To make kombucha, a kombucha SCOBY is used, which contains bacteria and yeast living in symbiosis. When added to sweet tea, these microorganisms consume the sugar to produce bubbles and a pleasant, slightly acidic taste.
How do you make kombucha at home?
Here is a summary of the 5 steps to making homemade kombucha.
1. Prepare sweet tea
The kombucha microorganisms need sweet tea to make kombucha. For 3 litres of kombucha (about 1 gallon), 12g of plain tea (6 tablespoons) and 180g of sugar (1 cup) are recommended.
2. Add the kombucha SCOBY
The scoby is added when the sweetened tea is lukewarm. The kombucha SCOBY (also called mother) provides the microorganisms that trigger the fermentation process. For 3 litres of sweet tea, 300 to 500 ml (1.5-2 cups) of kombucha SCOBY is needed.
3. Let it ferment
The fermentation jar is kept at room temperature and covered with a cloth that allows the kombucha to breathe while protecting it from impurities (dust and insects). During this time (10 to 15 days), the yeast and bacteria transform the sweet tea into kombucha. As time goes on, it becomes less sweet and more acidic.
This stage is called the first fermentation, or F1.
4. Remove the scoby and flavour
After about 10 days of fermentation, the scoby is set aside with 300 to 500 ml of kombucha (1.5-2 cups), which will be used to start the next recipe.
The remaining kombucha can be drunk plain or flavoured.
The kombucha is bottled and left at room temperature for a few days. This is when the fizz is produced.
This step is called the second fermentation, or F2.
And that’s it, it’s that simple!
What Equipment Is Needed to Make Homemade Kombucha?
The basic equipment for making kombucha is easy to obtain.
This kombucha recipe gives you all the steps to follow, in the easiest possible way. You will obtain 3L of plain kombucha that you can enjoy as is or flavour to your taste.Kombucha is a naturally fermented sweet tea discovered thousands of years ago in Asia. Making your own kombucha at home is quick, easy and delicious!
½cupfruit juice (pineapple, apple, orange, etc.) (optional)
Preparation of the Sweet Tea
Place the tea bag in the jar.
Pour in 500ml of boiling water, let it steep for 15 minutes, then remove the tea bag.
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
Add cold water to the 3 litre level. The tea is now lukewarm.
Adding the Kombucha Scoby
Add the kombucha scoby with its liquid culture.
Cover the container with the cloth and secure it with the rubber band.
Place the jar in a well ventilated place out of direct sunlight.
Fermenting the Kombucha
Ferment for 10 to 15 days at room temperature.
Taste regularly from day 5. The kombucha is ready when its sugar and acidity levels are to your liking.
Remove the kombucha scoby and 2 cups (500ml) of plain kombucha. Set aside to start your next recipe.
Add fruit juice, herbal tea, syrup, chopped fruit, or whatever you like to flavour your kombucha. See our kombucha recipes for inspiring flavours.
Pour the kombucha into pressure resistant bottles (such as our swing-top glass bottles).
Store the bottles at room temperature.
After 3 days, open and close a bottle to test its pressure. Prolong the fermentation for a few more days for a fizzier kombucha. When it's fizzy enough (watch the pressure!), put it in the fridge.
That's it! Your kombucha is now ready for consumption. It can be kept in the fridge without any real time limit.For more information on equipment, see How to choose your kombucha equipment.And check out all our recipes for flavouring your kombucha!
Have you tried it?Share and tag @revolutionfermentation!
How to Store a Kombucha Scoby
Once fermentation is complete, you can store your SCOBY for future recipes.
The best way to store your kombucha scoby is to start a new recipe immediately. However, you can space out your recipes by a few days, or a few months by properly storing your kombucha scoby between recipes.
You should keep 10% of the volume of the next recipe.
The film is not necessary… It is the liquid that counts!
At room temperature, a scoby will keep for 3 to 4 weeks.
In the fridge, a scoby will keep for 6 months.
How Much Kombucha Scoby Should Be Kept?
It is recommended to keep 10% of the volume of the next recipe. This is the ideal proportion to start a kombucha fermentation. Feel free to use more, but it is not recommended to use less.
For example, if you want to make 3 litres of kombucha, you should keep 300ml (1.5 cups) of plain kombucha. You could also use 500ml, but 250ml would not be enough.
Keeping the Film or the Liquid?
The gelatinous film is not necessary for fermenting kombucha, as the microorganisms are, for the most part, supplied by the liquid culture (the freshly harvested plain kombucha).
It is possible to make kombucha with liquid culture only. On the other hand, the film alone is not sufficient to start the fermentation.
The film should not be thicker than 3 cm. If necessary, cut it! You can keep the top or bottom film, as long as there is enough starting liquid.
Storing a Kombucha Scoby in the Fridge
Here’s how to store a kombucha scoby in the fridge:
Place the kombucha scoby and its liquid in a container with a lid.
Write the date on the container.
Place in the fridge
Your kombucha culture will go dormant and last up to six months.
Storing a Kombucha Scoby at Room Temperature
You can keep the kombucha scoby at room temperature for 3 to 4 weeks. It is stored in a jar covered by a cloth.
After 3 weeks, add sugar and tea again to extend the shelf life.
What Is a Scoby, Kombucha Scoby, Starter, Liquid Culture?
A kombucha scoby is a collection of bacteria and yeast living in symbiosis. The acronym SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast.
A kombucha scoby contains yeast and bacteria that feed on sweet tea. Each microorganism has its role:
Yeast converts sugar into CO2 (bubbles!) and alcohol
Bacteria convert the alcohol into acid (the good vinegar taste)
After fermentation, the result is a tangy, fizzy tea with very low alcohol content thanks to the work of the microorganisms.
The microorganisms live mainly in plain kombucha that comes with the gelatinous disc. The plain kombucha that is added with the gelatinous disc is called the starter culture, liquid culture, or starter. This liquid provides the microorganisms and the essential acidity for the fermentation to start properly.
What Are Primary and Secondary Fermentations (F1 and F2)?
Primary fermentation (also called F1) is the stage during which the tea is transformed into kombucha. It takes place in a large jar covered with a cloth.
Secondary fermentation (also called F2) is the stage during which the kombucha is bottled and becomes fizzy.
The second fermentation is stopped (or rather slowed down) when the bottles are placed in the fridge.
How Do You Get Bubbles in Your Kombucha?
Kombucha becomes fizzy during secondary fermentation (F2). To get bubbles, place the kombucha in airtight, pressure resistant bottles and let it ferment for a few days. 3 to 4 days is usually enough to produce a perfect fizz.