If you've never heard of kombucha before, don't worry. I hadn't either. But when my mom introduced it to me I suddenly started noticing it everywhere. You can buy it from a lot of different places, even on Amazon! I've had some good ones, but I really liked my mom's homemade ones and figured in the long run it would definitely be cheaper since premade kombucha can get pretty expensive. So I decided to try making them myself!
Why is it worth the effort of making your own? Well, kombucha is an EXTREMELY healthy drink that tastes good too! All it is is fermented sweet tea and fruit juice. But it gets fizzy so it tastes like a tangy fruit soda. You can read about the health benefits here and in plenty of other places but just know that this drink has been around for thousands of years and it's an easy way to do something healthy for yourself.
I'm not going to pretend to be a kombucha expert but I know it has to be easy if I got it right on my first batch! So give it a shot and see if you like it!
You will need some supplies.
Organic Fruit Juice for flavoring
Glass bottles (the swing top kind are great for containing all the pressure that comes when the drink carbonates)
A large glass container for brewing (I use two huge mason jars because I'm too lazy to buy one big thing)
*A SCOBY is technically a "Symbiotic Culture of friendly Bacteria and Yeast" soooo basically a mushroom. It looks weird and kind of gross but it feels like a mushroom and it does all the work of fermenting your tea into a powerhouse of nutrition.
If you know someone who brews kombucha they probably have a SCOBY you can use. As you brew more batches, the SCOBY reproduces so you wind up with more than you need. But if you don't know anyone you can buy them in plenty of places online. Just remember, the SCOBY is the key to everything... it is a living creature and the reason the drink is full of so much healthy goodness! You want to be very careful with it and keep it from contacting germs. Wash your hands, but don't use anti-bacterial soap because that will kill all the GOOD bacteria you're gaining from the SCOBY.
Everything else should be fairly simple to acquire! Use organic sugar and organic juice. Remember the SCOBY is a living thing and if you start throwing in chemicals and unnatural products it will eat those and could kill it.
Boil 4 cups of filtered water
Add 5 bags of tea. Brew tea 10-15 mins.
Remove tea bags and stir in 1 cup of organic sugar
Fill your large glass container with 8 cups of filtered water (mine's split between two)
Add the brewed tea to the filtered water
Add SCOBY and its liquid
Cover container with a tightly woven cloth and rubber band (I use double layered paper towels) and label with the date, one week from now, so you know when your brew is finished.
7-21 days of brewing is ideal. Just let it sit on your counter in a cool non-sunny spot. I usually do 7 days because 1. I'm impatient and 2. the earlier you bottle and drink, the sweeter the kombucha. Wait a little longer if you like the tangy taste more.
The easiest part!
With clean hands, remove the SCOBY and place in a clean bowl with about a cup of the kombucha for it to feed on until your next batch. Cover with cloth/paper towel.
Set up your bottles (I usually wind up with six)
To each bottle, add 1/2 cup fruit juice/flavoring, whatever you want! You can experiment with the flavoring but remember that when you have pure juice, a little will go a long way. This batch I made cherry, cherry lime, blueberry pomegranate, and ginger lime flavors.
I strain the yeast out of the kombucha with a nut milk bag, but you don't have to do this step if you don't mind a little yeast floating around in your bottles.
Fill the remainder of the bottles with the kombucha.
Seal the lids and allow to carbonate and continue fermenting on your counter for 1-3 days. Feel free to open one and taste it to see how it's doing throughout the process.
When they taste good and fizzy, move bottles to fridge.
And that's it! It's a LONG process, but certainly no more difficult than brewing tea. If you have any questions about the process, leave them in the comment section and I'll be sure to answer them.
If you're interested in healing your gut, check out this link to a review of probiotics!
Plus, this is a great article on the health benefits of kombucha.