KOMBUCHA MAKING BIBLE
Instructions for 1 Gallon Batch Initial Brew
- Boil 4 cups of water in a medium sized pot.
- Stir in 1 cup of sugar until completely dissolved.
- Put the tea bags in the sugar water solution and steep for 5-6 minutes. Remove tea bags and discard. (The longer the tea is left in the water, the stronger the flavor will be)
- Pour your tea mixture into the glass brewing jar.
- Fill the glass brewing jar with 8 cups of cold filtered unchlorinated water. Your jar should be ¾ full leaving room for your precious SCOBY and starter tea.
- Stick your adhesive thermometer strip to the side of the jar and check to confirm the tea mixture is between 68 and 86 degrees before moving on to the next step.
- Add the entire contents of the pouch of your SCOBY and starter tea to your tea mixture. Your SCOBY may sink or float to the top now or during the fermentation process. Either way is perfectly normal and will not affect your brew.
- Stir solution once and test with one of the included PH strips. The strip should read 4.5 or below. If not, you can add 1 Tbsp of white vinegar and retest until solution reaches 4.5 or below.
- Cover and secure the jar with the provided breathable cloth and band.
- Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 7-12 days out of direct sunlight but in an area with adequate airflow - no cabinet brewing.
- Kombucha brews best between 68-78°F. Kombucha will not ferment properly in colder temperatures and will likely grow mold. Between the 7-12 day period you should see a new cream-colored layer forming on the top of your jar. This is your brand-new SCOBY! Remove the cloth cover and use a spoon to taste your liquid Kombucha mixture. If it is too sweet for your liking, you can replace the cloth cover and let brew a little longer.
- CONGRATS! You are now a Master Brewer and the proud owner of a gallon of delicious Kombucha! You can choose to enjoy it plain or add additional flavors and carbonation during the bottling process
You have now completed your initial brew. Remove the SCOBYs from your gallon jar together with 1-2 cups of your finished kombucha. Set this aside in another jar or container as this will be your new SCOBYs and starter tea for future batches of Kombucha brewing.
When you are ready to brew again, ( what are you waiting for? ) simply follow the instructions from the start on the front of the card using one or both of the SCOBYS. SCOBYS can usually be used and reused up to 5 or 6 times.
For every one gallon of batch kombucha you brew, use 1 cup of refined white sugar and 6-8 caffeinated tea bags ( or 3-4 TBSP of caffeinated loose leaf tea ) Any tea such as black, green or oolong will suffice and will yield slightly different flavors. Herbal teas are NOT recommended for Kombucha and sugar substitutes such as Coconut palm sugar, Brown sugar, Stevia or Honey are not effective for fermentation as they are too complex for the culture to break down.
Fun Facts and Tips
Kombucha brews best between 68-78°F with the mid 70s range being the most optimal. Brewing it on the warmer end of this range will speed up the culturing. Be sure to check the kombucha frequently with your thermometer. If it gets too warm or cold the scoby and brew can be damaged or grow mold. Always make sure to clean your hands and brewing jars with vinegar and water. Stay away from antibacterial soaps as they are by definition SCOBY killers.
Just like us, SCOBYS come in all shapes and sizes and should not be judged by color or smoothness. Your SCOBY may have lumps, bubbles or yeast globs in or on it. Brown dots or yeast strands are all signs of healthy and active SCOBYS.
A moldy or dead scoby is quite distinctive, and there is usually no mistaking it when you see it. The mold will be white or greenish, fuzzy and dry. It can appear as spots on the scoby or cover the scoby in its entirety.
Advantages of Bottling and Flavoring
There are quite a few advantages to bottling the finished kombucha and fermenting it further. A second fermentation period allows your kombucha to achieve a deeper and more complex flavor profile. Bottling in an airtight container allows the carbon dioxide produced during fermentation to remain, giving the kombucha an effervescent fizzy texture.
While essentially any glass container with a lid can be used to store kombucha, to obtain the best carbonation level, it is important to bottle kombucha in truly airtight bottles. Growlers with a poly cone or swing top caps are optimal for your second fermentation.
Instructions for Bottling and Flavoring
- If desired, add 2-3 TBSP of your choice of fruits, juices, extracts or herbs to each bottle. Depending on the size of your bottle you may want more or less.
- Pour the kombucha through a funnel into each bottle leaving 1-2 inches of space at the top.
- Ensure the bottles are properly sealed and store them in a warm, dry place for 2-5 days. The length of time for your second ferment and flavoring really is solely dependent on personal taste so the only way to really know if you have reached your desired result is by tasting your brew every couple of days to see if it is to your liking. Opening and tasting your kombucha every day or so can also be helpful to release some of the pressure built up in the bottles - also known as “burping”.
- Sweet or tart enough? Chill your bottles in the refrigerator and invite some friends over if you’re the “sharing type”. You now are in possession of some serious liquid gold! Enjoy!