using fruit / juice (or even sugar) will help make it bubbly because the probiotics in the kombucha will continue eating the sugar

 

Considerations

  • Every time you make a batch of kombucha, a baby pellicle forms. It might attach to the mother or it may look like a film across the top of the kombucha. You want to include your mother and baby in your next batch. I usually try to lay the baby across the top if it stays separate from the mother. The baby will get thicker and thicker with every brew. When it is 1/4in thick it can be used by itself without the mother to brew kombucha. Now you can make 2 batches at a time!

  • The scoby may sink, float around, or stay at the top. All are normal.

  • The scoby can look weird, gross, and be shades of white to brown. That's totally normal

  • You may see strings of yeast hanging from the scoby or floating in the kombucha. This is totally fine and a good thing

  • The main thing that can really go wrong is mold, but it's unlikely. And will be really obvious. It typically happens if the environment is too cold and the bacteria becomes dormant and can't ferment the sweet tea

  • Do not let metal touch the scoby or the kombucha! Only glass / plastic. Metal can kill the scoby.

  • Make sure your hands / equipment are clean and free of soap / lotion residue

  • Gallon jars

  • Twist lid jars or swing top jars

  • Scoby and starter tea If you live near me I can give you some too!

 

Links

Kombucha Kamp is a GREAT resource to check out! Here are links to some of their relevant posts:

Kombucha Easy Recipe

Scoby Hotel for Storage

Here's a little video I put together that shows my whole process of bottling / brewing. I bottle and then brew because it's not my FIRST batch. If this will be your first batch, you'll just do the brewing part and then when the kombucha is ready you will start the cycle of bottling THEN brewing. Also, I'm making a larger batch than you will.

Notes on pellicle vs SCOBY. Technically the membrane that forms on top of your kombucha is a pellicle - bacterial cellulose which is a by product of the fermentation. Technically the Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (shortened to SCOBY) are the microbes that are IN the kombucha liquid. However, colloquially, people started saying SCOBY in reference to the pellicle. And technically, I do not think that the pellicle is actually needed for a healthy brew ... but it does help to seal in the kombucha and it does indicate a healthy brew ... so why not add it in.

 

I will use the word SCOBY and pellicle interchangeably, because people have come to know the word SCOBY to mean that membrane. But technically, the pellicle is the cellulose membrane of bacteria that forms on top of the kombucha and the Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast is in the kombucha liquid. I wanted to make sure that was clear so I don't get sent to Kombucha Jail.

©2017 BY McKINLEY CAMPOS