So you made yourself a SCOBY and your thinking, how in the world do I brew a batch of Kombucha to drink? I got you covered homie, I got you covered. See now aren’t you glad you hit the follow button and received an email updating you that this post was available? I thought so. Ok carrying on. This is the third post to this three part Kombucha series. If you missed the first two be sure to read, WTF is Kombucha and Growing a Kombucha SCOBY. Let’s Kombucha it up yo.
Lets talk about ingredients for a second.
When it comes to choosing which tea is the best, you really want to stick with black at first and allow your SCOBY to grow and mature. When using green tea, you want to be sure your SCOBY has at least four batches under its belt. It takes a bit more strength to get green tea fermented. You can use white but again your SCOBY needs to be mature. I’ve heard of some people using Rooibos tea, which has great antioxidants properties to it, with no problem. So really, there is room to experience the with. After you have done a few batches with black and your SCOBY is strong, take a baby off of it and brew up a couple batches with different teas.
Let’s talk caffeine for a second
Kombucha contains about a third of the caffeine compared to a normal brew of tea. The longer the Kombucha brews the less caffeine it has. Do not use decaf tea, as it is treated with a chemical, leaving filled with toxins that can harm the SCOBY. You can brew your Kombucha with a mix of green and white tea, which contain less caffeine then black. It is suggested that every fourth brew you use black though to keep your SCOBY strong.
I’m sure the thought of adding so much white sugar made you cringe a little bit. I get it but you have to rememebr that sugar is what the SCOBY feeds off of. So when you start with a batch of sweet tea, you are not ending with sweet tea. Organic white cane sugar allows for consistent results each time. Sweeteners such as honey, agave, maple syrup can give inconsistent results. There is also some debate about honey since it is an antimicrobial and what we got growing here is pure microbes but some use it with no problem. So again experimenting is the best thing to do to answer those kinds of questions. So far, I have only used cane sugar.
Alright let’s get a brewing.
Half Gallon Gallon
1 cup starter tea or white distilled vinegar 2 cups starter tea or vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar 1 cup white sugar
7 cups of water 14 cups of water
4 tea bags. 8 tea bags
1 cup starter tea 2 cups starter tea
Before you get started, you want to make sure everything is clean, dry and ready to go. Remember when handling your SCOBY you want to keep everything really clean. DO NOT use antibacterial soap when washing your hands before handling the SCOBY. Again, we are harboring good bacteria in the SCOBY so we don’t want to kill off any bacteria when handling it.
1. Boil up your desired amount of water.
2. Once boiled add your sugar and allow to dissolve.
3. Add your desired amount of tea bag and take your pot off the heat. I put it on a pot holder on the counter to allow it to cool faster.
4. Allow your tea to cool to 95 degrees or lower with the tea bag in it.
5. Take the tea bags out and compost them.
6 Pour your cool tea into the jar that has your SCOBY.
7. Cover with a paper towel, thin muslin fabric, or doubled up cheese cloth.
There are chances with all covers for gnats to get into your tea and lay eggs in your SCOBY. So making sure you have a big enough covering and a tight enough rubber band is key here. This just happened to me. I’ll post how to take care of your SCOBY after gnats soon.
8. Put in a cool dark place for 7-14 days.
You are going to want to check the taste weekly. Each week it becomes more and more vinegary. So when it reaches desired taste then it’s ready to pour and put in the fridge or go for a second ferment.
I have my tea fermenting in a glass jug with a pour spout. One tip I found is that when using this kind of jar you never really have to touch your SCOBY and your starter tea is always available. When your Kombucha is ready to pour then just pour it out into another jug or into air tight bottles if doing a second ferment.
A little side note
Your SCOBY will take the shape of any jar you use. Before I learned about using a glass container with a pour spout, I had my SCOBY in a square container. When I transferred it to the large round container, it formed an entire new layer. The SCOBY acts as a seal, to not let oxygen into the tea. So even if you transfer your SCOBY to a bigger vessel, magic still happens. Pretty amazing.
On the left is my original SCOBY On the right, you can see my original SCOBY on the bottom left under the newly forming SCOBY? Is that not just incredible.
Lets talk about the second ferment:
This is where you build carbonation and add flavoring. You can add flavoring and not do a second ferment but it is just so much tastier all bubbly. So pour your tea in air tight glass amber bottles. Choose flavoring of your choice. The sky’s the limit here.
Ginger- slice up pieces of ginger and place in bottle.
Lemon- thinly slice pieces of lemon and place in bottle.
Strawberry- purée a handful of strawberries and pour about an inch in each bottle.
Blueberry pomegranate- pop a handful of blueberries and pomegranates in each bottle.
Mango- either slice or purée mango and place in bottle.
Leave a good amount of head space in each bottle. I stop right at the neck of the bottle. Carbon dioxide is being created when using an air tight lid so you want to make sure you leave some room. You also want to remember to burp your bottles everyday to lower the risk of the bottles bursting.
Allow bottles to sit for about a week. I did three days and it seemed bubbly but not super carbonated so my next batch is going for a week. I’ll keep you posted. Again, its all about experimenting. Once they reach desired bubbly action, place in fridge and enjoy.
Or you can pour Kombucha through a jelly strainer and strain out all the fruit or purée. It is nice to be able to drink it without chewing on stuff. It’s kind of an extra step in the process but I think it’s worth it. Your choice.
Don’t forget to save tea from your batch to keep as your starter tea before you do your second ferment.
You are done my friends. Now brew yourself another batch of sweet tea and get another round brewing. If you do not want to brew another batch or you’re going out of town. Make a SCOBY hotel. What in the world is a SCOBY hotel? Hang on. I think a fourth post to our Kombucha series was just added to the list.
Tell me about your favorite flavor of Kombucha in the comments below.
If you want to learn how to make a proper SCOBY hotel, hit the follow button. That way, when it posts you receive an email notification.
Happy Kombucha brewing!!
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