Learn how to make your own Kombucha at home, following Christopher Gardner’s kitchen-tested methods – as discussed in Episode #264 of The Proof podcast. Whether you’re a kombucha enthusiast or just getting started, in just four easy steps, you’ll be on your way to enjoying your homemade fermented tea.
The simple way:
- Get a Kombucha starter kit.
- Prepare a gallon jug of tea, SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), and sugar/sweetener, and allow to ferment for 7-10 days.
- Bottle it, and let it sit for another 7-10 days (you can add some extra flavouring to the bottle, e.g. fruit extracts).
The complete way:
1. Brewing the Tea and Adding Sweetener
To start, gather your ingredients:
- 3-4 tablespoons of dried tea leaves (experiment with different types like black, oolong, or green tea)
- 4 cups of boiling water
- 1 cup of sugar
- Place the tea leaves in a large teabag and add them to the boiling water.
- Allow the tea to steam for 5-10 minutes, then remove the teabag.
- Stir in the sugar until it dissolves completely.
- Let the tea cool down to room temperature before proceeding to the next step.
2. First Fermentation in a Gallon Jar
Now it’s time to prepare your gallon jar for fermentation:
- Transfer the cooled tea into the gallon jar.
- Fill the jar almost to the top with plain water, leaving some room for the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). If this isn’t the first time you are making kombucha, your SCOBY will have ~1 cup of sweetened tea water, so leave room for adding that.
- Gently place the SCOBY on top of the tea. It should float.
- Cover the jar with a piece of cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band.
- Set the jar aside in a cool place for 7-10 days – nothing to do but watch.
3. Bottling and Second Fermentation
After 7-10 days of fermentation, it’s time to bottle your kombucha and add some flavor:
- You’ll need: 6 Grolsch bottles (with snap tops), fruit extracts for flavouring, a funnel, a measuring cup with a spout, a separate container to temporarily hold the SCOBY, and a large sieve.
- Add your desired flavourings to each bottle using the funnel. Try out adding 2 tsp of different fruit extracts like pomegranate, blueberry, black cherry, or mango.
- Remove the cheesecloth covering the fermentation jar and carefully take out the SCOBY with your hand, placing it in a separate container.
- Use the sieve to strain ~1 cup of the tea water, and add that to the SCOBY
- Now use the sieve to strain around 4 cups of fermented tea into the measuring cup.
- Fill the bottles with the strained tea, repeating the process until all 6 bottles are full, and the jug is empty
- Cap the bottles tightly and place them in a moderately warm area for another 7-10 days.
4. Preparing for the Next Batch
To ensure a continuous supply of homemade kombucha, you can start preparing for your next batch while bottling the current one. Here’s how:
- Rinse the fermentation jar with hot water (sterilisation is optional).
- While bottling your current batch (Step 3), brew a new batch of tea following the instructions in Step 1.
- Once the new tea has cooled down, proceed to Step 2 and set up the fermentation jar with the fresh tea, sweetener, and SCOBY.
- Cover the jar with cheesecloth and let it ferment for 7-10 days, just like before.
- When the time comes, you can repeat Step 3 and bottle your next batch of delicious kombucha, using the same process outlined earlier.
By following this cycle, you’ll have a continuous supply of homemade kombucha to enjoy whenever you like.