Making your very first batch of Kombucha can be overwhelming. It was something I wanted to try for a long time but was very apprehensive. I finally pulled the trigger and decided the easiest way to jump into it was to buy a kit and after it arrived all apprehensions were gone. The kit I purchased off Amazon is made by Kitchentoolz. There are several varieties of kits you can buy, but I chose this one because any company that spells their name with a ‘Z’ where it should be an ‘S’ (tools/toolz) obviously has some serious street cred. After using their product, I can confirm the street cred is real.
It came with the gallon jar, sugar, SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast), tea, cheese cloth, rubber band, Ph-strips, thermometer strip. I bought some 18oz bottling jars separate (not included) in the kit because I wanted to add flavors during the 2nd fermentation process. You will want another jar or bottles to transfer your tea to so you can drink it easier regardless if you decide on 2nd fermentation or not.
Instructions per Kitchentoolz
Other Supplies Needed:
- Plastic or wooden stirring utensil,
- 13-14 cups Un-chlorinated, Un-Fluorinated water (I used my Pure water filter)
- Bottling jar (air-tight, grolsche style mason jars not recommended)
- Spoon or ladle for bottling
- Boil the water and combine hot water and sugar in the jar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Make sure to leave 3-4 inches from the top of the jar (room for your SCOBY and starter tea).
- Put the tea bags in the sugar water solution and steep for 5-6 minutes.
- Cool the tea mixture until it reaches room temperature. You can keep the tea in the liquid as it cools, or you can take it out after 10-15 minutes. The longer the tea is left in the water, the stronger the flavor will be.
- Remove the tea bags.
- Add the active SCOBY and the starter tea to your tea.
- Stir the solution once and test with the provided cloth and band.
- Allow the mixture to site at room temperature for 7-12 (out of direct sunlight). Kombucha brews best between 68-78° F. The longer the mixture ferments, the less sweet and more pungent it will taste.
- After the 7-12 days you should see a new cream-colored layer forming on the top of your jar. This is your brand-new SCOBY!
- Pour the kombucha into another container, leaving the SCOBY and 2-3 cups of liquid at the bottom of the jar to use as a starter tea for the next batch.
- The finished liquid can be sweetened to desired taste, flavored and bottled. It can also be enjoyed plain.
For the second fermentation process I wanted to make 3 different flavors. To do this I purchased fresh ginger root, 1 mango and 1 bunch of mint.
I decided to place my SCOBY in a glass container to store in the back of the fridge. I had plans to leave town so I did not have time to start another batch right away. As long as you leave your SCOBY 2-3 cups of tea and stored in the fridge it should be fine for long periods of time until you’re ready to start your next batch.
- Use the tip of a metal spoon to scrape the peel off 1 ginger root. Roughly chop the ginger then blend in a blender with a ¼ cup of water or chop finely in a food processor. Set aside.
- Cut 1 mango into chunks being careful to remove the peel. Place mango in a blender with mint 4 tablespoons mint leaves and 4 tablespoons chopped ginger. Blend or process in almost puree.
- Cut pomegranate into 4 pieces and place seed side down in a bowl with water to leave to soak for 10 minutes. Remove from water and tap the skin side to release the seeds into the bowl. Picket apart remaining seeds from the pith.
- In each of the bottles:
- Put ¼ cup mango mixture two of the bottles.
- Put ¼ cup chopped ginger and two tablespoons sugar in two bottles
- Put ¼ cup pomegranate seeds and two tablespoons ginger in the remaining two bottles.
- Fill all the bottles with kombucha leaving about an inch of air from the top of the bottles.
6. Put bottles in a cabinet or dark place away from sunlight and where they will not be disturbed. Ferment for at least 3 days or 3-7 days. Be sure to burp or open the lids to release air everyday as they will carbonate as the yeast feeds off the added sugar.
7. After 3 days taste and if it tastes carbonated enough and flavor is right for your liking, go ahead and put in the fridge. I found the ginger and sugar takes a bit longer to ferment because the yeast feeds on the fruit much better
8. You can strain the Kombucha, or drink it as is from the bottle
You can see the difference in color from the picture above after 2nd fermentation is complete. Taste is fizzy and delicious. I prefer to strain into a glass for easier drinking.